My “big” Quilt Retreat has come and gone for another year. I put it in quotes because I do go to other retreats occasionally. None of them are as big or have the magnitude of this very special retreat every year in June, however.
Do you know how they say you always remember your “first.” Well, you can take that statement how you wish, but I remember my first quilt retreat, and it was with most of these ladies! I started quilting in the early 90’s, and I had heard people talking about retreats, but I had never been invited to one. Even if I had, I never would have gone. I had gone to retreats with our church, so I knew the concept of a retreat, and, as a generally introverted person, I wasn’t a huge fan. The misconception about introverts is that we don’t like people. That’s not true. We like people, but just in small doses, and for shorter periods of time. Retreats are neither of those things. So, the idea of a quilt retreat did not appeal to me.
Once in awhile, I decide to stretch myself and get outside my comfort zone, mainly because I know it is good for me. Left to my own devices, I would never leave the house. So, in June of 2014, I took a leap of faith and decided to go to Iowa with some ladies to a retreat. You can read about my experience here: https://renaissancesandi.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-first-overnight-quilt-retreat.html My friend Bonnie kept telling me, “You have to meet my friend Natalie! You two have so much in common. You will love her.” Well, Bonnie was right. I met Natalie on that trip, and I do love her! It was like we had known each other forever! We are definitely quilting sisters from different Misters! After that first experience, I have never looked back! I go to every retreat that I can schedule in and afford, but the annual Nebraska/Iowa retreat, started by my friend Anna back in 2013, is number one on my priority list.
If you have never been to a retreat, and you are wondering why you should go, I could give you tons of reasons, but I will start with just one: Inspiration! There is nothing like a room full of people all working on a variety of projects to inspire us to work on our own! There are traditional, modern, art, handwork, and embroidery machine projects all going on in the same room. It is amazing to see all of that creativity happening at once. Because I am inspired by color, it’s like an explosion happens in my brain, and I go home with so many ideas that I can hardly work fast enough to keep up. In fact, I actually go home and write down or draw up several ideas and things to do over the coming weeks after retreat. It really gets my mojo going! Granted, I also go home exhausted and in deep need of peace, quiet, and at least a couple of days of very low stimuli to recharge from all that interaction with people, but I love every minute of retreat, and I already look forward to next year!