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Gwen Bortner
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Most of us knit or crochet to relax. What do you do?
I still like to knit, but I also will occasionally do embroidery, and swimming really helps me work out stress.

What's the most unlikely place you've ever knitted or crocheted?

I knitted a "Gwen size" sample during my cruise that celebrated turning in all the projects for my book.  The project smelled of sun tan lotion even after a number of washings it brought back good memories.

Which knitting and crochet luminaries (living or dead) would you invite to a dream dinner party?
I get to have that dinner party fairly regularly at STITCHES events. I am really lucky to be in this business!

Tell us about your most unusual teaching experience.

Recently I was locked out of my classroom (where all my handouts were) until 1 minute prior to class starting. So I organized the 40 students in the hallway and we started only 1 minute late. The lesson: expect the unexpected and never panic!

What's your favorite tool in your knitting bag? Why?
I love my Puppy Snips! They are small, TSA doesn't care about them, but they are surprisingly good scissors.

What's the latest knitting or crochet technique you learned that rocked your world?
I always love new cast on and bind off techniques and keep an eye out for them.

When you look at another designer's work, what makes you say "wow"?

It usually has to do with some technical aspect or application of a particular technique. I am a geek not a fashion plate, so the how and why is really interesting to me.

Have you ever seen one of your designs on someone "in the wild"? What's that feeling like?

Never in the true "wild", only at shows and events (is that more like the zoo?), but I still am always thrilled. It is especially rewarding when they have made the piece "their own" with some sort of customization!

As a famous knitting (or crochet) teacher, you must travel a lot. Do you have any secret airport vices you'd like to share?
The Detroit airport has really great sushi for being nowhere near an ocean, and they can serve you really fast! 

One last thing, what are you most looking forward to about STITCHES?

I love the venue for STITCHES Midwest. It is a modern hotel with FABULOUS flower arrangements in the entry lobby. I love all the wonderful open seating areas for knitting, chatting and making new friends. And for some reason classrooms and the market all seem much closer than other venues (so less time walking).

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