Tip # 11 – It’s ok to ask about the floor surface after all you don’t want your foot pedal running away from you for three straight days. My home floor is carpeted so I have Velcro on the bottom of my foot; on a regular floor that baby is going to slide all over.
Tip #12 - Do I or Don’t I take my iron? It really depends on what you are going to be working on. Do you really NEED your own? Are you taking it for a group to share? Are you going to need to do a lot of repetitive ironing? Most likely you can share an iron or just bring a travel size. You know if you're an iron hog. Ask the group that you’re going with. Depending on the size of group, you might only need 1-2 irons for all of you with a smaller ironing station here or there. Do you need to take an ironing board or ironing pad? What kind of space is available?
Tip #13 – What are the sleeping arrangements? Will you need your own bedding? It’s up to you to ask. You know if you’ll be comfortable or not. If not, it’s up to YOU to make yourself comfortable and to get the most out of your weekend. For example, I’m allergic to feathers; the retreat center I went to has wonderful down comforters and pillows. I brought my own quilt and pillow along and was fine. There are also bunk beds where I went. Can you get up to the top of a bunk or will you require a bottom? Are you unsure? Bring a blow up bed with a pump and leave it in your trunk just in case!! Do you snore? Do you need earplugs in order to fall asleep? Bring them and bring a pair for a friend. Only you can control these things by asking ahead of time. Why be miserable? ASK, ASK, ASK AHEAD OF TIME. I can’t say that enough.
Tip # 14 – Not sure if you’ll need something but want to bring it anyway? You can always leave it in the trunk of your car.
Tip #15 – Know your machine. Know how it works. Know how it’s maintained. Know how it’s threaded. ‘Nuff said. It’s one thing to teach someone how to use a foot that they haven’t used before, it’s quite another thing to go to a retreat and expect that someone else is able to teach you all you need to know about that machine for you to use it. Retreat should not be the first time you've used your machine. If it's been awhile, get re-acquainted first!
Tip #16 – If you think your machine may need service before you go; or it’s been awhile, take it in with enough time to spare. In fact, if you’re unsure how long service takes at your dealer, call them 3-4 months before the retreat and ask what their turn around time is.
Tip #17 – Regular machine or class machine? If you’re going for a full weekend you’re going to be logging LOTS of hours on your machine. It just might be more worthwhile to take your large machine than your class machine. Even consider bringing both. What if you or your best quilting bud has a machine break down? It’s better to be prepared than to not have a back up plan.
Tip #18 – Find out what kind of sewing space you will have. Will you have a full table to yourself? Will you have to share? If you know the people you’re going with you really need to figure out who you share well with.
Tip # 19 – Will you need additional money throughout the weekend? Some retreats have demos or classes that you can get in on. Others will have silent auctions or raffles. Be aware.
Tip # 20 – Will my meals be provided or on my own? Do you have any special dietary restrictions such as food allergies? If so, be prepared with a game plan – you know what you can and can’t have. This is NOT the time to become a complainer because everyone is there to enjoy themselves.