For me, attending a quilting class or workshop is as much about the location as it is about the quality of the quilting instruction – it has to have both. Over the years, I have amassed a wish list of quilting classes, quilting workshops, quilting retreats and quilting holidays that combine both great instruction and inspiring destinations.
I have been fortunate to be able to attend a few of the programs on my list below. This list keeps growing though as I discover even more interesting options. Looks like there will have to be more traveling and quilting in my future.
My List of Quilting Classes, Quilting Retreats, Quilting Workshops and Quilting Holidays
Adirondack Quilt Camp – Long lake, New York
During a four day program, the Adirondack Quilt Camp offers a range of classes for all levels of quilters from beginners to advanced quilters, including classes for kids. You can try your hand at everything from making a bag, a wall hanging or a full sized quilt. The program takes place in Long Lake in the heart of the beautiful Adirondack wooded and mountainous region of upstate New York. For a different Adirondack experience, read my story about camping like a Venderbilt at Camp Sagamore, one of New York’s historic Great Camps.
Alegre Retreat – Gateway, Colorado
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making an art quilt, this is the right program to learn. Once a year, for five class days, the Gateways Canyon Resort hosts renowned fiber artist instructors that will help to bring out your best creativity. Surrounded by the impressive red rock geology of western Colorado while staying in a luxurious comfort, the setting will be surely inspire as well as relax.
Stitchtopia Craft Holidays – locations throughout Europe
British tour company Arena Travel offers a variety of textile oriented tours through their Stitchtopia Craft Holidays, including patchwork and quilting oriented itineraries in Europe and beyond. Exotic destinations like Madeira, Portugal and Cypress combine ample quilting instruction from well known designers with local sightseeing tours and premium accommodations. Use of Bernina sewing machines is included which means you don’t have to haul yours around the globe. This quilting holiday is definitely on my “soon to do” wish list.
Crafty Retreats – Mallety, Central France
Crafty Retreats offers a variety of textile courses in a luxury rural setting in central France. Run and managed by two lovely British ladies, the courses bring instructors from around the world to share their unique methods which are taught (in English) in a small group setting. Course fee includes comfortable accommodations in two charmingly restored French farmhouses and all meals which are freshly prepared using local ingredients. You can read all about my perfect holiday escape with Crafty Retreats in Central France.
Empty Spools Seminars – Pacific Grove, California
For five sessions from Feb through April, Empty Spools Seminars brings in top quilting industry instructors to the Asilomar conference center located on the Monterey Peninsula in California. During each six day session, a dozen teachers provide classes and presentations in a variety of techniques that span traditional quilting, paper piecing, art quilts and much more. I loved my experience with Empty Spools Seminars and look forward to attending again. Accommodations are in historic Arts and Crafts buildings from the early 20th century and the delicious meals use local and seasonal ingredients. And best of all, you are only steps away from gorgeous Pacific Ocean beach sunsets.
Gee’s Bend Quilting Retreats – Canton, Mississippi
If you’ve admired the unique quilts produced by the generations of women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, you can take a class with two of them and make your own Gee’s Bend inspired quilt. The 5 day program includes instruction, lodging and all meals. Quilting retreats are offered numerous times throughout the year.
Hudson River Valley Art Workshops – Greenville, New York
Both the fiber arts workshops and the included lodging are in the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, situated on 6 acres of idyllic and inspirational grounds in the Hudson Valley of New York state. Most rooms feature unique quilts which will also be sure to inspire. Workshops here lean more toward the art quilt category as befits a setting that has been welcoming and instructing artists since 1982.
Madeline Island School of the Arts – Madeline Island, Wisconsin and Tucson, Arizona
The Madeline Island School of the Arts is considered to be one of the top 5 arts and crafts schools in the US and offers writing, painting, and photography classes along with quilting classes. During the summer months, the programs take place in northern Wisconsin on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. Accommodations and studio buildings have been custom designed with these workshops in mind. During the winter months, the programs are offered at the highly rated Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona, just outside of Saguaro National Park. Quilting classes range from the the newest techniques for art quilts to paper piecing to new approaches for traditional piecing.
Mercersburg Inn Bed and Breakfast – Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
Quilting retreats at the Mercersburg Inn are the perfect mix of wonderful accommodations, delicious meals and a relaxing quilting environment. A number of times throughout the year you can choose to attend either a 2 day weekend or 3 day midweek retreat that focuses on one quilt pattern. Each of the rooms in this historic restored Georgian Mansion is beautifully appointed with luxurious linens and featherbeds. Meals are served in the on site restaurant and offer a delicious seasonally inspired menu. I loved my experience here a few years ago when I attended a class to make a blooming nine patch quilt design. I am looking forward to going back again soon.
Missouri Star Quilt company – Hamilton, Missouri
Missouri Star Quilt company is well known for its founder Jenny Doan and her quilt pattern you tube videos. The company has expanded to also included quilting retreats at their designated Retreat Center in Hamilton, Missouri. A large number and variety of classes are offered all year, including longarm quilting instruction. The program includes shared dormitory style accommodations at the retreat center and all meals.
National Quilt Museum – Paducah, Kentucky
There is no better place to be inspired when it comes to quilting than the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. Besides the many beautiful quilts that the museum preserves and exhibits, its mission is to also educate. You will find a variety of programs for both adults and youths of all ages scheduled throughout the year, taught by some of the best quilt artists in the industry. Paducah has also been designated a UNESCO Creativity City which I visited a few years ago for the annual AQS Quilt Week. You can read my story about my pilgrimage to Paducah.
Patchwork and Quilting Holiday, Gartmore House – Gartmore, Scotland
Quilting classes in a historic 18th century manor house located in the midst of a national park in Scotland – yes please! The Gartmore House offers many different types of crafting classes including patchwork and quilting programs. You have a choice of four different quilt designs that you can learn or you can bring your own projects to work on. Sewing machines are available to rent if you don’t want to bring yours. This one is definitely on my “soon to do” wish list.
Quilting by the Lake – Syracuse, New York
Over the course of two weeks, Quilting by the Lake offers 2,3 or 5 day classes that are sure to inspire your fiber art creativity. Internationally renowned textile artist from all over the globe guide students through a variety of artistic exercises and creative design processes that should leave all quilters feeling much more confident about producing an art quilt.
Quilting on the Beach – Hawaii
Quilting in Hawaii – what could be better. For six days each year you can attend a quilting retreat in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The program offers flexibility so you can choose which quilting class to take part in each day. All this and beach time with palm trees and warm ocean breezes. I will surely want to attend next winter.
Quilt Seminars at Sea – quilting cruise
Quilting while cruising combines the best of both worlds. Quilt Seminars at Sea offer ocean and river cruises to destinations all over the globe. Their programs center around quilting workshops during free time on the ships, allowing plenty of time for sightseeing while in port. Quilting cruises to Alaska are very popular, as is quilting in Alaska. Each of the main cruise ship ports have great quilt shops to explore.
Quiltworx – Kalispell, Montana
If you are a fan of Judy Niemeyer’s intricate paper pieced patterns, you can learn from the master herself while attending a Quiltworx retreat at the company’s training center and headquarters in Kalispell, Montana. There you’ll also be less than an hour away from the eastern entrance of Glacier National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in the US. As I discovered on my Quiltworx retreat, this was also a chance to get a glimpse of the design and production process involved in producing a signature Quiltworx pattern.
Shipshewana Quilt Retreat – Shipshewana, Indiana
Four times throughout the year, you have a chance to get away for a very long weekend of quilting in the heart of Amish country in Shipshewana, Indian. Retreats are scheduled each year in February, April, August and November and give you five days of sewing time from Wednesday through Sunday. The retreat’s focus is primarily on sewing time for your own projects, but a few times a year they also bring in well known instructors who offer classes. If you are visiting the area in the summer, be sure to also check out the Quilt Gardens in Elkhart, Indiana like I did.
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show – Sisters, Oregon
The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show may only last one day, but there are a week of classes and other programs that take place beforehand. A cadre of the industry’s best instructors offer classes that span many quilting techniques. This is a great way to experience beautiful central Oregon while building up the anticipation for this unique outdoor quilt show. If you are planning a visit, make sure to also read about my tips for visiting the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.
Other options for quilting classes, retreats and workshops:
- Local quilting guilds often schedule retreats for their members
- Most of the major quilt shows also include classes and workshops
- Most quilt shops also offer classes and some also organize retreats
- Look at your favorite professional quilter’s and quilt instructor’s website to see where she/he will be teaching in the upcoming year
If you know of other great quilting programs that I should include on this list, I would love to hear from you. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting.