Thursday, March 07, 2013

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!


Pennie said...

Handmade soap is a great book, I used to have it but it has been missed place somewhere in a house move...if I remember rightly its the one with the CTG/Lush bath bomb recipe at the back

Your sock is looking great

Pennie said...

oops, just spotted the "missed" typo...

acharmofmagpies said...

Now I'm tempted to go and read the book. You know, it wouldn't have occurred to me that smell is missing from a lot of books, but it is. Hmm, something to ponder if I ever pick up pen again. I do love me some good smells.

Sew little time said...

I'm going to have to get this book onyour recommendation. I have been tempted by it before but I'll go for it this time! Love the scarf!

Mary in TN said...

Handmade soap is great...and I loved "A Good Yarn". Enjoy!

Mary in TN said...

Handmade soap is great...and I loved "A Good Yarn". Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

You will LOVE 'A Good Yarn'. It is the first in a series.

Lorna A said...

I am searching out a copy of The Night Circus as I type. I love the sound of all that magic. Talking of olfactory books have you ever read Perfume: The Story of a Murderer? I really enjoyed it, far better than the film they made.

I love the look of that scarf, although I'm not sure most men would wear that colour. ;-)

starryfishathome said...

I loved the Night Circus,I'm a sucker for Fantasy books. The cover is wonderful as well. A red scarf sounds a lovely idea.

Laura said...

I'd seen the Night Circus recommended elsewhere, and it sounded just my kind of thing. I love those sort of 'beyond real' books. I think they're adapting it for a film, which is where I came across the reference...

I made soap for Christmas parcels this year, and it really was astonishingly easy. The blog 'Offbeat and Inspired' has lots of recipes, and a superb beginners guide that I mostly used. My problem was that I didn't have 3 weeks for it to cure, so I half-cured it in the oven, then left it for a fortnight, which seems to have worked - I used a silicone cake 'tin' as my mould so that I could oven bake it! I got my supplies from Boots and Wilkinsons, so it was pretty cheap to do as well. Even my mother - who suffers from eczema and so has used nothing but Coal Tar soap for her whole life - absolutely loves it and has demanded more!

er. Maybe I should write this up in my blog rather than yours, eh? ;)

Thanks for the app link, btw! I've bought it and plan to start on Monday, assuming my cold dies down by then xx