Retreat FAQ

Minnesota Contemporary Quilters retreat information

Tell me about the retreat.
What are the camp facilities like?
How do I sign up for the retreat?
What do I do when I arrive?
What else do I need to know?
Meal times
What is provided?
What do I need to bring to the retreat?

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Tell me about the retreat.

Our contemporary quilters retreat is held twice a year at Camp Wapogasset (Camp Wapo), a large Lutheran Bible camp just outside Amery, Wisconsin. We typically go on retreat the first weekend in April (except if that weekend is Easter) and the first weekend in October. We have the dates reserved a year or more in advance. Our membership views this weekend as a work weekend and so we do not have vendors, games, formal show and tell or visitor times scheduled, but we do get to know each other around our sewing tables and meals. A challenge may be announced such as make a nametag for yourself or make a sunshine card with most supplies provided and typically small prizes awarded.

What are the camp facilities like?

We are housed in the Crossfire building which is at the top of the hill in the camp and has bedrooms consisting of 4 bunkbeds, of which we only use the bottom bunk. Bed linens, towels, blankets and pillows are provided. Each room has a large bathroom with a big walk-in shower area. The sewing room is in the summertime chapel, a very large room with windows overlooking the lake on three sides. Six-foot sewing tables are set up in configurations of five around the room, with cutting tables down the center and ironing boards set around the room. A small kitchen is attached and a large lounge area is in the front of the building as you walk in. More bedrooms, a small chapel, and another smallish sewing room are in the lower level. Another quilt group may be using this space while we are at camp. Other groups from bible study to quilting/knitting to boys choir may also be using other facilities at camp during our time there. Meals are served in the community dining hall a short walk down the hill. We are respectful of the timing of our meals the staff and any other groups at camp will be waiting for all to arrive before the food service is started. At least a five-minute warning for meals will be announced in the sewing room. Parking spaces for our cars are across or at the bottom of the Crossfire building.

How do I sign up for the retreat?

Registration and payment is due starting a few weeks before the camp date. Registration forms are on the website and typically available at the meetings before retreat. Payment must be received with your registration. Email blasts are sent out as reminders to get your registration in by the due date. We have to let the camp know numbers for ordering of food at least a week before we arrive. We have a two- or three-day option for camp. Depending on what other groups are also at Wapo, we may be limited to just the upstairs rooms which can hold 32 women. We are told how many extra rooms we are allotted a few weeks before our scheduled time.

What do I do when I arrive?

When you arrive at camp, a parking area is by the front door of the building and a wheeled trolley may be available to help you bring your supplies into the building. Room assignments are made the week before we arrive and sent to each person and also posted on the front wall. Sewing tables are not assigned. Your bed supplies and towels are on each bed when you arrive. Camp check-in on Friday is NOON; please be considerate of this timing as the camp needs to set up our space and distribute linens. We will be informed of check-out time on Monday, but usually they wish us to be out of the building around 1 PM. The bedrooms need to be cleared out by noon on Monday with the linens being taken to the lobby hallway, leaving the quilts, blankets and pillows on the beds.

What else do I need to know?

Alcohol is not allowed in camp.

WiFi and cell coverage can be spotty in camp so be aware that your device may not work one time but then will later, or maybe never or maybe you will never have an issue. This also seems to depend on the current weather. The camp WiFi password is written usually on the chalk board in the sewing room and on the bulletin board outside the kitchen.

There are three quilt shops on the way to Wapo. New Richman’s big hardware store on Highway 65 — Doyles, has a fabric section and another quilt shop is nearby on Highway 64/Knowles Ave. Another shop is in Deer Park. The last two quilt shops are not open on Mondays. Many of the retreat folks stop at these before heading to Wapo.

Meal times:

Dinner- 5 PM
Breakfast – 8AM
Lunch – noon
Dinner – 5 PM
Brunch -10 AM (a Dairy Queen run is usually organized mid-afternoon)
Dinner – 5 PM
Brunch – 10 AM

What is provided?

  • A set of sheets, a blanket, one pillow and pillow case and a bath towel, hand towel and washcloth and typically a quilt on the bed.
  • A six-foot sewing table per person.
  • Cutting tables, and ironing boards are set up in the sewing room. We also ask if you can bring another iron to share. We use our own cutters and rulers.
  • A small kitchen next to sewing area has a refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, microwave, toaster and coffee maker with coffee and tea and coffee mugs and a few other dishes. Ice is brought in each day. Please help by putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher and running it when full and then putting the clean dishes away. The last people to leave are asked to run the dishwasher with the rest of the dirty dishes.
  • MCQ owns and brings two design walls which we put up for use by all and a few kitchen supplies such as bag clips.

What do I need to bring to the retreat?

  • Your sewing machine and all the sewing supplies and tools you may need. With all this time to sew, bring plenty of things to work on as you get more done than you may realize. Mark your cutters, scissors, mats, etc. so you can identify them, as many of us have the same tools. Don’t forget extra sewing machine needles, bobbins, extra cutter blades, thread colors for your projects — you get the idea.
  • Power cords and extension cords, as the electric outlets are on the wall and if you are at the end of a set of tables these are essential. The camp does provide some power cords and extension cords.
  • Clothes for the days at camp and your toiletries including shower soap and shampoo and hairdryer if you use one. Liquid hand soap dispensers are in the bathrooms.
  • A nametag — please wear these so we can get to know each other.
  • A snack or two to share. If you bring things for your own use, please mark them well. If your snack has not been consumed you must take it with you when you leave. We cannot leave food behind so if your snack is not consumed this food will be put in the garbage if no one will remove it for you.
  • Earbuds for your listening devices.

You may want to bring these:

  • Foam pad for the twin mattress is helpful as the thin mattresses are on plywood and can be very hard.
  • A small flashlight to use to slip into your room if your roomies are sleeping.
  • Extra pillows or blankets if you want/need them.
  • The bathroom light is very bright if left on and then the room can be very dark when we need to get up during the night. A nightlight for the bathroom is helpful. Some folks bring a spring rod and curtain (sheet/ light quilt/blanket) for the sink area of the bathroom which has no door; others put a small quilt hanging from their bunk to block out the light.
  • Eye mask and ear plugs if you need them. We also have a jar of ear plugs available.
  • If you like to read in bed before sleep a small clip on light may be helpful.
  • Depending on where you are sitting under the room lights in the sewing room, you will want a small lamp to sew at night.
  • With many women in the space the temperature can be an issue, so dress in layers if you get cold and a small fan can be very helpful if you are warm. Depending on where you are sitting the sun can be bothersome in the early morning or later afternoon so a visor or masking tape for blocking sun with fabric/paper is helpful.
  • Somehow we always find a use for masking tape.
  • Your own sewing chair and/or a seat cushion. Most of us put two chairs together for sewing at our table.
  • Your sewing machine may bounce on these tables so some rubber matting may reduce this for you.
  • Your own small iron and mini iron pad if you wish.
  • Paper bag for fabric scraps and threads. One of us is always collecting this for pet beds which we donate. Trash and recycle containers are in the sewing area. Many small garbage cans are with each table grouping.
  • Items for the free table under the cutting tables — remember that you must claim what is not taken before you leave. Any leftovers will be put in the garbage if no one will take them.
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