By Maggie Colpus, Event Co-ordinator

Layer Cake Bonanza – 12-13 March 2022 – New Place Hotel

Well, our first retreat at a new venue – New Place Hotel, Shirrell Heath, Hampshire. What a weekend we had.  Great company, superb food, beautiful surroundings and purpose-built meetings rooms, ideal for sewing with natural daylight.

The majority of the ladies arrived Friday afternoon to settle in, explore the Manor House, its bar and the 32 acres of grounds. Some even made time for a swim before the start of an exciting weekend quilting with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield, most popped into the sewing rooms to say hello to Val and Maggie and used the adjoining coffee lounge for a catch up

We did all make it to the very splendid oak panelled bar for drinks before going into the equally splendid restaurant for dinner.


After a very pleasant breakfast, we made our way across to the sewing rooms where we met those who decided not to stay the extra night.

Val welcomed everyone to the weekend. Then Sarah and Terry introduced the three of quilts and explained the process for each.  Hot beverages were on tap all day which gave everyone the opportunity to take a break in the coffee lounge whenever it was needed.

Our hot and cold buffet lunch both days was taken in the Manor House.  Everyone seemed to like the idea of the short walk to the House in the open air. All said they were quite bright and alert for the afternoon after the stroll there and back.

The class officially finished at 4 p.m but Sarah and Terry agreed to stay until about 5 p.m.  Before leaving Sarah showed everyone the quilts for our October weekend at New Place Hotel.

Dinner was served in a private dining room in the Manor House. We had all pre-chosen about 14 days previously. Luckily Maggie had the menu spreadsheet in case anyone had forgotten what they had ordered! As dinner was fairly early, some went back to do a bit more sewing and were still able to get to bed at a reasonable hour.


Sunday breakfast was served in a private dining room, so we were able to come anytime during service and knew we had a table.

After breakfast it was time to check out from our bedrooms with a full day of sewing before leaving for home. Before we knew it, it was time for a quick stroll over to the Manor House for our hot and cold buffet lunch. Back in the sewing room Sarah and Terry showed everyone the quilts they planned for March 2023, and later in the afternoon the plans for October 2023. Without even having any confirmed dates for 2023, the class were eager to pre-register for both dates.

By the end of the final session, almost everyone, and I mean everyone, had a completed quilt top. Some had even started on a second quilt.
Everyone loved the new venue, the rooms, the great company and the food and the stroll over to the Manor House for meals. And yes, a few new friends were made. All our venues are easily accessible via major motorways. New Place is no exception and is easily accessible from the M27, A3, A31.

How to book a place at a retreat

Come and join us and escape for the weekend at one of our upcoming 2022 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 confirmed 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 a class. This is subject to availability. 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 from October 2021 (left)

What our students thought

Here are some of the comments from the March weekend:

Lovely hotel, seamlessly run with charming staff, room was nice.
Such a great way to learn and make friends.
The venue is lovely really enjoyed the retreat; food was fabulous. Such an improvement on the Langstone.
The best retreat yet, it seemed more relaxed, lovely people, great hotel.
Extra thank you to Maggie for her support.

Do take a look at the pictures from the weekend below