Sheep to Sweater Retreats: Terroir Knitting

“Terroir” is a term traditionally used in the context of wine to describe the characteristics that come from the grapes’ environment: the farming practices, specific growth habitat, weather, and how those all affect the final product. As with grapes and wine, the environment impacts the characteristics of wool and therefore the handknits made from the yarn it becomes. Julie’s love of wool and community have led her to participate in what she calls “Terroir Knitting” retreats.

Cocoknits friends and fans know that Julie loves supporting small businesses and local economies – and knitting with beautiful yarn! So it just makes sense that she would teach at retreats that put those values into action. Over the years, Julie has worked with Lizzie Hulme of the Textile Retreat Co. to create small knitting retreats for curious knitters who share this love of wool and of supporting local communities.

Click the links below for a glimpse at some of our past retreats.

Julie’s Description of Terroir Knitting Retreats

"These retreats are all about immersing ourselves in the environment of a locally made yarn and creating beautiful memories of knitting with it. We hear from the farmer, shepherd, spinners, mill operators, and dyers to learn as much about their processes - and our specific yarn - as possible. Along the way, we make new friends, spend time with old friends, and enjoy good wine and amazing food prepared from local ingredients by local chefs.”

"During the course of our visit, many of us are creating a functional souvenir of our adventure: a Cocoknits Method sweater made with that local yarn. Because we are together for a full week, we have plenty of time to make solid progress on our custom-fitted sweaters, which will keep us warm for years to come and remind us of that beautiful place and time.” 

How It Works


Room & Board

These retreats are different from the typical hotel conference room classes you may have experienced in the past. Julie prefers a more intimate, cozy setting; retreats are held at historic estates and chateaux with plenty of welcoming gathering spots featuring comfortable sofas and chairs, handy tables, and soaring windows with pastoral views. Past retreats have taken place at Chateau Dumas in France, and Goodnestone Park and Heathfield House - both in the UK.

Delicious meals prepared by a private chef are included, featuring locally procured ingredients and handmade baked goods. Accommodations range from comfortable single and double occupancy rooms to luxurious suites.



The week starts with a visit to a farm, or a visit from a yarn maker. Once everyone has yarn in hand, the group starts winding wool, swatching, exploring pattern options, and deciding what to knit. Each day includes exploration of our chosen locale with field trips to historical sites, walks, special meals, and events with plenty of time for knitting.



Participants knit a Cocoknits Method sweater, custom tailored to each person’s tastes, style, and fit. Knitters do not need to know the Cocoknits Method ahead of time - we have plenty of time during the week to teach it in a one-on-one setting. Julie’s long-time teaching assistant, expert knitter Tracy Russell, also attends, answering questions and helping with dropped stitches so knitters never have to wait long for help!

Browse Cocoknits Method sweater patterns


Learn More

See the recaps of past retreats below for more detail.

If you're interested in learning about upcoming retreats, make sure to sign up for the Cocoknits newsletter!

More retreat details can be found on the Textile Retreat Co. website.

The Retreats


Coming Up

Check our Events page to see upcoming retreats, or email us at



Click the links below for a glimpse at some of our past retreats.



Hi Cara, Thank you for your interest! Julie and Tracy take care of the teaching; for questions about tours, pricing, and other details, please check the Textile Retreat website, linked above under #4 in the
“How it Works” section.

Cara Prieskorn

Question about the knitting Retreat. How much time is allowed in Rye? I am a huge Mapp andLucia fan and would like to be able to take their tour.

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