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Melissa Leapman
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Most of us knit or crochet to relax. What do you do?
Since knitting is my day job, I needed to find another "creative outlet" for my off-time. As all of my Facebook friends already know, I love to bake. And eat. . . . 

What's the most unlikely place you've ever knitted or crocheted?
On a jeep in the middle of an African game reserve, surrounded by creatures big and small: rhinos, zebra, giraffes, cheetahs, dung beetles, and spiders the size of dinner plates. Didn't see a single sheep.

Which knitting and crochet luminaries (living or dead) would you invite to a dream dinner party?
I have the best job in the world: I get to hobnob with all the greats in our industry at shows like STITCHES several times a year. 

Tell us about your most unusual teaching experience.
A few years ago, I taught a workshop inside a plastic tent in the backyard of a LYS down South. It was the middle of Summer. A portable air conditioner placed in the tent helped with the heat and humidity but not the fire ants.  

What's your favorite tool in your knitting bag? Why?
A size H/8 crochet hook. I use it for everything, from laddering up dropped stitches to picking up stitches along a neck opening to (gasp!) actually crocheting. It's easy and fun to whip up a hat for charity while waiting endlessly on the runway at Laguardia airport!

What's the latest knitting or crochet technique you learned that rocked your world?
I love love *love* two color double knitting. It's a technique that does the impossible by creating a fabric that appears to be stockinette on both sides. It's quite magical!

When you look at another designer's work, what makes you say "wow"?
Usually it's an unusual stitch pattern. I enjoy playing with different textures in my work.

Have you ever seen one of your designs on someone "in the wild"? What's that feeling like?
All the time. Even when I'm not at a knitting event! It's very fun, especially if the person wearing the garment recognizes me.

As a famous knitting (or crochet) teacher, you must travel a lot.  Do you have any secret airport vices you'd like to share?
Since I spend so much time on the road, it is imperative that I get work done while traveling. Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I wear my Bose headphones and bop my head from side to side *without even turning on any music* just to deter strangers from talking to me about my knitting. Sometimes, a girl has gotta work!

One last thing, what are you most looking forward to about STITCHES?
Seeing the other teachers and all my students. The enthusiasm is catching!

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