The last Selkie hid beneath the stones until the men sailed away and the sun disappeared below the horizon. She pulled the knife from her shoulder, cut off her silvery hair, dipped it in salt and bound her wound, healing it instantly. Then she reached toward the shingle and used moonlight to fashion the rounded stones into a strong thick coat to protect herself. The coat was dark and tinged with the colours of sea and storm, and it protected her from blade and sunlight. The knife she kept in her hand as she dived into the sea and called mournfully to the shoals of herring, understanding at last the danger of wood and metal.
Jade’s story of the seal’s coat of stone was at the forefront of my mind when I began to think about the Selkie costume: it had to be strong and powerful and reflect the colour of both seal and its habitat. So I doubled up my 3 Ply Selkie-coloured Hebridean yarn and set to make a coat of stone, both sleek and powerful. I saw the outline as a fitted double-breasted coat with a collar in which one could hide and then suddenly re-appear. The cuffs play a similar role so that the hands can disappear and make the arms seem like flippers. I created dense knotwork patterns for the collar and the cuffs and I lined both with felted, stranded knitting, worked in doubled 2 Ply Hebridean in Mara and Shearwater. The body and centre sleeves feature simple waving cables and I embroidered the body panels in waving lines echoing the weed forests through which the seals weave their splendid sea dances. The buttons are knitted, embroidered and felted and are placed strategically within the waving cables.