I find the idea of six weeks alone in the middle of nowhere very tempting, but I think I’d had to not take my knitting - for me it would be less about silence, and more about not ‘keeping busy’ all the time.
When I originally thought about spending six weeks on my own, I worked out how many books I could read in six weeks, then trimmed the number as to leave me some spare time and still wound up with eighteen books. Anna reminded me of the intention behind spending six weeks on a windy island. It is not to glance at pages (however tempting) but to glance inwards.
So we will leave the number at twelve (first list, second list) plus one: Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I remember when the US Army captured Saddam Hussein and news reports claimed that Hussein had been stashing Dostoyevsky novels in his underground chambers. My old mentor and I were enjoying coffee in central Copenhagen just after the news broke and I still remember my mentor drily saying he hoped Notes from the Underground had been one.
Six weeks of solitude. Thirteen books. A chance to centre myself. Should I bring knitting? Absolutely. Knitting can be very meditative - particular if I am knitting miles and miles of stocking stitch (as I would with my first project). Stocking stitch is not the only type of knitting that relaxes my body and focuses my mind. Lace knitting can be frustrating at its worst, but at its best I drift into a strange realm of "k1, YO, k2tog, YO.." which feels as good as any Aum.
My second knitting project would be lace. Evelyn C. Clarke's Forget-Me-Not Lace Shawl hits all the right marks, especially when I imagine it knitted up in Old Maiden Aunt alpaca/silk/cashmere in a deep forest green. Hours and hours of pleasure - and much introspection too. Knitting is good for the soul.
On that little note, I'm leaving my imagined island cottage. Time to face the busy streets of Glasgow.