By Maggie Colpus,

Quilt As You Go Sampler Quilt with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield, and Finish a Quilt with Valerie Nesbitt – 14-15 October 2023 – the New Place Hotel

Wow, our biggest weekend ever and the first of our Autumn retreats – a total of 32 attendees including the tutors and

The majority stayed Friday night. Some arrived early for lunch in the bar, some went for a swim, and some arrived after a little shopping spree via Gunwharf Quays and West Quay Shopping Centre.  I spent much of Friday afternoon welcoming our group to the venue, including seeking out those in the bar, coffee lounge and grounds. Later we all met in the Manor House for drinks in the bar before all going into dinner. What a nice way to start a weekend.


The sewing room was available from 9.15 am on Saturday morning, so a few went to breakfast early and then set up their workstations, the remainder set up before going for a leisurely breakfast and stroll.

With our Saturday arrivals, including two non-residential students settled at their workstations with coffee in hand, Val introduced Sarah and Terry and went through how the weekend would run.

There had been a considerable amount of pre-retreat cutting so worktables were piled with various pre-cut widths of backing and wadding.  Sarah explained how the class was going to run and that she and Terry would work half the room each.  Small groups were called to Sarah’s central workstation and were shown a completed block one and given the instruction sheet for that particular block. So back to workstations to make the first block.  When the first block was complete students would go across the corridor to spray their block. We had a designated room for everyone to spray – the floor and tables having been covered in plastic by Sarah and Terry earlier.  When the first block was sandwiched, small groups were informed on suggested quilting of that block.

This process continued for most of the weekend.

Val had a smaller class for her Finish A Quilt group, including one attendee who was making a quilt from her children’s and grandchildren’s’ baby grows, another working on a fussy cut quilt, several layering and quilting, another making a Christmas table runner of decorated houses, and one working on the layout design for her finished blocks.

The majority from both groups stayed sewing until dinner on Saturday evening and some, including our non-residents sewed well into the night!!   Some were also up early on Sunday sewing before breakfast!!


On Sunday, most of the students in Sarah and Terry’s class had enough sandwiched and quilted blocks so they were shown how to place the sashing. Then, they could either finish their work that day or be able to continue at home or in their local sewing groups.

It was a full-on class as many had only ever made a quilt top, and then sandwiched and quilted. It was time for a new hat on and old head!!

Of course, everyone managed to relax a bit during refreshment breaks in the coffee lounge, although coffee was free flowing 24/7, or a quick walk in the fresh air.

Our meals over the weekend were an absolute delight.

Both classes joined together for a leisurely stroll to the Court for Saturday lunch and the Manor House for a Sunday carvery, and, of course, we also all enjoyed our pre-selected dinner in the de Lazilo room on Saturday evening.

We are fortunate that the venue always tries to reserve a room or area on Sunday morning for us all to eat breakfast together throughout breakfast service. So, no one is ever left on their own unless they are not a morning person and like their own space at breakfast. That’s fine, too.

By 4 pm most people were packing up ready to start their journey home. Those travelling towards London had to follow extensive diversions due to parts of the A3 and M25 junctions closed for the weekend.  All were happy and tired after a full-on fun weekend.   A couple of ladies did stay a little later to finish.

We look forward seeing Sarah and Terry again in 2024 when they will be teaching Machine Stitching (6-7 April) and Bargello (26-27 Oct).

Check out the pictures from the weekend.

Here’s what the students had to say about the Patchwork Retreat:

Excellent weekend Sarah, Terry, Val and Maggie.”

“Loved it, learnt so much, and thank you Maggie for going the extra mile with my Friday.”  

“Thank you, Val, for your help and Maggie as always thank you for your organisation.”

“Had a really fab weekend, enjoyable and productive with great company.”

“Great first sewing retreat, thank you everyone for being so friendly, I will definitely be back”

“Definitely a full-on weekend.”

“Thank you for making this such an enjoyable weekend.”

“My first time, loved it and already booked for 2024.”

How to book a place at a retreat

Join us and escape for the weekend at one of our upcoming retreats – you’ll find full details here.  For any questions, just click on the Contact Us button.

You can also pre-register your interest for any of our retreats. Just email

Here’s what coming up:

Quilting Weekend: Crazy Patchwork with Valerie Nesbitt, 24-25 February 2024 at The Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham, Surrey

Quilting Weekend: Machine Stitching with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield, 6-7 April 2024 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Machine Embroidery Weekend with Dionne Swift, 27-28 April 2024 at The Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham, Surrey

Goldwork Weekend with Wendy Mansfield, 11-12 May 2024 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Sewing Me Time Weekend: start a new project or finish your UFOs, it’s your time, 15-16 June 2024 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Free Motion Quilting and Finishing Weekend with Anita Birtles, 14-15 September 2024 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Quilting Weekend: Bargello with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield, 26-27 October 2024 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Sewing Me Time Weekend: work on a Christmas project or finish your UFOs, it’s your time, 9-10 November 2024 at The Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham, Surrey