Dark Raven Collar hand knitting design from Glamourie by Alice Starmore
Raven Collar

I made this collar exactly as I have given in the instructions in the book Glamourie for the Raven Poncho collar and neckband. The only instructional difference is that there is no joining round with the poncho body. Instead, the neckband is worked directly after the neckband edging is joined to the feathered collar. Click here to see the Glamourie book which contains the collar instructions.

I wanted the overall appearance to echo a raven’s iridescence – dark, but with flashes of blues, purples and greens. I didn’t want to be formal in the way I used the colours and so, having selected the contrast shades, I outlined each feather by casting on and working the first row or two in whatever contrast took my fancy at the time. For the most part, I worked the rest of each feather in Selkie 2 Ply and I used Selkie 3 Ply for the neckband. I also added an occasional feather worked entirely in Kelpie as a nod to the original costume. I used darker shades of contrast for the first layer and used lighter shades towards the top layer. When joining up each layer I mixed them around almost randomly, choosing not to put two feathers of the same colour next to each other. Browse our Hebridean 2 & 3 Ply ranges to choose your own colours.

Dark Raven Collar hand knitting design from Glamourie by Alice Starmore
Dark Raven Collar hand knitting design from Glamourie by Alice Starmore

This is a very straightforward variation on the poncho collar so there is no need to work out any additional instructions. It makes a quietly dramatic statement, either worn with a dress for an evening out or to keep you cosy in the winter with a jacket or coat. Make it even more dramatic by adding a first layer of longer feathers as I did for the Red Raven Collar and by making the neckband higher by working more repeats of the ridged pattern. If you want to add more drama to the elegance of the poncho then you can work it with a collar just like this one. And of course, you can ring eternal changes by working it in any colour palette that suits you.

Red Raven Collar hand knitting design from Glamourie by Alice Starmore

I wanted the Red Raven collar to set hearts on fire and our model Lucy certainly stopped the traffic as she stepped out in the Fife town of Crail wearing her Red Raven collar and matching dress.

Since fire was my theme I made Red Rattle and Sea Anemone my core colours. Then I added warm shades of Sundew, Mountain Hare, and Red Deer to the palette. Other than having Sea Anemone and Red Rattle dominate, I determined to use the colours in a truly random fashion, as if I were capturing the flickering of a flaming fire. This was an interesting exercise as I believe humans have a hard time being random. As someone who creates patterns all the time, the urge to organize and make sense is very powerful and happens even at a subconscious level. So in order to be truly random within the scope of my palette, I placed two balls each of Red Rattle and Sea Anemone and one of the other three colours in a container and whichever ball my hand found first got used. I changed the colours within the feathers to different degrees and without any consideration at all. Once I had blocked out the feathers of each layer I stacked them ready for joining in their layers without examining them for colour content. I knew that if I was being truly random I should at least get two feathers the same or very similar side by side and I would have to resist the urge to change them.

Red Raven Collar hand knitting design from Glamourie by Alice Starmore
Red Raven Collar hand knitting design from Glamourie by Alice Starmore

The construction of this collar is exactly like the Raven poncho but I added an extra first layer and made these feathers longer and a little wider by working them over 55 sts and 11 rows. The extra layer adds width and length so that the feathers fall further over the shoulders. I worked the second layer feathers over 43 stitches; the third over 35 sts and the fourth over 29 sts. These last three layers have the same number of rows in the feathers as the poncho and are joined up and knitted with the same number of stitches.

I wanted the neckband to be high and closer to the neck than the Poncho and so I made it in 2 Ply, working back and forth in rows to facilitate a back neck opening that would allow it to go over the head comfortably. I began the neckband by separately working the first 4 rows of the small Eagle Wrap edging pattern and then I joined that to the collar stitches and worked the ridged neckband pattern of 3 Reverse St.St. rows followed by 4 St.St. rows. To follow, I cast on and worked the first 2 rows of the Eagle edging in a contrast colour and knitted it together with the neckband stitches and repeated that until I had the height I desired. I finished the back neck opening with a few rows of garter stitch and made a set of felted buttons to fasten it. You will find instructions for the felted buttons in the Mountain Hare design. Also check the FELTING section here for more information on making felted buttons.