When you say Laurie Perry, most knitters in the know, well…. know! But when you say Crazy Aunt Purl knitters and literati take notice! Laurie started enchanting us with her blog a couple of years ago, since January 2005 to be exact and during the time when we came to know her, love her and knit with her she achieved all sorts of notoriety and became a published author! "Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair" was published in the fall of 2007. I have told Laurie on more than one occasion that she is living my life! I have been divorced, and drunk, but not covered in cat hair, I’m allergic (sadly). I know I’m not alone when I say that I loved the book, it was warm and real, and spoke to what makes a knitter knit to begin with. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it heartily! Thanks Laurie, I appreciate the interview, I’m a huge fan!
(KC) Laurie, you’ve had some, well let’s be real, some tough holidays! Everyone has different thoughts about the holidays, how are you feeling about the holidays 2007 style?
(LP) This year I'm getting into Christmas for the first time in years. I'm excited about putting up my tree and decorating the house. The holidays are weird, sometimes happy and shiny and sometimes dark and lonely. I'm going to try harder to focus on the happy parts. Plus, a day off work!
(LP) Finally! I'll probably sleep the whole day through I'm so tired right now!
(KC) I’m so excited for you! I know after my divorce, the first Christmas that I felt “real” (which sounds suspiciously like the Velveteen Rabbit or something) I could have just danced with excitement. It was sort of like waking up after a long ugly dream! I know you are tired, I read your blog and see that you are traveling all over the country on the “Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair Tour”. Sleep well and enjoy the day!
(KC) What would you say has been the greatest gift you received last year?
(LP) Learning to let go of some of the things I thought were important in the past and learning to grab on to new benchmarks of happiness and satisfaction. Oh, and also I got a great new purse, a little gift to myself!
(KC) Honey-------- I am ALL about the purse! Do tell!
(LP) Oh-- the purse! I got this huge Charles David patent leather satchel, I mean it is giant. But I love it. I call it my child, because it is almost the size of a toddler LOL!
(KC) Like I’ve said before, you’re not only living my life but you’re carrying my purse! ACK!
(KC) I think I know the answer to this because of your crazy busy schedule but are you a holiday gift knitter?
(LP) Not this year -- I've been running around busy and nutty, so there will be no handmade gifts this year. My parents are probably breathing a sigh of relief.
(KC) That made me smile! My ex-mother in law used to screw up her nose in that way that made me think she smelled something bad and it was ME when I gave her a handmade gift. She was totally unappreciative so from then on she only got the stuff that didn’t come from the heart. That showed her!
(KC) Since you aren’t creating wonders this year, what are you gifting this year?
(LP) Can't tell you! Can't spoil the surprise!
(KC) Well, that’s no fun! But okay………….
(KC) How will you be celebrating the holidays this year?
(LP) This year I'll be with my grandma. I plan to eat many things with cheese on them.
(KC) And if I know you, we will hear all about it on your blog. I can’t wait, the cheese category is largely under-appreciated!
(KC) Do you have a favorite holiday recipe you would be willing to share?
There's a recipe for my Oma's chocolate cake from my website –
Oma's Chocolate Cake Recipe
(This is transcribed from my family's recipe, so I hope it makes sense! Oma is the German word for grandma. We are a nickname family, so even the grandma gets a nickname. ya'll know.)
Mix the following ingredients together, bring to a boil, then set aside to cool:
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
1 stick butter
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
Add this to the mixture you already boiled up. Mix well. Bake in a greased cake pan at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, melt together:
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
6 tablespoons buttermilk
Then, add 1 box powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beat with mixer. Poke a few holes in the cake with the thin handle of a wooden spoon. Ice cake while hot.
(KC) I am definitely going to have to make that chocolate cake, no doubt about it. I mean, let’s be serious, there is a half a cup of shortening and a stick of butter in that cake? How bad can it be? And you add chocolate! Yum! I walk 6 miles a day, maybe if I walk 6 plus about a zillion I can take that cake with me into the sewing room and have my way with it! I’m not kidding. Really.
(KC) We’ve talked about how super busy you are Laurie. There must be some great tips for maximizing knitting time during the holidays?
(LP) I am the wrong person to ask about that! My solution to all time challenges is to sleep less...
(KC) Bummer! I keep hoping that someone has the million dollar solution. I also give up sleep. I’m down to -2 hours a night, heck—that can’t go on forever you know!
(KC) What things do you do just for yourself in this crazy busy time of the year?
(LP) Drink excellent champagne!
(KC) Is there anything special on your needles that you're knitting just for yourself? Something wonderful that will set us all into a knitting of sheep following frenzy?
(LP) Right now I am knitting these legwarmers that I thought were a good idea until I started actually knitting them and now... not so much. I thought they would be funny but now they're kind of scary, in a not-funny way.
(KC) I completely understand. They sound sort of like the leggings (From the Elizabeth Zimmerman group on Yahoo started by Kelley Petkun) I thought would never end. Loved the yarn, love EZ, the leggings? Or nethergarments as EZ called them………. Man, those suckers just went on FOREVER! Nothing felt better than having them done.
(KC) My favorite question this holiday season is this: With a very special knitting friend in mind, think of the perfect gift you'd like to give this year. If cost were no object, what would you choose?
(LP) Perfect gift for a knitting friend -- a pretty swift and ball winder. Are those expensive? I've never shopped for them so I have no idea.
(KC) I know that I would love a swift and ball winder, even an ugly one! I use the Dirter Method you know! (Described on my blog in the tools section). So, how about if you are a bit budget minded?
(LP)A good budget gift would be a cat. Hee!
(KC) If I were to tell you that I knew Santa quite well and could ask him to tuck anything in the sleigh and bring you this year, what in the world would it be?????
(LP) George Clooney, in a tuxedo.
(KC) I can see the headlines now! Clooney kidnapped by Claus!
(KC) You have knitters from all over the world who consider themselves fans of yours from your blog, and/or your book. Would you have any holiday greetings you'd like me to pass along for you? I’d be happy to!
(LP) Mostly I just want to tell folks how grateful I am for this whole year, the craziest and most amazing year of my life! It's been fun to feel like my readers are on the road with me, folks have been unbelievably kind about the book and all that has gone along with it. Also: Peace on earth and peace with cats, especially between Soba and Bob.
(KC) Well said, especially the peace part. It all starts with us you know.
(KC) When the holidays 2007 are all but a memory, and every bit has been wrung out of them, will you be relaxing and enjoying a bit?
(LP) I'll be at work, I'm working straight through the holidays. No relaxing for me until 2008...
(KC) Bummer! Sort of good news, bad news.
(KC) Finally Laurie, what is your favorite thing in the world to knit?
(LP) Hats. I love a good old-fashioned hat!
(KC) Me too! I have been joking on the blog and knitting friends that I’m on some sort of hat-a-thon this year. It started with travel knitting and it has gone on from there! When I sit down and think, I only have 12 projects cast on my needles and spread out around the house! What in the world could I possibly dig through the stash and cast on for a good old fashioned mindless holiday knit------------ it has been a hat. A hat, a cap a cloche, all hats, all fun, all the time!
Thanks so much Laurie! I really appreciated getting to spend a bit of time with you even via the Internet. Al Gore was right, it’s a magical thing! Now, what I really want to know is who in the world should play you in the movie?
One more hat is off the needles and sitting in the growing pile of holiday gifts. Yay! It is the black/white/gray that was in the photo with the beautiful bride from yesterday. When I started decreasing on the dpn's, I went down a needle size and worked that little area in garter vs. stockinette. Kind of a fun little detail with absolutely no added effort, I'm all about that right now! While watching Tivo'ed television (doggone writers strike), I cast on for a scarf to match one of the hats, boring on one hand and a good very mindless knit on the other.
And on to the big happy dance----- work is getting under control! Is there nothing in the world that feels better than getting on top of that segment of your life? Hard work does indeed pay off! It makes me think that there just might be a Santa after all! :)
Late last night my partner made a request, a simple request as it turned out. Could I make Rice Krispie Treats? Hey, I can do that! I went to the grocery store yesterday because the refrigerator and pantry were bare to the walls and I happened to have a bag of marshmallows and a box of Rice Krispies. Treats made, happy partner. If all of holiday baking were as simple as Rice Krispie Treats the season would be a heckuva lot easier, yes?
For everyone celebrating Hanukah this holiday season, I send you the very warmest greetings on this the first day of Hanukah! Last year one of our dear friends and her family, who are incidentally Jewish, came to visit during the holidays. Our home was uber decked out because we'd been on the Holiday House Tour and I didn't want her to feel just "Christmassed Out". I made her a little 'tree' for the guest room using some small glittery ornaments in blue, green and silver, and on my Bernina embroidery sewing machine I stitched out some dreidels in various sizes on felt backing---- too cute!
The holidays (and life in general if you ask me) are all about the LOVE! I send lots of that to all of the Blitters around the world!