Selkie – Hebridean 3 Ply
Alice Starmore Hebridean 3 Ply Yarn is made from premium quality pure new British wool, dyed in the fleece and skillfully blended into unique shades. It is hand-washed and dried in the Hebridean air, and supplied in hand-made skeins which may vary in weight. It is priced per 50g at standard conditions. All yarn is weighed to order on balances that are checked daily to ensure that you receive the correct total amount.
Selkie is part of the Sea & Shoreline range, which is inspired by the Hebridean coast. It is shown here in the Na Craga design from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting, which is available in our books section.
Selkie is a common Scottish word for a seal of any kind. I am very fond of the animals, from the fat harbour seals of Stornoway to the sleeker variety that spend summer on the rocks at the end of my croft. They are the best of neighbours – interested but not too pushy. My croft runs down to low cliffs and, when I take a walk along them, two or three seals will usually put their heads up and follow me. If I call to them, then several more will come. In season the males will let out long, drifting cries which sound eerie – or worse – if you do not know what is making the noise.
The most common Scottish seal legend – of which different variations exist – is that the Selkie can turn into women and come on shore to dance. The Hebridean version relates that a famous bard and harpist from South Uist was the son of such a sand-dancing Selkie. The bard’s father was a fisherman who had been captivated by the beauty of the seal-woman, and hid her sealskin so she could not return to the waves. The fisherman forced her to be his wife and she gave birth to the bard, to whom she taught songs and strange music. The young bard found his mother’s sealskin hidden in his father’s barn and gave it back to his beloved mother. She returned to the sea, and the bard was often seen talking to seals thereafter, and his music and tales were ever the finest heard.
I wanted a blend that was dark like wet sealskin, but with the glints of colour that come through when the sun strikes their backs. In short, I wanted something that would suit a beautiful seal-woman, hence Selkie.