Thea Gray


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Thea M. Gray

Knitting on the Coast 2014 Retreat

A retreat in Camp Meeker, California:

Friday to Sunday, August 15-17, 2014 ? REGISTRATION OPEN!


Join us for a relaxing knitting getaway among the redwoods by the California coast!

Geared to advanced beginners and intermediate knitters, these retreats offer a variety of technique classes in a relaxed, supportive setting.


The Knitting Classes * The Extras * The Schedule * The Setting * The Teachers * The Goodies * Class Materials * Other Things to Bring * Retreat & Host Policies * To Sign Up 



This year?s theme is the twain shall meet. We?ll join felt together with silk in nuno felting, merge two dimensions with three dimensions by way of short rows, and bring about the holy alliance of crochet and knitting. As usual, classes will be punctuated with opportunities for participants to swap tips with other knitters or seek some solitude?all amidst the beauty of the redwoods. And again, in addition to seeking inspiration with a birding hike, we will have the option of getting the blood moving with a Zumba class! We hope you'll join us this August!

Stitch 'n bitch' gatherings

Short rows

Nuno felting

Crochet for knitters



Birding Hike

Besides being a serious knitter, Spinnity is a serious birder, and so is Bill Walker, who also happens to be a serious nature photographer. Bill (below, far left) and Spinnity (below, far right) have been leading us on fabulous birding hikes since the 2009 retreat—they have always been quite a highlight.

Join us this year when they take us on another mellow hike to explore nearby woods or coastline from a birder's perspective. Perhaps you'll find inspiration for future knitting projects in a bird's plummage or the landscape's palette.


Friday, August 15

2:30-4:30 pm Pre-retreat kayak trip (optional extra)
5:30-6:00 pm St Dorothy's Rest Orientation
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner and introductions
7:00-9:00 pm A SHORT PRECIS ON SHORT ROWS. We will practice three techniques for performing short rows?German, Japanese, and the good old wrap and lift?while making a fun spherical ornament or toy.

9:00-10:00 pm S'mores under the stars

Saturday, August 16

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am-11:00 Birding hike
11:15-12:15 pm Zumba! A fun optional extra to get you moving more than just your needles.
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
2:00-5:00 pm NUNO FELTING. Silk and felt melded together in a beautiful union?by you!?using your brains, your sense of beauty, and your brawn. You?ll make a super cool scarf using this relatively new technique, developed just 20 years ago by an Australian fiber artist and named after the Japanese word for cloth.
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner
7:00-9:00 pm STITCH 'N BITCH AND SWAP! Bring a ?doomed? project to redeem, plus something fibery (a skein, tool, or book or two) to swap.

Sunday, August 17

8:00-9:30 am Breakfast followed by group photo
9:00-9:30 am Group photo
10:00 am-noon CROCHET FOR KNITTERS. Learn the basics of crochet so you can navigate this mysterious world. You?ll learn basic stitches, how to read a crochet pattern, how to crochet a provisional cast-on, a couple crocheted borders, and some crochet appliqu? techniques.
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch and goodbyes
Nearby yarn shops. Some LYSs worth checking out on the way to or from the retreat—or during your downtime—include: Bluebird Yarn in Sausalito, Balls and Skeins and Yarnitudes in Sebastapol, Cast Away in Santa Rosa, Knitterly in Petaluma, and Black Mountain Artisans in Point Reyes Station.



This year’s retreat will again be held at the beautiful St. Dorothy’s Rest, situated among the cool beautiful redwoods between the Russian River and Occidental in Camp Meeker, 1? hours north of San Francisco. We'll be staying in Lydia House, where students will have the choice of a private or shared room.

Beautiful Lydia House

...with its charming living room

Light-filled porch...

...and interior- and exterior-facing bedrooms


All rooms exude simple Arts and Crafts charm and share clean, tidy baths. Those students who do not choose a roommate will have one selected for them. We will be treated to delicious, seasonal, locally sourced meals from Friday's dinner through Monday's lunch.

During your free time, go on the birding hike, take a stroll in the woods, pop into Occidental, or just hang out and chat with fellow knitters.

Lots of cool knitters and a beautiful, shaded setting. What more could you want on a lovely late summer weekend?



The founder of Knitting on the Coast, Thea Gray formerly taught knitting at BookShop West Portal in San Francisco, and now leads drop-in sessions at the bookshop every other Wednesday evening as well as occasional classes in Oakland. She began knitting in third grade and has barely stopped since, even flying 6000 miles in a weekend to polish her couture techniques. Known for bountiful patience, Thea loves teaching the joys of knitting. You can find her on Ravelry as knitOrama.
Thea creates a warm, welcoming environment, in which I feel very comfortable asking for clarification or repetition. She's a great listener, and creatively adjusts her teaching style to the needs of her students, depending on their level of experience.

— Jenny, product designer

Not only is Thea a patient and thorough teacher, she's enthusiastic and skilled in many different knitting techniques. She's helped me go beyond merely following patterns.

— Rachella, freelance writer and editor 

Thea's terrific! She's not only knowledgeable but also incredibly patient with all our mistakes. Her humor and demeanor make both the classes and the drop-ins a great experience.

— Jeanne, rookie knitter 


SpinnitySpinnity?designer of Larus & Ardus?spins, birds, and knits in the SF Bay Area. She has a bad habit of combining hobbies ?in the field,? which sometimes leads to muddy knitting projects and broken dpns. She blogs at

SpinnityWhen Bill Walker isn?t busy taking photographs, he might be found birding with Spinnity, knitting, or playing music. See his birding field notes and photographs at

JeanineJeanine Mattson is the retreat?s fun factotum and enotech extraordinaire. An amateur birder, Jeanine is the very kind soul who makes sure everyone at the retreat has what she or he needs.

A sampling of feedback from recent retreats:

  • I want to thank you again for a fabulous time!
  • Excellent teaching. Restored my interest in taking classes, after a couple of bad experiences. Also loved the relaxing location.
  • Thank you thank you thank you.
  • The location was beautiful, food was great, teaching was great!
  • I loved everything. I appreciate so much all the energy put into the retreat. I loved all the classes and teachers.
  • Thank you so much for putting it all together, it was magical.
  • Had a fantastic time. Thank you!
  • I had such a great time! Thanks for all the hard work you put into such a fun weekend.
  • I am definitely interested in all your retreats. You really are a fabulous teacher.

...and a few photos from the 2010 retreat and from the 2009 retreat.


This year's retreat participants will receive door prizes from Bookshop West Portal and goodie bags with lovely donations from Berroco, Crystal Palace, ImagiKnit, and Knitting Fever (US distributor of Ella Rae, Noro, and many others) and fabulous handmade treasures from Kate Godfrey, Rita Rodriguez, Jane O'Donnell, and Nina Washburne.


A list of class materials and homework will be sent to all enrolled students.


  • Pen, pencil, and highlighter
  • Pad of large sticky notes for masking off sections of charted patterns
  • Binoculars for birding
  • Clothing and shoes appropriate for walking in the woods or on the beach and for doing Zumba!
  • Flashlight for walking to and from dinner, s'mores, etc
  • Robe and slippers for walking to the bathroom
  • Bathroom toiletries



Registration for the 2014 retreat is limited to 12. Places will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be confirmed once full payment is received. A waiting list will be maintained once all spots are filled.

Should a student be unable to attend the retreat and the cancellation is received by July 25, 2014, a full refund less a $50 cancellation fee will be available. No refunds will be available after that dates.



The 2014 Knitting on the Coast retreat instruction and facilities fee is $190, which includes all fiber classes and the birding hike. The fee for accommodations is $220 or $260, depending on room selected, and includes 2 nights’ lodging and 6 meals, from dinner the first day through lunch on the last day. The optional pre-retreat kayak trip is an additional $25 and the Zumba classes is $5 each; both can be paid for on-site by cash or check.

To sign up for the retreat, print out a pdf of the retreat brochure, complete the form, and mail a check, made out to Thea Gray, to 5371 Shafter Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

To hold a place when paying by check, please send a message indicating that your registration form and check are in the mail. Places not secured by a receipt of a check within a week of notification will be forfeited.  

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Photos of sheep behind fence, stitch 'n bitch gathering, Spinnity, and Bill are copyright Bill Walker. All other images are copyright their respective owners and, like Bill Walker's images, should not be used without express written permission.

© Copyright Thea M. Gray