One of the best things about the Glamourie project for me was watching the incredible costumes come together. The intricacy, detail and sheer amount of thought and work that went into them was very inspiring. Though there was no time during the making of the book, I decided that once it was finished I wanted to make something wild myself. The obvious choice was the Raven. The hood is not a practical garment to wear, but once Alice started to make collars based around the Raven costume I decided to make a collar using all the Raven hood feathers, to bring all those textures together in something very elaborate, but at the same time wearable.
The garment was inspired by a particular shingle beach at the foot of our croft. While Alice is permanently based in the Hebrides, I divide my time between Glasgow and Lewis. Every time I arrive home I go to this beach and stand in the sea and watch the water wash back and forth over my wellies. It is a very private place and the clear, unpolluted water rolling across the shingle under a big sky has the effect of resetting my mind away from busy city streets which are lined with sandstone tenements and soundtracked with the fast staccato of the “Weegie” accent, which is a sharp contrast to the lilting, drawn-out accent of home.
The colours of the collar were inspired by the shingle, which is toned in soft, subtle greys and fawns until the tide rises, making it transmute into shades of green, gold and red. So the collar base layers start in Spindrift, Pebble Beach and Fulmar, and as the garment grew I added Golden Plover, Corncrake, Sea Ivory, Mountain Hare, Driftwood, Sundew and Whin to echo the colours of the wet shingle.
The shape is inspired by the ravens themselves. We often sit on the shoreline of the beach, which is in our ravens’ territory, and watch them fly back and forth overhead. Their shape in flight, with powerful ragged wings, influenced the layered bristling collar with volume and texture in the shoulders.
The base layer is actually a twin layer of the feathers given in the Raven poncho and cardigan. The first 20 are 91-stitch feathers all in Spindrift. These are picked up, then after one round between, a second layer of 93-stitch feathers (in Spindrift, Fulmar and Pebble Beach) was added with the centres falling between the previous layer. This creates a very full base for the collar which makes, in all honesty, more of a garment that a collar. Three further single layers of 75, 55 and 39-stitch feathers are then added as the collar moves up. The blueprint for the picking up of the feathers is given in the Raven Poncho. This piece is made with more rounds between feathers and a wider starting pick up, but the method is the same. The last of these layers also contains 10 picot chains (which are also used in the Raven hood). These were knitted-in underneath the 5 centre front and back feathers of the last layer, so that they would fall within the pointed feathers, just as in the hood. The instructions for those can be found in the Sea Anemone design under Make Picot Edging.
At the top of the long feathers are 3 layers of the small rounded feathers used to make up the cap of the Raven hood. These can be found in the Raven Cardigan and they make up the hemline edging of that garment. I added an extra decrease to bring the finished feathers down to 1 stitch rather than 3, but otherwise they are identical. These layers are more challenging to join in because there is so much texture in the collar at this point and I wanted them to sit close together like a small ruff. The garment is finished with the studded and textured collar from my Otter design. As can be seen from the picture the final garment blends beautifully with any Scottish shoreline. Click here to see the other Flights of Fancy collars made using the Glamourie book.