By Maggie Colpus, Event Co-ordinator

Animal Landscapes – 23-24 April 2022 – New Place Hotel

Our second visit to our new venue – New Place Hotel in Shirrell Heath, Hants and the weather was lovely.

As is normal on our weekends, several of the ladies arrived on Friday afternoon to stay at their own expense.  It is their treat to have a ‘me time’ weekend of relaxation and sewing.

Some of them coming via Gunwharf Quays after a spot of shopping (myself included!!), some arrived early and had lunch in the stunning oak panelled bar, a few chilled on the terraces with a drink or even a cup of tea, and a few even went for a walk in the 32 acre grounds (sadly the swimming pool was closed for refurbishment).

We all met up in the bar before going to the dining room for dinner.   All in all, a nice way to socialise with like-minded ladies and a nice way to prepare for a weekend of sewing


Saturday morning, we welcomed the rest of the ladies, all of whom were fairly local with a very short drive – so no real early morning start for them either.  After everyone had set up their workstations and had coffee in their hands, Valerie Nesbitt welcomed everyone and introduced Kate Findlay to the class before giving a brief description on how the weekend would run.

Kate then gathered everyone round the table to show them various options and ideas for their personal Animal Landscapes.  Kate had also brought with her several large containers of fabric bits and decorations that the students could rummage through to use on their work.

Time for another coffee (it was free flowing all day) and the room went decidedly quiet as everyone was working on their ideas.  Soon the sewing machines were in operation.  Before we knew it, it was time for a leisurely stroll in the sun over to the Manor House for a lovely hot and cold buffet lunch in our own private dining room!  Some lingered over lunch and a chat, and some hurried back to the sewing room.

During the afternoon Kate continually visited all the workstations to see if anyone needed any help or guidance and all were pleased with any suggestions Kate made.

Before we knew it was the end of Kate’s teaching time, although she did stay an extra half hour or so, leaving most of the ladies working under their own steam.

Later we all met in the bar before going into dinner, again in our private dining room.  Good food, good wine and good company and conversation followed.

Following on from dinner some of the ladies went back to the sewing room to work on their ideas, some went for a nightcap, but the majority went to bed tired after a full day of learning and sewing.


Another lovely day greeted us Sunday morning for a stroll in the sunshine to the Manor House for breakfast.  Oh, how everyone loves eating in the private dining room and breakfast was no exception.  It meant the room was ours for the duration of breakfast service so we would come and go as we wished with very efficient staff serving us extra beverages and toast, and the doors opened onto the grounds – what more could you ask for!

By 10 everyone was back and ready for the final day.  Sewing machines were busy. There was a buzz in the room as the ladies swapped ideas and sewing tools to complete their fabric artwork.

Then, a quick stroll and lunch in the Manor House before everyone was back finishing their projects.

Check out the pictures at our show and tell.

Here’s what the students loved about the Animal Landscapes Weekend

Brilliant weekend yet again, some amazing results with Kate and her gorgeous artwork, thank you!! Also, really liked the venue (fab views, food and very comfy rooms!) thanks all

Good food + snacks

Lovely venue

Great weekend with nice bed and fluffy towels

Cheerful staff

Great weekend and venue

Enjoyed weekend and felt very welcome – home from home

Loved the class and venue

Came in March and a change of vegetables would have been nice but food very good

How to book a place at a retreat

Come and 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 2023 dates. Just email

Patchwork Weekend: Pineapple Patchwork with Valerie Nesbitt and Emma Randall
25 -26 Feb 2023 The Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham, Surrey

Quilting Weekend: Make 2 quilts at the same time with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield
25-26 March 2023 at New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire

Embroidery Weekend: Introduction to Machine Embroidery (Stitched Pictures) with Dionne Swift
6 – 7 May 2023 The Hog’s Back Hotel & Spa, Farnham, Surrey

Quilting Weekend: Quilt as you go Sampler Quilt with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield or BYO with Valerie Nesbitt
14-15 Oct 2023 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 being offered on a specific weekend and you would like some sewing me time.  You can finish your UFO’s or even start a new project without interruptions. One of our students came along here and finished her quilt (picture left) at the October 2021 retreat. The day student option is subject to availability. Please get in touch if you are interested.