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Q&A with Melissa Leapman on Color, Inspiration, and Stashbuster Knits


It seems as though Melissa Leapman never puts her knitting needles down for a moment. As soon as she’s done writing one book (her latest, Stashbuster Knits, gives knitters great ideas to make the most of leftover yarn), she’s off teaching, designing, and dreaming up her next big project. Recently, she took a moment to chat with us about her new book, her love of classical music, and the dangers of living with yarn.

CrafterNews: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Melissa! What’s the story behind your newest book?

Melissa Leapman: Stashbuster Knits came about out of necessity. Since I work for the yarn industry, gathering a huge stash is an occupational hazard. Living in a New York City apartment means I must have a way to keep my stash organized so I can easily find what’s there when I design something new.

CN: Do you have a favorite project from the book?

ML: I love the Puzzle Play afghan. It’s a great stashbuster because each section of color uses approximately 8 yards of yarn! Who doesn’t have 8-yard lengths of this or that to use up?

CN: One of the projects we like the most is Tamara‚Äôs shawl. Even though you use 11 different yarn colors, the linen stitch pattern keeps it all so elegant. What’s your best tip for making a multi-colored stashbusting project look cohesive?

ML: Knitters have two options: either choose colors that are all part of a color story (such as all autumnal tones, Mardi Gras brights, or cool tones) or else choose the colors completely randomly (and I mean utterly, unequivocally without rhyme or reason). Using one main color throughout can help tie the look together.

CN: Do you have a favorite color combination?

ML: Probably analogous colors, hues that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel (for instance a red, red-violet, and violet). There’s something harmonious about them. In fact, it’s the way colors most often present themselves to us in nature. Just look at the blues of the sky and the greens of foliage, for instance.

CN: We hear you’re a connoisseur of classic music! When you’re working, which composers help inspire you?

ML: Yes, I studied classical music most of my life and I continue the journey today. I enjoy many composers, including (of course) Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Glass. I recently re-discovered Hummel, whose piano sonatas I played as a kid. His orchestral stuff, especially the piano concerti, is amazing.

CN: If you weren’t a knitting author/designer/teacher, what would you want to be doing?

ML: I guess being a crochet author/designer/teacher doesn’t count? I’d probably be somewhere in academia, writing about material more esoteric than knitting. I’m a great lover of reading and of learning. And there’s so much to explore!

CN: So what’s next on your plate?

ML: I’m enjoying my travels to knitting events, meeting knitters from all over. I plan to continue that while working on my next book project. Everyone knows I get more knitting design work done on the road than I do here in the office. After all, there are so many wonderful distractions here in New York.

Learn more about Stashbuster Knits and download the free Boho Bangles project to get a head start on whittling down your own yarn stash.



About the Book
Stashbuster Knits
Tips, Tricks, and 21 Beautiful Projects for Using Your Favorite Leftover Yarn
Written by Melissa Leapman
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Knitting
Format: Paperback, 144 Pages
On Sale: November 15, 2011
Price: $19.99
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