The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie
The Raven

Throughout the night the Raven shed tears which turned into black stones and covered the body of her friend until nothing more of her could be seen. By the time the pale morning sun had crept into the sky the Raven had shed her last stoney tear, and her feathers — and those of all her descendants — had taken on the colours of midnight.

And from that day to this she has lived on the edges of the lands of men, watchfully keeping her distance while diligently collecting their stories and lore. My kinfolk talk of fios a fiteach — the wisdom of the Raven — and there is truth in this, for she keeps the knowledge of men alive in her boundless memory long after their spirits have taken the dark and mysterious pathways beyond the realm of day.

The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie
The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie
The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie
It seemed right to begin Glamourie with the wild creatures I share my croft with, and so I found myself devising methods to convey the blue-black bristling throat feathers in knitting. Perhaps, subconsciously, I wanted to begin with something that was connected to some form of communication. From there I went on to build the upper body, beginning from the centre back vertical panel and working shapes to form the back. Once I had made the core I set to thinking of how I would convey the plumage.
 
Watching ravens diligently preening is a lesson in identifying all the different components of their plumage: the primary and secondary wing feathers; the outer and central tail feathers; the upper-tail coverts; the median wing coverts; the chest feathers; all engineered with absolute precision. I created shapes that would convey the complexity of their plumage and along with this I wanted the construction to allow a sense of motion so that both the air and the movement of the wearer would echo the shapes cast by the bird when flying and in repose. So it became all about knitting individual feather shapes and then knitting them together into the silhouette. This was a major task and after I completed the costume I calculated that I had cast on a total of 17,963 stitches. I felt satisfied that I had honoured the ravens by working as hard and diligently as they always do themselves.
 
Alice Starmore
The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie
The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie
The Raven costume by Alice Starmore from the book Glamourie