Five Islands Colorwork Knitting Retreat (Canada)

Nova Scotia (CANADA)
at Briny Bay Inn & Cafe

9-11 Students 1 Teacher
3 Full Days of Teaching
Oct 12th-14th, 2018  
Arrive Thursday Afternoon Oct 11th, 2018
Workshops are Fri., Sat., & Sun.
Deposit of $200 (CAD) holds your spot for the retreat.
$395 (CAD) for workshops plus $89 – $149 (CAD) a night lodging (4 nights) per person.
Breakfast, Dinners, Yarn kit, Entrance Fee to Fibre Festival, and more included.

TOPIC:  Colorwork Cowl for Chilly Nights

Meet Donna Druchunas knitter, author, mentor, and teacher in our very first knitting retreat in Canada. Along with your yarn, you’ll receive a cowl pattern, a sizing worksheet, and a handout with all of the techniques we’ll cover, including links to videos you can watch when you return home.

We will also be taking an excursion in the  afternoon to the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival held the same weekend as the retreat. Visit Nova Scotia in the fall to see the colors!

For advanced beginners to experienced.

Attendees should know how to cast on, bind off, knit, and purl, and should have completed several projects.

Make $200 (CAD) Deposit today


We’ll be making something similar to this with these designs patterns.

Each knitter will make my Cowichan Waves Cowl Pattern.

A couple of years ago, I took a colorwork knitting class with Canadian designer Sylvia Olsen, author of Knitting Stories: Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-inspired Knitting Patterns and Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater. In the class, I learned that the style of knitting used to make Cowichan sweaters—including the colorwork technique that has no floats—is the only 100% North American knitting tradition. I designed this cowl and hat because I had so much fun in the class, I wanted to keep knitting with the two-color technique that we learned.

My other favorite color knitting technique is the two-handed Fair Isle method that I learned from Ann Bourgeois, another Canadian designer and co-founder of the Philosopher’s Wool company in Inverhuron, Ontario. This technique has become popular with knitters around the world over the past decade.

Attend this retreat, where I’ll show you how to use both techniques to create your own cowl with your choice of brand new Canada-inspired motifs. With these two techniques, you’ll have a good choice of how you want to manage your yarns in working color patterning, and you’ll learn about color dominance, tension, catching floats, and more.

—Donna Druchunas


  • The Five Islands Provincial Park
  • Visit to local fibre festival on Saturday afternoon
  • Five Islands  lighthouse
  • Bay of Fundy‘s tide reach, is 30 to 50 feet (9 to 20 m) deep at high tide and empty at low tide.
  • Five islands look trail
  • A big grassy area with picnic tables in back, just off the Inn entrance, with a 12’ tall chiminea, perfect for bonfires.

One of Nova Scotia’s best-kept secrets, the Five Islands/Bay of Fundy Shore is a unique coastline sculpted by the worlds highest tides. Every 6 hours, the shoreline changes to reveal a spectacular landscape of islands, cliffs and fascinating rock formations otherwise hidden by the waters. Here, you can walk on the ocean floor at lunchtime, then return after dinner to view a completely different vista from 300-foot sea cliffs at Five Islands Provincial Park, just minutes from the Briny Bay Inn & Cafe.

Highway 2 runs along the North Fundy Shore through lively villages with historic homes and churches and past blueberry and strawberry fields, working small farms and amazing views of the Minas Basin. Visitors flock to Five Islands to take advantage of the many opportunities for hiking, beachcombing, camping, clam digging, bird watching and rock collecting, since it’s not unusual to find rare minerals and dinosaur-age fossils in the area.

You will be staying within 30 minutes of art studios (Joy Laking Gallery, Stone Carver Studio, ArtLab), Antique Shops (Great Village, Bass River and Upper Economy), Museums (Fundy Geological Museum, Bass River Heritage Museum, Ottawa House), Craft Bazaars (Economy, Five Islands), Pristine beaches (Five Islands Lighthouse Park), nature walks and hiking (Soley Cove, Thomas Coastal Reserve, Five Islands Provincial Park, Economy Falls Trail) and much more.


Schedule is subject to change. This is just a quick overview.

Thursday Evening:  Arrive and have a meet and greet with the other knitters and your hosts.  Donna, Maria, Victor & Dominc. We’ll get you all settled in and ready to start your exciting 3-day weekend of knitting on Friday morning.

Day 1: Let’s make a cowl! Cast on a swatch and practice knitting with the two-handed fair isle technique. We’ll learn how to manage the yarns, control our tension and floats, trap the yarn to prevent puckering, and more.

In the afternoon, you’ll start your cowl and use what you’ve learned. You can choose from a variety of charted motifs to customize your design.

Day 2: In the morning, we’ll have a slide show and talk about colorwork knitting traditions around the world and continue working on our cowls. We’ll also plan the design for the second half of the cowl, that we’ll begin knitting on Day 3. We’ll use our swatches to try out some interesting motifs from Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Visit to the local Fibre Festival in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, we’ll have some time off for an excursion to the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

Day 3: Continue with your swatch and practice knitting with the Coast-Salish no-float technique.

In the afternoon, you’ll continue your cowl and use what you’ve learned.

You are in class each of the three days (Fri, Sat, Sun) from 10am-12pm and from 2pm-5pm.
Donna will be on-site and available for questions anytime (except when she is sleeping <grin>).

An hourly schedule of events will be available shortly before retreat begins. Schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.


  • Knitting needles in appropriate sizes for knitting flat and in the round with worsted weight yarn. Bring several sizes so you can change as needed to get the gauge you want as we swatch.
  • Knitter’s toolkit including tapestry needles, scissors, stitch markers, and cable needle.

As we get closer to the retreat dates, we will get more specific as to what supplies to bring.


951 Nova Scotia Trunk 2  | Five Islands | NS, B0M 1K0

Briny Bay Inn & Cafe (formerly Mo’s) run by new owners Oliver and Maria, is conveniently located on Hwy 2 between Masstown and Parrsboro on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy. The completely updated Inn offers comfortable and convenient private rooms and hostel lodging, with free Wi-Fi, cable TV and access to full kitchen, sitting areas and laundry facilities.  Briny Bay Inn is right on the Glooscap Trail and a short walk from an 1890 pointed-spire Gothic Revival church, historic homes, a convenient fresh market, peaceful walking trails and amazing views of the Five Islands.

Bring your knitting and learning cap for this wonderful fall weekend in Canada. A beautiful setting in Nova Scotia. Makes for the perfect stay for your trip to Five Islands, Nova Scotia!

Rates below include:
  • Lodging all 4 Days
  • Breakfast all 4 days
  • Dinners all 4 days
  • Clean Linens
  • Workshop fee of $395 (CAD)
  • Hi-speed Wi-Fi throughout
  • Entrance into the Fibre Arts Festival on Saturday

Rates quoted  are for 4 NIGHTS. You are welcome to bring another knitter, husband, partner, or non-knitter friends (only the private rooms). Non-knitter friends can not attend knitting workshop. All inclusive price. These are our inaugural Canada retreat prices. Come join us for the first time in Canada!

Private Rooms with private bathrooms (3 available):
Upper level no elevator | Queen or double beds available | Private bathroom | Shared kitchen, sitting room, laundry, & deck
Single occupancy knitter: $990 (CAD)
Double occupancy knitters: $1550 (CAD)
Double occupancy knitter & non-knitter: $1165 (CAD)

Private Room with shared bathroom. Lavender house next door home (1 available):
Upper level no elevator | Queen bed, shared living room, dining room, sun porch.
Single occupancy knitter: $950 (CAD)
Double occupancy knitters: $1500 (CAD)
Double occupancy knitter & non-knitter: $1105 (CAD)

Hostel Apt. Room #1 with shared bathroom (2-3 people in a room):
1 queen bed, 2 single beds | Shared bath | Shared Kitchen
Single occupancy knitter: $950 (CAD)
Knitters only

Hostel Apt. Room #2 with shared bathroom (4 people in a room):
4 single beds available | Separate entrance | Shared bathroom, living room, kitchen, laundry
Single occupancy knitter: $950 (CAD)
Knitters Only

Workshop & lodging fee terms

We will start collecting your balance on August 12th, 2018
Balance due  Sept. 12th, 2018
Cancel after September 12th, 2018, deposit will be forfeited.
If you cancel and we fill your spot, we will refund your deposit.

 Please be aware that you must stay at the Briny Bay Inn & Cafe to attend this retreat.
Your hosts, Maria & Oliver, welcome you to the NEW Briney Bay Inn & Cafe in Nova Scotia.

Make $200 (CAD) Deposit today


Are you driving?

Getting to Vermont
  • Montreal, Canada (11hr 30min drive)
  • Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada (3hrs drive)
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (13 hrs drive)
  • Portland, Maine, USA (8 hrs drive)
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA (9 hrs, 30 min. drive)

Are you Flying?

Halifax Stanfield International Airport (1 hr 30 min drive)
Bangor Maine International Airport  (6 hrs drive)

At this time we can not provide transportation to and from the Airport or Train stations.

Get away from it all while learning a few things about knitting. Even if you don’t learn something new, it’s relaxing to be with those who know the craft of knitting.

Dominic & Donna
Contact us?

NEK Retreats is produced by Sheep to Shawl, LLC