By Anita Birtles,

Goldwork – 13-14 May 2023 – Wendy Mansfield – New Place Hotel

This retreat was our third this year at the beautiful New Place hotel. The grounds, Manor House and surroundings are an ideal place for a retreat.

Most people arrive on the Friday night in order to make use of the facilities. Having a swim, sauna and dip in the jacuzzi. The more adventurous went for a lovely walk in the grounds and some actually used the Gym. After meeting in the bar we had dinner together with the tutor and started to get to know each other.


After a relaxed breakfast on Saturday morning, we were joined by those that didn’t stay Friday night and made our way to the classroom. Everything we needed was provided in a Kit waiting for us when we arrived in the classroom. We didn’t need much time to set up and get going. Our wonderful weekend of sewing began.

We knew this retreat was going to be lovely and relaxed as Goldwork is hand stitched, intricate and slow sewing. Even though some were nervous about this very new to us type of sewing, the relaxed atmosphere of the purpose built meeting rooms, the space and light within the classroom, and the supportive style of Wendy the tutor put us all at ease. The perfect introduction to Goldwork.

There were a selection of designs to work from aimed to provide experiences in differing techniques. Some people had experienced gold work before so chose the more intricate pieces to work on.

Wendy explained each technique as we went along. Using the beautiful silks, tulle, netting and organza we started to build our embroidery.

It was quiet and relaxed in the room and everyone became engrossed in their work. Although coffee and tea were available throughout the day, Wendy had to prompt us to stop and have a break. I think the breaks were helped by the delicious cakes, biscuits and doughnuts and gave us the energy to keep going.

Lunch was in the Lazlo room in the main manor house. We ate surrounded by beautiful portraits and lovely wood panelled walls. No one took up the opportunity to play croquet on the lawn but the opportunity was there.

Many of us sewed beyond the tutored time and the sewing room was available both before and after dinner.

Although the Eurovision Song Contest was on that evening only the hotels night time staff and one of our sewers husbands found time to watch it.


Sunday was another leisurely start to the day and after breakfast we were all back in the classroom. This was when the next few techniques started to be added to the already fantastic looking pieces of work. Who knew that Pearl Purl was the name for the gold wire used in Goldwork. Sewing this on really added to the beauty of our work and although the odd one of us over stretched our Pearl Purl, Wendy was able to rescue us and set us on the right path.

After Lunch we went onto another technique called Chipping’s – adding tiny pieces of Wire Check (another technical term) to the raised felt we had sewn on earlier. What with the Spiral Purl used for the flower stems our pieces of work were certainly coming together.

There was the opportunity to buy additional kits and look at the other projects Wendy teaches. We are looking forward to Wendy teaching further Goldwork lessons in the future.

Check out the pictures from the weekend.

Here’s what the students had to say about the Double Delight Weekend

Wendy is an excellent calm and professional tutor

I was impressed but having met her before was not surprised

She inspired confidence in her students

Course Fantastic!!

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: Quilt as you go Sampler Quilt with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield or BYO to Val’s Sewing Corner, 14-15 Oct 2023 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Quilting Weekend: Applique and Free Motion Quilting (Delphine Brooks Highland Cow Pattern) with Anita Birtles, 28 -29 Oct 2023 at The Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham, Surrey

Sewing Me Time Weekend: finish your Christmas projects or your UFOs, it’s your time, 18-19 Nov 2023 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Quilting Weekend: Crazy Patchwork, 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

You are always welcome to join us in the sewing corner as a day or residential student on all our weekends if you don’t fancy booking on the class offered and you’d simply like a little sewing me time. You can finish your UFO’s or even start a new project without interruptions. The day student option is subject to availability. Please get in touch if you are interested.