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Thea M. Gray

Knitting on the Coast 2022 Retreat

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

Friday to Monday, April 1-4, 2022 (NEW DATES!!) 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's theme is Creating Creature Comforts!

Kate will kick off the retreat by teaching us to make a wee notebook for jotting down your new knitting know-how. A pocket for stashing yarn samples is a feature we've yet to see in an e-notebook.

Next, Thea and Mary will dive into the first of two sessions on bouncy brioche, an old technique that has been wildly popular these last few years.

Between brioche sessions, Rita will transport you to a whole new world, where pounding metal and twisting wire yields another practical yet elegant knitting tool: a stitch marker necklace of gems and leather.

Finally, after our session on brioche increases and decreases, Kate will teach us how to knit the ultimate creature comfort, a little stuffed animal—a great gift for human or furry children.

We hope you'll join us this April to enjoy:


close-up of brioche wee notebook stitch marker necklace seamless knit chicken stuffed animal
COZY UP TO BRIOCHE. Popular fluffy brioche is an old technique. In a two-part intro, Thea and Mary will reveal its secrets: barking, burping, and brioche increases and decreases. SEA TREASURES NOTEBOOK. Kate guides you in making a one-page-wonder—a tiny notebook with a separate cover, hidden envelope, and a beachcomber closure. BOHO STITCH RHAPSODY. Rita will teach metal hammering and wire wrapping as we make practical tools in a cool package—a stitch marker necklace of gems and leather. HENS-A-POPPIN'! Kate introduces you to toy knitting with this lovable quick knit. This hen is stash-busting, child-sized, and pet-friendly, with no seaming required!

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



Birding Hike

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 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, April 1

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, April 2

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
9:00-9:30 am SEA TREASURES NOTEBOOK. Kate guides you in making a one-page-wonder—a tiny notebook with a separate cover, hidden envelope, and a beachcomber closure.
10:00-Noon COZY UP TO BRIOCHE, PART I. Ready to learn the secrets of making this lofty fabric? Thea and Mary will show you how to bark and burp your brioche in the first part of our intro to this old technique with new devotees.
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
2:00-5:00 pm BOHO STITCH RHAPSODY. Rita will teach metal hammering and wire wrapping as we make practical tools in a cool package—a stitch marker necklace of gems and leather.
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner
7:00-9:00 pm STITCH ‘N BITCH: SWAP! Just your basic perfect low-key knittin' social. Plus... a goodie bag!
9:00-10:00 pm S’mores under the stars

Sunday, April 3

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
9:15-12:15 pm Birding walk
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
2:00-4:30 pm COZY UP TO BRIOCHE, PART II. Onward! Time for brioche increases and decreases.
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner
7:00-9:00 pm STITCH ‘N BITCH: SWAP! Bring something to swap—yarn, patterns, tools, whatever! The optional extra: a chair massage!

Monday, April 4

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast
9:00-9:30 am Group photo
10:00-Noon HENS-A-POPPIN’! Kate introduces you to toy knitting with this lovable quick knit. This hen is stash-busting, child-sized, and pet-friendly, with no seaming required!
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 2022 retreat will be the ninth 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 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 to browse the cute shops, or just hang out and chat with fellow knitters.

Lots of interesting knitters in a cozy and beautiful setting. What more could you want on a lovely winter 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 30+ years and loves devising ways to combine knitting with jewelry for our retreat. This year’s project incorporates basic wire wrapping and jewelry-making skills. 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:


A list of class materials and homework will be sent to all enrolled students prior to the start of the retreat.


  • Pen, pencil, and 4 differently colored 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
  • Flashlight for walking to and from dinner, s'mores, etc
  • Robe and slippers for walking to the bathroom
  • Bathroom toiletries



Registration for the 2022 retreat is limited to 11. 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 Tuesday March 1, 2021, a full refund less a $50 cancellation fee will be available. No refunds will be available after that dates, except in the case of a student suspecting exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or testing positive for COVID.

The venue's staff will be vaccinated, boostered, and wearing masks indoors. Participants and retreat staff must also be fully vaccinated and boostered, and all participants and retreat staff will need to wear masks indoors, except when eating or sleeping. To the extent possible (weather permitting), classes will be conducted outdoors to allow students who wish to be unmasked to do so safely.

We will be asking staff and participants to take a rapid COVID test (available at local pharmacies and online at a cost to the staff and students ~$10-$15 per test) on the first day of the retreat. If participants test positive, their retreat fee will be refunded without penalty.



The 2022 Knitting on the Coast fees include instruction for all classes, the birding hike, nine meals (from dinner Friday through lunch on Monday), and accommodations for three nights. Total fees are $665 for a shared room and $873 for one of the three private rooms.

An optional on-site massage can be arranged for $30 for 15 minutes or $35 for 20 minutes, payable to the masseur on site, by cash, check, or Venmo.

Attendees must be fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot prior to the start of the retreat, and must provide an attestation to that effect.

To sign up for the retreat, 1. Send an email to to hold a place at the retreat. 2.Within a week, mail or email the completed form from the retreat brochure and payment via check, PayPal, or Venmo to the address provided in the reservation confirmation email. Places not secured by a receipt of a check within a week of notification will be forfeited.  

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All images are copyright their respective owners (most are by Bill Walker) and should not be used without express written permission.

© Copyright Thea M. Gray