By Maggie Colpus, Event Co-ordinator

Fleece treats with Gail Penberthy

We moved to a new hotel, Thatchers in East Horsley, for our last retreat of 2021. The new venue did not deter any of our eager ladies, some of whom arrived on Friday night at their own expense which gave them the opportunity relax and socialise before the class started Saturday morning.


There was time for a relaxing breakfast before the Saturday ladies arrived and were settled in. The room was set up so that every student had their own workstation which gave them all the space they needed for the weekend ahead.

With coffee and tea to hand, Valerie Nesbitt welcomed everyone, and introduced Gail Penberthy, our tutor for the weekend.

Gail painstakingly took everyone through the programme for the weekend – Saturday was fleecy applique quilt day and Sunday fleecy wreath. During the morning, Gail demonstrated the various processes for the quilt and the students worked on their sample piece. Gail was on hand to offer assistance and advice as she went round the room. Before we knew it, it was time for a light lunch.

By mid-afternoon all sample pieces had been completed to everyone’s satisfaction, so the ladies were able to start on their actual quilt, with most staying until supper time. Some ladies went back to the sewing room after supper, but most took the opportunity for an early night as it had been a very full-on day of learning.


After another relaxing breakfast, the class was ready to start their Christmas fleecy wreaths. Each student was given their pre-selected choice of pattern and Gail went through the various processes. Before we knew it, it was time for lunch.

The afternoon saw the group wrapping strips of fleece round their wire wreath rings, making faces and bodies for snowmen, reindeer, penguin and then stuffing them. Suddenly it was becoming obvious who was making what from the shapes they had formed.

Suddenly time was running out and we only had a short time left to ask Gail any questions. At teatime, Valerie asked everyone if they would like Gail back in 2022 – it was a unanimous yes. Everyone was very positive as to how the weekend had gone.

What Maggie Did…

For a change I decided to take part in the weekend thinking I could make a wreath a day – how wrong I was!!  All the elements for one wreath were ready to assemble by Sunday afternoon.  Now all I have to do is finish it and make the second at home.

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

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