By Maggie Colpus, Event Co-ordinator

Optical Illusions with Valerie Nesbitt and Emma Randall

What makes about 7 ladies travel great distances at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning? The first sewing weekend of 2022, that’s what.

A small group started their weekend early by staying at their own expense on the Friday evening and enjoying a massage in the hotel spa. We had dinner together so we could all relax and make some friends before the class started at 10 a.m on Saturday.

Everyone else started to arrive from about 9 a.m on Saturday so they could settle in and set out their work station, and enjoy the coffee and Danish pastries before the class started.

And, for the first time in over two years restrictions had been lifted. We did keep the individual work stations though at a comfortable distance, and some of our more vulnerable ladies decided to wear a mask when in public areas.


Our tutors Emma Randall and Val Nesbitt introduced themselves and explained the projects for the weekend. They – Storm at Sea and Curvy Log Cabin.

The majority opted for Storm at Sea with a couple choosing Curvy Log Cabin. Everyone was given the instructions and the included ruler relevant to their choice of quilt. Emma and Val constantly stopped at everyone’s work station to advise and assist throughout the day. Everyone was very busy with their rotary cutters, and it was quite a while before the machines were engaged and the background chatter started.

Val also looked after the ladies in the sewing corner who had come for an uninterrupted weekend away from household disturbances to finish their projects.

Beverages were on tap all day which allowed everyone to take a break when they wanted one, with biscuits and pastries frequently replenished.

After a light lunch everyone was back at the machines, stopping only to stretch their legs, get a drink or take a break away from the machines in the adjacent foyer.

Although the class officially finished at 4 pm, Val and Emma stayed for an extra hour or so to offer their advice and assistance. As we had arranged an early dinner the majority of the class stayed to complete another stage of their work. Of course, with an early dinner the evening was still young, so everyone took advantage and went back to the sewing room for a few more hours – and they were still able to go to bed at a reasonable time.


We woke to very heavy rain and strong winds blowing across the Hogs Back, but we were warm and cosy, and on a mission, so after a leisurely breakfast it was back in the sewing room.

Having stopped for lunch it was back to the classroom to get work to a stage where it could be finished at home, in the local group, or even come back to a retreat and finish it in the sewing corner.

Gateaux was served at tea time, and this was definitely a step too far with so much lovely food being consumed over the weekend. It didn’t go to waste through, as the hotel provided takeaway boxes for everyone.

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 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 a class. This is subject to availability. You can finish your UFO’s or even start a new project without interruptions.

What our students thought

Here are some of the comments from the February weekend:

It is so nice to be sewing together after so long with the restrictions, I’m very excited.
Thank you so much had a lovely time
Fab time – learnt so much
Very enjoyable weekend and look forward to doing another at some point
Fantastic break, best therapy and enjoyed meeting new people
Tutors very patient and helpful, Maggie was also very attentive and helpful
Val and Emma were helpful, and tuition was excellent, Maggie was very organised and friendly
Useful hints and tips throughout, good understanding of different learning styles and tutors very approachable, thanks for a great weekend.
The notes were brilliant
The weekend was a welcome break and thoroughly enjoyable.  I think we all appreciate the attention to detail that you give to these weekends.

Our students also sent us some of their work that they finished at home:

This is Ann’s finished quilt for Storm at Sea. She used the spare fabric for the back and it’s bee sent out to the USA.


Sue has finished her quilt and was very pleased with it. She told us she ‘had a fantastic weekend’

Dotty has just finished this quilt “Jelly roll Pathway”. When she bought the fabric she had no idea about Ukraine but the colours remind her of their flag. So she’s named it “Pathway from Ukraine”. She was working on this in our sewing corner at the retreat, but she actually started it on another retreat with Sarah and Terry last year!