I started with the crest, which I thought would be an interesting experiment in just how well my Hebridean yarn would felt, as the crest had to be tall, curved and vertical on top of the head. I thought I would worry later about how well anything so tall would stand up in a place like Lewis, where hats regularly blow right off heads. I made a simple sleeveless top with a lightly curved hemline for the chest and a feathered neckpiece to evoke the lapwing’s underside colours. The jacket was constructed to echo the shape when its wings are closed, with a tail worked side-to-side which I felted very lightly then folded to form loose pleats while it was still wet. I then decorated the jacket with knitted and felted flowers, stems and leaves and touches of purple embroidery.
Jade and I greatly admire the intricate and ingenious costume designs of our lovely model Rachael Forbes, and so I sent her a picture of the finished costume – whereupon she designed and made the wonderful and suitably exotic skirt to complement my efforts. The photography day proved fair and the crest stood up well in a very light breeze. Rara avis indeed.