What happens when you finally have time to quilt

When I retired last year, I was so happy to finally have time for quilting!

  1. My quilting skills have definitely improved thanks to spending 2-3 hours per day working on my craft. I’m also clearing out the UFOs in my stash.
  2. I miss the social interactions that work provided. Some LQS have designated sew days and clubs, but those are often monthly and require a $10-$20 fee each time you show up. Weekday sewing groups in my area are not advertised. I found my Friday Sew Group via word-of-mouth. It’s a mix of ladies from a now closed LQS and a quilt guild in a neighboring county. From this one group, I’ve learned of at least four other quilting groups I can join if I choose to.
  3. There are many quality QAL and skill builder tutorials available online. Between Fat Quarter Shop, Missouri Star and Pat Sloan, you never need to stitch alone. Stream videos and podcasts while you quilt.
  4. Most guild meetings and events are still held at night and on weekends. I did join the guild closest to me that meets during the day. A different group of quilters from my Friday group and the opportunity to take classes has been awesome!
  5. Having the ability to attend shop hops, quilt shows and other events on a weekday means less traffic and crowds.
  6. The pandemic really did a number on quilt shops, shows and retreats. Some shops and retreats that were on my list to visit in retirement are no longer in existence. Information on regional events in 2023 has been slow to get out. Once I find out about an event that interests me, it’s often already filled up. There’s a lot of pent up demand for quilty travel, so I’m not surprised.
  7. My prediction that most 2023 quilty travel would be regional is turning out to be true. Airfare and hotel costs have risen dramatically. You have to research all your options and factor in those costs. There is a retreat in Idaho I’d like to attend. While the $495 retreat fee is totally reasonable for what’s included, the $2000 for airfare, 4 nights of hotel and rental car now bring the price for me to participate in that 3 day/2 night retreat to $2500. Unless I can cover most of the travel costs with airline miles, hotel points and/or free car rental days, I’ll have to pass this time. A similar retreat offered at a resort in North Georgia in July has the same retreat fee, but I won’t have all the travel costs to factor in – only 2 nights of hotel plus any spa services I may utilize. It’s a 90 minute drive from my house, so no airfare, rental car or 2 extra nights of hotel to accommodate flight schedules. This also leaves quilty travel dollars available for other things.
  8. 2024 quilty travel is already being planned – Myrtle Beach in January and QuiltCon/Raleigh NC in February.
  9. I thoroughly enjoy having the time to teach private lessons out of my home, teach classes at SQTM, volunteer with craft night at the library and open CraftLAB to my neighborhood kids.
  10. Investing in a travel sewing machine and assembling a designated travel-only quilting/sewing kit is totally worth it. Mine stays packed and ready to go each week. Yes, it will mean duplicating your existing sewing supplies and most frequently used rulers. My best advice: go ahead and take care of this while you are still working.

2 thoughts on “What happens when you finally have time to quilt

  1. Great info! I started a quilting group within my neighborhood, right now it’s just four of us but it’s been good. You mention Myrtle Beach in January 2024, that’s where I live! Is there a quilting event I haven’t heard of?? And thank you for mentioning Quiltcon in Raleigh, I hadn’t heard that yet so I will definitely make plans to go!

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