Night Circus Knitting

You would think that a whole week in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do except knit, read, dog-walk and think would have led to enormous progress on my projects.  But the enormity of the Kex Blanket is only just beginning to dawn on me.  I will be lucky to finish the first quarter segment this week.  But that’s OK!  It was meant to be a long-term investment knit, and so it will be.

Today, I hit the point in my book where I had to give up everything else and just read. 

The Old Inn, Carbost

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is not my sort of book.  And I resisted its charms for many many pages.  I was only reading it because it inspired the colourway of my Skein Queen sock yarn:  “Man in a Grey Suit”.  And I have been pleasantly challenged by the previous inspiration books in the Skein Queen club series – none I would have chosen for myself, but all inviting total immersion.

There is something here with which to indulge all your senses.  I started off a little cynical and wry, muttering to myself that it was a jarful of sub-standard Harry Potter jelly beans.  That it was written to be a computer game.  That it was too flowery in its descriptions, too manipulative of its plot, too obvious.

But somewhere along the way, I stepped onto the circus train and wrapped the symbolic red scarf of the reveur around my neck.  OK, you win Erin Morgenstern, I enjoyed your book!

Does it require a belief in magic to be sucked into this dream-world?  Perhaps so, and that is something my logical self struggles with.  But the theatricality of it all, the construction of scenes and illusions and symbols and stories – yes, I respond to that very readily.

Real ale and real coffee – at last!

If there was one aspect of the book which I would pick out as unique, it is the olfactory element.  EH? Olfactory: the smells.  (There are some great words in this book:  FL is taken with “cartomancy” which he chooses to interpret as “the magic of maps”.)  I am currently obsessed by the handmade soaps of Future Primitive.  I don’t “do” perfume, but the multi-layered fragrances of these soaps have caught my imagination.  In The Night Circus, there is a tent where the scents of memories are bottled in tiny phials, bottles and jars:  uncork one and find yourself by the seashore, sitting high up in an apple-tree, eating popcorn by a bonfire (not all at once!).  That is the experience I am having with these soaps.  I ought to write to the maker and suggest she reads The Night Circus!  Maybe I will!

This morning, I showered with a sample bar of “Ethereal Seas” and suffused the whole house with a smell that is fresh and clean and clear-headed and energetic.  My breakfast mug of hibiscus, angelica and ginger tea was sipped and inhaled as I picked up my reading from where I left it last night.

Loch Harport:  did the Romans come here?  Discuss.

And now?  Now I have finished the novel, but it is still with me in many ways.  I am hatching a plan to knit a red scarf, that secret sign of a follower of  Le Cirque des Reves.  If you have read the book, I am thinking of this as Bailey’s scarf.  It won’t be for me.  It’s a man’s scarf.  I’ll put it away in the gifting pile once it’s done. FL isn’t interested in a scarf.

Plaid scarf from Knit Now Issue 19

What will I read next?  Well… I picked up a copy of Handmade Soap in a charity shop in Portree yesterday for 50p… and a copy of A Good Yarn for another 50p.  Sadly, the handful of sewing patterns were not similarly priced – gold dust, clearly!