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Everyone needs some time to unplug, re-fuel and re-charge. Crocheters are no exception. A crochet retreat with close friends or a large group of complete strangers can completely change your crocheting journey. Plan a successful crochet retreat using these easy tips.
Whether you prefer a few hours in your home or a weekend getaway, the inspiration of a well-managed retreat will feed your soul in so many ways. Planning a retreat can be rewarding as well. The basic requirements are:
Define your purpose
Set some specific goals
Identify the necessary resources
Establish a retreat schedule
We’ll go deeper into each of these from the viewpoints of having a personal retreat and of having a group retreat.
“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
The Personal Retreat
Managing your life’s obligations and enjoying the hobby of crochet may not always be easy. There are ways to take a break from the daily grind and enjoy some time with hook and yarn nearby. Crocheting while at home, using tools and yarn that you already have, can be a simple and easy “solo” retreat in a safe and loving environment. Nurture your creative interests and expand your mind while learning new crochet stitches or techniques. You’ll feel great when you spend time alone on a challenging crochet project and these personal retreat guidelines will help you keep your focus throughout the experience.
The Personal Retreat – Define your Retreat Purpose
As a personal retreat, you have so many options available. However, a solo retreat or a personal retreat does not give you the option to just wing it. You still need a purpose and to work through these preparations in advance of the retreat day (or weekend). Some considerations for a personal retreat may include learning a new stitch, tackling a challenging new project, or taking time to assess your yarn collection and get organized. These are all worthy purposes for an individual retreat. What’s your purpose?
Important Benefits of a Personal Retreat
There are numerous benefits for taking the time to retreat alone. I find that time alone with my thoughts and crochet projects creates a re-connection to who I am, how I want to live, and those gentle reminders of how to be my best self. In addition to creative flows, I discover a stronger sense of purpose and the renewed energy to take on more aggressive projects. There is also a peace in knowing that I’ve taken time from all that is busy in life to just allow myself a few hours or days of self care.
At any stage of life, a personal retreat is a positive way to reflect, rest, and renew your core being.
The Personal Retreat – Set your Crochet Retreat Goals
The goals that you choose for your person retreat should flow naturally from the purpose that you defined in the previous step. If you purpose is to organize and catalog your yarn collection, a reasonable goal would be to define an inventory system and begin recording the yarn brands, colors, weights, and other vital information in to your planning system.
Tackling a new project such as amigurumi dolls or animals may require goals for achieving several color changes and multiple stitch combinations. A mini-goal could be to work for an hour on the amigurumi pattern and then to take time to read some inspirational short stories or do a short yoga routine before returning to the intensive effort.
The Personal Retreat – Identify Retreat Resources
The third step is to align your purpose and goals to the resources required for your retreat time. This includes the resources that are readily available and any other resources that you will need during the weekend.
A key element to a successful retreat is to plan adequate time to accomplish your goals. As you are blocking time for the retreat, also consider any other time constraints that may impede on your success. To take a full day away from all household and family responsibilities can be quite a challenge. Careful advance consideration for childcare, pet care, food arrangements, and such will go a long way towards creating the serene environment that is the essence of a retreat mindset.
We’ve all heard the quote “Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy craft supplies, and that’s pretty close”. I love when there is humor in the truth (and truth in the humor). As you plan your crochet retreat, prepare you project supplies in advance. This includes yarn, patterns, stitch markers, scissors, and other essentials. You can use yarn from your current supply or splurge to create a special project that is connected to your personal retreat weekend.
Depending on your preference, you may want to retreat in a space at your home. However, to really unplug consider a local cabin or vacation rental property. You may also have spaces available for personal projects at your local library or university. Think outside the norm and cater the retreat time to match your preferences.
The Personal Retreat – Set your Retreat Schedule
As you begin to plan, you will quickly discover scheduling conflicts. Look for reasonable blocks of time for your retreat-whether a morning, full day, full weekend, or longer. Commit to yourself and your hobby. Give yourself grace during the process and know that you are worth this time of personal restoration.
Keep in mind that most creative projects also reduce stress. Crocheting is a wonderful way to break from the daily routine and a retreat plan with these essential steps will put your well on your way to success.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
The Group Retreat
Let’s unpack these same tools and techniques to prepare for a small group retreat. The more the merrier!
The Group Retreat – Define your Retreat Purpose
When factoring in ideas for a group, there are many considerations that you may have glossed over when preparing for the individual retreat. With a group, there are multiple personalities and even the best of friends will sometimes have disagreements. Some thoughts for planning – Will the retreat be limited to crocheting? This information is essential for understanding your space requirements and setting the stage for the other planning activities.
A small group of close friends may enjoy crafting together in a private environment. A larger group retreat, such as the annual Crochet Guild of America conference, provides opportunities for a greater variety of interactions and new connections within the group. The shared experience of a crafts retreat will create memories and may establish worthy connection points for long term friendships.
The Group Retreat – Set your Crochet Retreat Goals
What is the goal of the retreat? Some retreats are simply for the enjoyment of fellowship and sharing current work-in-progress items. Other retreats have a specific project purpose and may employ a certified teacher to lead the project. Still other retreat events focus on charity projects and seek to create a specific number of charity items within a few hours.
There is no right answer.
It’s your event and your goals. Ask a few trusted friends how they would like to see the event unfold. Participation in the planning will go far in bringing enthusiasm about the event.
The Group Retreat – Identify your Retreat Resources
Begin to figure out your budget and ways to stretch your dollars for the retreat. Will the participants be contributing time, money, space or other resources?
From the beginning, identify whether anyone in the group can offer time to assist with the event planning. Some event planners prefer to do all of the heavy lifting projects alone, but having others contribute to the event, even in small ways, will help them to feel included in the event and invested in the project. Is there a scrapbook maker in the group who might enjoy creating invitations? Is there someone who is highly organized and can build an event schedule for each day? Perhaps someone who enjoys cooking would be interested in designing a few meal plans and organizing the grocery shopping requirements.
As you plan your crochet retreat, consider whether the participants should pay to attend, pay for project supplies, or just show up and bring the items that they will be using during the retreat. If the retreat is centered around a charity project, consider using Facebook and other social media channels to spread the word and to encourage donations. Who knows, there may be a closet full of neglected yarn available for free when there is a worthy cause underway.
Does anyone in your group or community have a cabin or vacation rental property that may be suitable for the retreat? Retreats can be budget friendly with a little advance planning. Consider local free facilities such as a library space (for a day event), church camp (with overnight accommodations), state parks, or even a timeshare rental. Some B&B venues are ideal for crafting retreats. Small inns offer private rooms and may have restaurant facilities on site for a true “getaway” experience. Some locations may advertise with a specialty as a personal retreat center, but there are so many options when making plans. In addition to room size(s) and location, your guests will be interested in overnight accommodations, outdoor space for relaxation, and such amenities as Wi-Fi, free parking, and spa services. Depending on your event schedule, local restaurants and museums may play a role in the overall retreat experience.
The Group Retreat – Set your Retreat Schedule
As you begin to plan, you will quickly discover that there will be scheduling conflicts. Know this as you begin and choose a convenient date and time for most of the interested participants. Avoid major holiday weeks and weekends or times that are common for major family vacations or celebrations (spring break week, graduation ceremony, etc). Make it easy for your targeted participant group to say YES! to your retreat event.
The immersive quality of a group retreat event creates group dynamics and builds bonds. Sometimes, these bonds will last a lifetime. No pressure though, plan for the best and cherish every participant during the event. Keep in mind that most creative projects also reduce stress.
For the schedule, a documented hourly program can be invaluable. This can be on written hand-outs or on a visible chalk board near the main entry. Always be clear about the expected arrival and departure time. For a project class, ensure that the instructor receives a full event schedule, including the hours that she will teach or assist with one-on-one training. The schedule should also define any time that participants are expected to be gathered together, and when they will be on their own to craft or relax.
Crocheting is a wonderful way to break from the daily routine, connect with others who have a similar interest, and make new friends.
What’s YOUR Crochet Retreat Experience?
Share your tips! Drop me a line with any planned upcoming events and I’ll add them to the directory of events (if you want me to).
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