It means “money” or “cash”.  Dictionary.com.  (spon-doo-liks)

I love that website – that and Thesaurus.com – and I’m betting that learning that falls into the category of “incredibly obvious”.

So why did this come up?  Because I went to the website looking for a synonym for the word “retreat”, meaning a place of refuge.  I rather like the other words for it and when most of us think of a quilt retreat, we do think of it as being a hideaway, hideout, refuge, sanctuary.  Preserve?  Things can get a little wild at a quilt retreat… but I still think of a “preserve” as having to do with strawberries or wildebeests.

So again… why did this come up?


Because I’m “retreating” next week – to Utah, with Amy McClellan and the ladies at American Quilting in Orem. Amy has been doing this retreat for several years and it sounds like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.  I’ll be teaching three different quilts – Crop Circles, Radio Flyer/Little Red and Wee Hours.  Wee Hours will be a new pattern at Spring Market so the ladies in my class get to be the sacrificial lambs pattern-testers.  It’s a lot of nine-patches.

Do you go to quilt retreats?  Frequently… occasionally… someday?

In addition to teaching, I’m going to have the time to sew.  I’m looking forward to it but I have to tell you that sewing at retreat is usually a mixed bag for me.  I either get a lot done or very little, there is no middle ground.  I think it’s because there are so many distractions there – good ones!  My favorite thing is that most everybody there is there with a friend – or a big group of them.

So as much as I love being at-one with my own little workroom, I’m excited to go.  I’ve got plenty of pre-Market sewing to do so getting away for a few days to work on that will be nice.  I’m bringing my small machine – it fits in my carry-on – and two projects.  If I get everything done – hope springs eternal – then I can stitch down the binding for Wee Hours.  (It’ll be glue-basted until then.)

This is the fabric I’ll be bringing with me – <insert collection name here> by <insert name of designer here> and well… you get the idea.


I was wearing a pair of the Sew Red Glasses when I took this picture – I needed to see the value level of these bundles.  Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Yeah, yeah… not only did I change the image to Black & White, I fiddled with the color levels.  I know it’s not fair but I think it’s safe to say that almost all of the fabric pictures on this blog for the next seven weeks will be going through a “color remover”.

But the pre-Market catalog should be out in another week or so, and as soon as the designers start showing you their collections, I’ll give you some peeks of what I’m working on.  Deal?

So as I pack for retreat, what should I remember to bring with me?

So far, my list includes:


  • sewing machine
  • extension plate for machine, foot pedal and power cord for my sewing machine  (I put these on the list because I may or may not have forgotten to bring one or more of them once or twice in my life…
  • seam ripper
  • extra needles and bobbins – preferably already wound
  • extra foot for sewing machine – just in case… been there, needed this
  • extra thread – which usually means I’ll bring 6 or 7 spools  (I have a tendency to over-pack – and over-estimate how much I’ll actually get done.)
  • rulers – I always bring a 6″ x 6″ square and a 6″ x 12″ rectangle
  • rotary cutter and extra blades
  • small rotary cutting mat
  • seam ripper
  • snips and scissors
  • pins and a magnetic pinbowl
  • one or two pens and some scratch paper
  • seam ripper – yes, I know it’s already on the list but it’s really bad “sewing karma” to leave this behind
  • fuzzy socks – I don’t like to sew with my shoes on
  • extra pair of readers – so I can actually see what I’m doing
  • re-fillable water bottle
  • snacks – it’s right before Easter so I’ll take jelly beans

And one more thing I always take with me to a quilt retreat.  Back in 2005 or so, I taught at a retreat in Illinois for A Touch of Amish in Barrington and that’s where I met Deane Happ.  She’s a lovely woman and on the table next to her, she had a small metal “flying pig” that she used to keep pieces of fabric in place.  She’d bought it at a garden store many years before because she’d thought it was cute, though nobody had ever figured out what it’s purpose was.  Ever since then, she always took it to retreats as a good-luck charm of sorts, and because it made her smile.  As I would walk by Deane over the course of the weekend, I kept admiring it and okay, I probably picked it up a few times trying to figure out what it was for.  At the end of the retreat, Deane gave me the little pig.  I told her “no, I couldn’t… it was her keepsake.”  She insisted.  I insisted back – really.  She insisted more.


It’s been in my sewing room every since and I take it with me to retreats.  It makes me think of Deane and her kind heart, and that always makes me smile.  But I’m usually not very good about putting it out because… well, I’m not ready to give it up.  Someday.  But not yet.

So what have I forgotten?

When you go on retreat, do you have a check-list?  Or do you just wing-it?  Is there one thing that you have to have with you – the sort of item that requires you to double-check that it’s packed before you leave your house?

Stretchy pants!  Also known as “yoga pants”.  Though really, they ought to be called “sewing pants” because most of the folks I know wearing them don’t do much yoga.

Maybe that ought to be in the dictionary.

I’ll get on that right after I go circumvolve some bobbins.  (Wind.)

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45 thoughts on “Spondulicks…

  1. Retreat sounds great! I just found out Amy Butler is doing a retreat in Maine in July, only about an hour from my trailer….sooooo….thinking this is my opportunity to try retreating!!!!! Glad you published a packing list, because I would have had no idea…so I will borrow yours (except for the flying pig – must find a “fabric weight” of my own of some unique kind), and head down to Maine for three days! By the way, I went to an RV show in Moncton a few weeks ago (just to look). I looked long enough that I bought a new 36-foot trailer….Merlyn IV. Ever the magician… Can’t wait to see your new projects!!!!!

  2. Have fun! I know everyone sitting around you will! I’m so ready to get away (after only four months) to sew with like-minded ladies. Guess I need to pay my dues a little longer before that will happen – or when pigs fly!

  3. Well, you can’t fool us! Even in black and white, I can tell that the pile on the right is B & C fabric! Have fun on retreat! I wish I was going. I’ve never been on a retreat and it sounds like so much fun!

  4. if it were me i would pack two more things; a small spiral-bound notebook, and a hand held calculator.
    wherever i go i’m always seeing quilt block patterns in odd places. and with those two extra tools you’ll be able to draft out the quilt block and figure out the block size and setting right on the spot.

    And while i’m at it, don’t forget your cell phone and re-charger cord.

  5. Hi Carrie….
    I go to a retreat in Indiana once a year which I LIVE for. This year it was cancelled so no sewing with friends this year 🙁 The venue we go to is not specifically for sewing so we have to bring our own power cords/duck tape to keep it from tripping people and I always bring my own side table with pressing surface and a mini iron. I’m an ironer, I like things sprayed with my Magic Sizing and pressed good and flat 🙂

    Have a great time…..


  6. I have never been to a retreat, but would love to go some time. New to quilting and need to find a quilting group to join.

  7. Oh this sounds like fun, I have never had a chance to retreat but maybe soon! What do you think Vicky? Where shall we go?

  8. Am making my own list and checking it twice as we speak. Headed for a retreat with a new group of soon to be friends!

  9. I love going to retreat, our guild holds one annually. I enjoy seeing all the different projects and having help available to work through any problems I might come across, stretched blocks, measuring for sashing, putting colors together, or just an ear to listen. Enjoy your carefree days of sewing, wish I could come.

  10. My guild holds two a year (Spring and Fall) at a “camp” that is heavenly … by itself in the woods on a lake with incredible views. ALWAYS a fun and productive time. Bonnie Hunter is doing a workshop at our guild in 2016 and I am saving my pennies to attend the Needlework Seminar on Mackinaw Island at the Grand Hotel in 2016. Quilting friends have “mini retreats” at each others houses throughout the year … just all day sewing sessions with a pot luck lunch … more laughs and chatter than sewing at times. I think retreats (organized or spontaneous) are just good for a quilter’s soul. Highly recommend finding one if you haven’t been … check with your LQS … definitely worth it!

  11. I can’t wait to see your new 9 patch pattern!! That’s my favorite block …..I think….. Sometimes I like too many ideas and have a hard time “catching” up. That’s when a retreat is great for focusing on a couple of projects only! I love my own home and space for quilting…… the dogs, fireplace, chocolate and lake (although frozen right now:) and a great trail through the towering pines along the lake. Ok, maybe I should invite some “like-minded” friends to quilt with me here!!! Have fun Carrie. It’s always great to escape routine and get “renewed”!

  12. I go on retreat twice a year, spring and autumn. I go to a retreat in the French Alps hosted by a now friend of mine here in Switzerland. I love the chance to get away to the mountains for a weekend, to enjoy the amazing surroundings, the great accomodation and food, the company of the lovely ladies who attend and to have several days of free sewing time without having to worry about catering for and looking after my husband and two small boys. I don’t really have a written check list of items I need to bring each time but I have a packing routine that ensures I always have what I need. In addition to all you have listed I will usually also have clover clips, quilting gloves, a sew slip mat for my machine, basting spray and a couple of small cloth baskets for catching scraps etc.

  13. I’ve been on several retreats, they’re wonderful for getting things done if you can stay away from the distractions that are always popping up! Like drooling over someone else’s fabric choices or running over to the quilt shop to pick up MORE fabric… I always take a little wooden iron stick that I’ve had for years. Where I go they have ironing stations but sometimes you’re doing little pieces and the wooden iron is perfect for that. Also starch substitute and a camera of some sort. Oh and a plastic grocery bag for catching all the threads and scraps. Have fun!

  14. I bring an extra light for my machine and a light to hang around my neck so I can sit anywhere and do hand work. I also bring a travel iron and mat when I need to iron and can’t because all irons are used by my students. Keeps me moving along. A few binding clips. I use them to help hold up samples of what I am stitching so my students can see the project without my fingers in the way. One more item would be a fold up scrap container for threads and small scrsps of fabric. Hope you have a great trip and a fantastic class. Hugs and

  15. I love retreating. The Dallas Quilt Guild has a huge retreat once a year in January (about 100 guild members attend). I love it. The Dallas Modern Quilt guild has two retreats every year. One in Spring (May) and the other in Fall (November). I had to miss the January one this year but already signed up for the May one. The best part of retreat is catching up with everyone and being inspired by everyone’s work. I always take an extension cord, a travel iron, cutting / iron mat, my general sewing things – rotary cutter, seam ripper, stiletto, thread cutter. I also take my Sew Ezi table. Love Love my table. I also take my portable design wall in case all the walls are filled with other peeps projects. Depending on where the retreat takes place, I might not have room to open it, but I make sure it’s with me just in case. I hope you have fun on your retreat and maybe I’ll see you at one of my retreats now that you are local! 😉

  16. I have been getting appliqués ready to sew when I go to retreats lately so I do a mental checklist through all the steps to make sure I have everything.

  17. Have you ever thought about making some ceramic casts of your piggie, then you could keep him safe at home and give away the reproductions. They would be really cute painted and glazed. I agree with Sharyn, looks like a boot puller. You don’t see many metal figures to go outside in the weather.

  18. New to me last year…a beverage holder that attaches to the edge of the table. Much less chance of spilling on the sewing machine & fabric! It has a little ‘wastebasket’ that hooks on for threads, too. Our LQS sponsors three (!!!!!!!!) retreats a year! The most recent was this past week-end. You can never have too much fun but we try!

  19. Love the pig. It is adorable. My friends and I used to retreat every summer, that time was magical.

  20. I laughed out loud at your comment about “most of the folks I know wearing them don’t do yoga”, because it’s so true! Someday I hope to go to a sewing “sanctuary”, preferably in a cabin style residence, but until then I enjoy an occasional sewing day with my BFFF (Best Forever Fabric Friend), Allison!

  21. I’m SOOOOO sad I didn’t know you were coming to this retreat. I would have signed up for it… American Quilting is just 25 minutes down the freeway from me. I may call and see if they’ve had any cancellations.

    And, don’t despair, there are Starbucks stores in Orem. Of course, not like in Seattle where they are on every street corner.

    Have fun!

  22. I love retreats. Use to go with a group 4 times a year and then the group fell apart. 🙁
    You’re forgetting ME – sigh! LOL

  23. You can mess with the color but that bundle on the right is the new Bonnie & Camille! Have fun on the retreat. 🙂

  24. I think Retreats are Havens. I’ve not had the money or the time to go to one, but it is on my Bucket List. They sound like such fun. Enjoy.

  25. I’ve never been to a reetreat but hope you have a lot of fun!
    You’ll probably laugh now but I have a silver pig with wings in my cupboard! My mum bought it for me a few years ago and now I think it have a new happy life as fabric holder:-)
    But the most important question right now is: will you bring the shopping cart, too? Could be a little hard to fit in t your carry on bag;-)

  26. I love words – almost as much as I love quilting – some days even more (ok, so I just spent a half hour ripping out! Here is my new favorite – Bildungsroman. It is a novel dealing with a person’s formative years or spiritual education. The other think to pack – always – some individually wrapped chocolates!
    As for retreat – how about sanctum – yeah, a Sewist’s Sanctum – I kind of like it.

  27. Heading to a retreat in northern Michigan this week; it’s great to be able to sew for 4 days without interruptions. Trying to get everythiing ready ahead of time so I don’t forget anything. Of course, there are quilt shops near the retreat, in case I forget anything!

  28. Some plasters might be a good idea for any clumsy moments. Also, I’d take a small extra light for my machine as you don’t know what the lighting will like where you’re going.

  29. Glad you get to go retreating. I have already been to two this year and I love them. I wonder how many projects you will be taking? I always take more than I think i can get done in the time allotted but I have run out of things to do at a retreat . I always take an ironing surface, i do not see that on your list or your small iron. I like to iron my pieces as I put them together and at retreats there can be a line at the ironing board. You might not have room for those items since I guess you will be flying and not driving as I always do. I don’t like retreating at places that take too long to get to since I would rather spend my time Visting, Sewing, eating, Visiting, Sewing than driving. I know you will have a wonderful time. Be sure to share some pics with us! Most of all Have Fun!

  30. I loved going to Spondulicks (I love that word) but don’t attend much anymore since I moved to an island in the middle of the ocean. I just go to YouTube now.

  31. I have just rediscovered your blog. I want to congratulate you on your new job at Moda. It’s been a treat catching up with your new blog site. It is a win-win for your followers! Who doesn’t love Moda and we still have you blogging! I hope we can get a couple of sneak peeks!! I also can’t wait to see your new patterns!

  32. Forgetting the power cord? Who was the mug who forgot hers when Camille came to Sydney to teach last year? That would be me! I love reading about your new job and what you’re up to. So wonderful. Hope you have a great time at the retreat.

  33. How in the world do you get all of that into a suitcase? The airline people must think you are crazy! I would love to see their faces. 😀
    I would love to go to a retreat someday….

  34. Carrie – love reading your blogs. I have owned a quilt shop for 22+ years and some of your ideas are very handy for use around the shop. Quick question – I have a sample of your “Gazebo” pattern made up from Moda’s French General charms and the patterns continue to sell like crazy. At this point I cannot find the patterns with United Notions or Checker and have no other way to contact you. Can you help me out with getting more of the patterns? I would REALLY appreciate it! Hope this is okay.

  35. – Crop Circles, Radio Flyer/Little Red and Wee Hours- how to find and purchase these patterns?
    Thank you for all the inspiration! I smile to myself, and okay so laugh with glee sometimes reading the blog and knowing others are reading and being inspired at the same time. And how different all the quilts inspired by one blog might turn out! Pretty cool.

  36. Hi Carrie I haven’t had a list for retreats but after the last one I went to I forgot my suitcase of clothes. I was so worried about forgetting my sewing supplies. I forgot my clothes. Well what’s my important my sewing machine or clothes. I now have a list. Take care!

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