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Thea M. Gray

Knitting on the Coast 2019 Retreat

A retreat at St Dorothy’s Rest in Camp Meeker, California

Friday to Monday, November 8-11, 2019; REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

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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 


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.

This year, we’re pleased to present Far out!, a retreat dedicated to UFOs (unfinished objects) and the knitters who are at best, um, ambivalent about them. We’re all about enjoying the journey and not just focusing on the destination. But... do you have some unfinished projects languishing in your closet? Or hidden under your bed?

Attend this year’s retreat and breathe new life into these old projects, develop the resolve to frog the unredeemable, and, during a reprise of a retreat fave, the yarn whispering session, learn the inner desires and potential that linger in your oft-overlooked stash skein.

In one-on-one sessions, Thea and Mary will help figure out what your pattern’s designer was trying to say or teach you the technique that stumped you. Although each session will be geared to an attendee’s own particular needs, everyone is invited to listen in.

Plus, as a reward for tackling whatever you’ve been avoiding, we’ve peppered the retreat with three micro classes—projects you can easily complete during the retreat to keep the fires stoked for UFO completion.

We hope you’ll join us this November to enjoy:


Teachers Mary (wearing handknit blue hat) and Thea (wearing handknit green sweater, smiling rectangular pendant with needle-felted flower motif embellished with wire and beads necklace made of I-cord with wire armature that is shaped in loops and curves hands holding fluffy faux-fur pompom
CONSULTATIONS. Thea and Mary will work to resolve your UFO to your satisfaction. BEADED AND FELTED PENDANT. So many cool techniques packed into a little pendant. I-CORD NECKLACE. A moderne necklace, super fun—and super fast—to make. FAUX FUR POMPOMS. Make DIY faux-fur pompoms, whether crazy or conservative.

As usual, classes will be punctuated with opportunities for participants to swap tips with other knitters, seek solitude, see some birds, and even dance your butt off—all amidst the beauty of the redwoods.



Birding Walk

Besides being a serious knitter, Mary Wisnewski is a serious birder, and so is Bill Walker, who also happens to be a serious nature photographer. Bill (below, far left) and Mary (below, far right) have been leading us on fabulous birding walks 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, November 8

3:30 pm Arrival at St Dorothy’s Rest
5:30-6:30 pm Orientation and introductions
7:00-8:00 pm Dinner
8:00-9:30 pm STITCH ‘N BITCH: SHOW AND TELL. Bring a crafted item for show and tell, a cultural recommendation (book, movie, TV show, exhibition, etc), and a brief story about something you learned this past year.

Saturday, November 9

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
11:00-11:00 am Zumba! A fun optional extra to get you moving more than just your needles.
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
1:30-4:00 pm BEADED AND FELTED PENDANT. This class packs a ton of skills into a tiny package: wet felting, needle felting, wire weaving and wrapping, and beading. Plus, we’ll make wet-felted beads that you can string into jewelry.
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner
7:00-9:00 pm STITCH ‘N BITCH: SWAP! Bring something to swap—yarn, patterns, tools, whatever!
9:00-10:00 pm S’mores under the stars

Sunday, November 10

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
9:15-12:15 pm Birding walk
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner
7:00-9:00 pm STITCH ‘N BITCH: YARN WHISPERING! Bring a skein of stash yarn that you don’t know what to do with and we’ll give you an idea or two. Optional extra: chair massage!

Monday, September 11 (Veterans Day observed)

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
9:00-9:30 am Group photo
9:45-10:45 am I-CORD NECKLACE. This necklace, inspired by one in in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs gift shop, is moderne, fun, and super fast.
11:00-12:30 pm FAUX FUR POMPOMS. Made in all kinds of faux fur, from fluffy white cat to rainbow unicorn, pompoms can modernize your hat, calm cranky kids, and pacify coworkers.
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 (check the hours before you go!) include: Yarnitudes in Sebastapol, Cast Away in Santa Rosa, Black Mountain Artisans/Bo-Rage Yarns in Point Reyes Station, Fiber Circle Studio in Cotati, and Purls of Joy in Healdsburg (all in the North Bay) and, farther south, Avenue Yarns in Albany, Black Squirrel in Berkeley and Oakland, A Verb for Keeping Warm and Piedmont Yarn in Oakland, ImagiKnit and Firebird Yarns in San Francisco, and Royal Bee Yarn in Pacifica.



The 2019 retreat will be the eighth at the beautiful St. Dorothy’s Rest, situated among the cool beautiful redwoods between the Russian River and Occidental in Camp Meeker, 1-1/2 hours north of San Francisco. We’ll be staying in Farmer Lodge.

Rustic Farmer Lodge

...with its hospitable living room

Comfortable porches...

...and cozy bedrooms


All rooms in Farmer Lodge have a simple charm and share clean, tidy baths (European-style bath down the hall). 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 fall weekend?



The founder of Knitting on the Coast, Thea Gray formerly taught knitting at BookShop West Portal in San Francisco. 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 sharing 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, 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, writer and editor 


Mary Spinnity Wisnewski Rita Rodriguez Kate Godfrey Bill Walker
Spinnity—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. Find her on Ravelry as spinnity. Rita Rodriguez has been making jewelry for more than 25 years. For this retreat, she’s combining her love of jewelry-making and knitting into one super fun, easy project. Find the nighttime creations of Kate Godfrey (such as knitted animals and embroidered tapestries) on Ravelry at designers/kategodfrey and @gollyokate on instagram. When 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

A sampling of feedback from recent retreats:

  • The workshops were really informative. I loved every single one. I especially found the color theory lesson challenging and rewarding and learned a lot in how to choose colors for colorwork. The whole retreat was really great.
  • All classes and the group of people were really nice. I think it was the best retreat that I’ve attended.
  • A lovely time indeed! I loved the variety and the addition of a jewelry class! The teachers put so much preparation and thought into the classes and it showed. Thank you.
  • 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 and goodie bag items from generous local yarn shops and national yarn distributors. This year’s contributors include:


There will be no homework for this retreat; enrolled students will receive instructions about what materials to bring to the retreat.


  • 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 2019 retreat is limited to 14. 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 before September 10, 2019, a full refund less a $50 cancellation fee will be available. No refunds will be available after that dates.



The fee for the 2019 Knitting on the Coast $575 or $675, based on the type of room selected, and include 3 nights’ lodging, 9 meals, all instruction, and class materials. The optional extras are the Zumba class ($5) and the on-site massage ($30 for 20 minutes); both can be paid on-site by cash, check, or Venmo.

To sign up for the retreat, please print out a pdf of the retreat brochure, complete the form, and send a message to Thea to receive the mailing address and hold your place until your check arrives. Places not secured by a receipt of a check within a week of notification will be forfeited.  

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