Six Weeks of Solitude: Comforts and Frights

A sneak preview of my current project. I am test-knitting a pattern for Old Maiden Aunt and I'm quite excited about a new technique I've just picked up. The Six Weeks of Silence idea seemed particularly attractive this morning after waking up abruptly at 5am because of a neighbour getting ready for work and then being kept awake by builders dragging debris down the communal stairs. I was lying in bed dreaming of that little cottage on Skye: no neds fighting in the street, no taxis honking their horns at 3am, no alarm clocks, no thumping bass-lines.. the idea was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I was almost ready to give up internet access, live-in partner and chai lattes. Almost.

Six more books for the Isle of Skye:

  1. James Robertson: The Testament of Gideon Mack: I have already read this book, but that is why I know it'd make a perfect companion for weeks of solitude (although it might just freak me out too).  A (Scottish) book about faith, imagination and how to define reality and truth.
  2. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner: If Gideon Mack with its strange opaque view of reality is on my list, I should also have the book to which it owes a great deal. A good university friend was a dedicated Hogg fan. I hope to catch up. I also like books that play off one another.
  3. Rodge Glass: Alasdair Gray - A Secretary's Biography: And to round off this small selection of Scottish literature, a book I suspect Father Christmas might give me this year. A biography of one of my favourite authors written in a positively Boswellian manner. And it's all taking place just down the road from my current dwellings. I suspect hermit life on Skye will make me long for the colourful Glasgow West End.
  4. Virginia Woolf: Flush: Some light reading is required, of course. Like most pale, sensitive and female literature graduates, I like Virginia Woolf far too much. I also happen to like dogs (which reminds me: this puppy cam is teh crack) and Woolf has penned a little "biography" of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker-spaniel. When the winds really start getting to me on Skye, I will want to curl up with this book about dogs, poetry and Victorian passions.
  5. Michael Chabon: The Yiddish Policemen's Union: Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay was such a pleasant surprise to me. I had anticipated inflated self-importance in the vein of Dave Eggers or Jonathan Safran Foer or maybe even painful so-called 'literary' writing like Jonathan Frazen or Jeffrey Eugenides (you can tell I have issues with male contemporary American writers) - but Chabon proved an utter delight and I am looking forward to being delighted once more. The Yiddish Policemen's Union even has a character based upon an internet friend of mine which is slightly intriguing too.
  6. Rose Tremain: Music and Silence: A book not chosen for its title but because of its historical setting in my native Denmark. Another book which has been languishing on my shelves for too long and a book where the historical context is so familiar that I look forward to seeing a foreigner's take. Okay, and maybe a tiny bit to do with "silence".

And then the knitting. I wrote yesterday that I had two projects in mind which was not strictly true. I always have a gazillion possible projects running through my head and I spend much time thinking about yarns and pattern combinations. For six weeks of solitude I could easily have chosen half a dozen projects, but the idea is to limit myself.  Six weeks without noise or distractions could easily mean 'difficult patterns which require concentration and dilligence' but my head does not work like that.

The first project would be Kate Gilbert's Union Square Market Pullover in my beloved DROPS Alpaca. I'd use a warm chocolate brown as the main colour and a deep turquoise (or maybe a deliciously brash magenta) as the contrast colour. The choice of pattern is simple: it calls for miles and miles of mindless stocking stitch on 3.25mm needles. I don't think anything short of being marooned on a remote Scottish island for six weeks could ever make me knit that pullover (and yet I love its elegance and simplicity).

Final part tomorrow. Hopefully I will also have a finished knitted object to show you.