By Maggie Colpus, Event Co-ordinator

Dahlia Quilt – 24-25 September 2022 – Sue Thornborough – New Place Hotel

Another weekend at 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 grounds.

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


Saturday morning, we welcomed the rest of the ladies.  After everyone had set up their workstations and had coffee in their hands, Valerie Nesbitt welcomed everyone and introduced Sue Thornborough to the class before giving a brief description on how the weekend would run.

Sue then explained the weekend and the work involved.  As there were so many options to the Dahlia Quilt there had been no pre-weekend prep work. Sue handed out a set of paper templates to those who had brought their empty cereal boxes to use to reinforce the paper templates.  Some had bought the Dahlia Quilt ruler.  Sue went round the class and explained how to choose the colour options and use either the paper templates or the special rulers.  Everyone had their heads down, completely concentrating on cutting their fabric round the templates.  It was a good job the coffee was flowing!

After 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, it was back to the sewing room for the next stage.  Sue explained that the very small centre part of quilt had to be made first, and then students had to work from the centre out, with Sue insisting that centre had to be 100% correct so the very tiny seams would lay flat. Otherwise, the rest of the quilt would not ‘sit’ right!  Halfway through the afternoon most had finished their centres.  The cakes arrived just in time for a coffee break away from all the concentrating.  Sue continued during the afternoon advising each student on their next stage.  By this time most had what appeared to be a shooting star effect- part one of the quilt completed.

The class finished late afternoon, some headed to their rooms to relax, but most went to the bar for a well-earned drink before dinner in the Manor House.


Sunday morning everyone was back in the room, most having had an early breakfast so they could start the next stage of their quilt.    The class was very eager to get as far as possible with this complicated quilt, so it was a quick stroll to the Manor House for buffet lunch.  Sue spent most of Sunday going round the workstations to advise/assist everyone on their work.

Suddenly it was 4 p.m and time for our weekend to end but not before an amazing show and tell.  What a weekend and some amazing work near completion

Check out the pictures to see work in progress as well as our show and tell at the end of the weekend.

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.