By Maggie Colpus, Event Co-ordinator

Let’s Get Scrappy with Sarah Soward and Valerie Nesbitt’s BYO weekend

The whole class of 17 ladies (including two with non-participating husbands who both joined us for meals) arrived Friday afternoon. They stayed the night at their own expense and we all had dinner together.  Everyone got to relax and make friends before the class started at 10 a.m the next day. In addition to all their sewing paraphernalia, some arrived heavily laden after shopping at Gunwharf Quays earlier in the day, some explored the local eateries for lunch, some made use of the spa and swimming pool, and some just relaxed over a cup of tea in the lounge


After breakfast on Saturday everyone was eager and ready to start before 10 a.m. Valerie Nesbitt welcomed everyone to the retreat. Then Sarah Soward, assisted by Terry Summerfield, showed the class the scrappy quilt selection for the weekend (3 quilts and 3 levels of difficulty). Most had already chosen prior to the weekend and had done their prep homework. Sarah and Terry wandered round the sewing room to offer assistance and advice on and off all morning. The room was very quiet with as everyone had their heads down working hard, but that soon changed and everyone was exchanging hints and tips and laughing.

Valerie, as usual, was busy in the sewing corner with several ladies who came for an uninterrupted weekend to finish their projects and some to start a new project under the guidance of Valerie.

Beverages were on tap all day which allowed everyone to take a break when they wanted one.

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 on the adjacent patio.

Time to chill… and sew a little more

Sarah finished her teaching day showing everyone the quilts she would be teaching in March 2022 at our new venue – New Place Hotel.

With the class officially over some decided to take a swim or just chill in their rooms or the lounge, but a large number of the ladies stayed until supper to get their quilt top to where they were happy to leave it for the day.

We all met in the bar prior to dinner to just chill and people watch – well wedding watch!!!  After dinner several eager ladies returned to the sewing room whilst most were ready for a nightcap and bed after a full-on day of sewing.


We woke to very heavy rain and strong winds lashing Chichester Harbour, but we were warm and cosy, and on a mission to get our quilts sorted. So after a leisurely breakfast we were all back in the sewing room. By lunch time most of the class had the makings of a stunning quilt top.

After a typical Sunday lunch it was back to the classroom where Sarah showed everyone the quilts she has planned for our 1-2 October 2022 weekend – again at New Place Hotel.

Some of our ladies with long journeys back to the West Country and all points north, left us at about 3 p.m but the majority stayed until 4 p.m to get their quilts to the stage that they could be finished at home, or at their local group.

Take a look below at some of the pictures from the weekend

Here are some of the comments we received after the weekend:

First time on a weekend. It was the least cliquey group I’ve ever encountered. Made us so welcome and the willingness to help each other was great. We ate one evening with the most amazing older couple, I could have happily gone home with them.

Great weekend, thank you.

My first time but will be back

What’s coming up….

Our new retreats for 2022 have also been announced. In the early part of the year so far we have:

February 2022 Optical Illusions with Valerie Nesbitt and Emma Randall

March 2022 Layer Cake Bonanza with Sarah Soward and Terry Summerfield

April 2022  Animal Landscapes with Kate Findlay

June 2022 Get Creative with Anja Townrow

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.

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