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J C Briar
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Most of us knit or crochet to relax. What do you do?
Knit and crochet. And cook and garden and watch movies basically, anything other than cleaning house.

What's the most unlikely place you've ever knitted or crocheted?
Let's see... waiting rooms, airports and airplanes, on trains, on long car trips... Nope, those are all likely places, if you ask me.

Which knitting and crochet luminaries (living or dead) would you invite to a dream dinner party?
Oh, every STITCHES event is a party with many of my favorite luminaries. But for a dream dinner party, I'd have to invite Elizabeth Zimmermann, as I never got to meet her. 

Tell us about your most unusual teaching experience.
Here's a good one from my last teaching gig: A student in Socktastic Stitch Patterns listened attentively as I described different ways of designing new stitch patterns for socks. When it came time for everyone to sketch and swatch ideas, I asked how she was doing. She responded, "I love this class! It's so inspirational. And as soon as I learn to knit, I'm going to knit some socks."

What's your favorite tool in your knitting bag? Why?
Ooh, tough choice. It's either my crochet hooks (good for casting on, fixing mistakes, and more), my clip-on stitch markers (good for clipping onto the fabric, instead of sliding on the needles), or my small collection of waste yarn in a variety of colors (good for casting on provisionally, holding stitches temporarily, marking increase rows, and much more).

What's the latest knitting or crochet technique you learned that rocked your world?
I'm enamored of traditional Estonian techniques for casting on and binding off: simple, attractive, and with enough "give" for lace.

When you look at another designer's work, what makes you say "wow"?
Could be anything! Novel stitch patterns, nuanced colorwork, skill in shaping, and unusual construction always catch my eye. But for real "wow" factor, a design needs to be simple, innovative, and well executed.

Have you ever seen one of your designs on someone "in the wild"? What's that feeling like?
At knitting events, I'­ve had any number of knitters lift a pant leg to show me their socks which always makes me smile. Outside knitting events? Nope, not yet... but I look forward to the day! 

As a famous knitting (or crochet) teacher, you must travel a lot.  Do you have any secret airport vices you'd like to share?
Vices? Not really. But I think a good layover should be an hour to an hour and a half long, so you have time to freshen up, walk around a bit, get something to eat, and relax basically, so you can prepare yourself for the next leg of your journey.

One last thing, what are you most looking forward to about STITCHES?
Meeting up with so many talented and enthusiastic knitters and crocheters, of course!



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