How to Felt a Wool Hummingbird

Make a lifelike wool hummingbird by dyeing your own wool fibers.

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Materials and Tools:

photographs of hummingbirds (from bird guide books)
pair of wool combs
2 saucepans
water
2 packages of green powdered drink mix
2 packages of red powdered drink mix
white vinegar
2 oz. of washed white Romney wool
small pinch of black wool
handful of iridescent Angelina fiber (sparkly fiber)
small foam pad
felting needle
skewer
2 black beads
black thread
black 1/8" ribbon
sewing needle
warm soapy water
measuring spoons and cups
wooden spoons
towel
wood skewer

Steps:

1. Comb the wool to eliminate any uneven or tangled parts using two wool combs. 

2. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add two packages of green powdered drink mix and one tablespoon of white vinegar.

3. Stir the green mixture and add a handful of white wool.

4. Lower the heat and simmer until all the color is absorbed into the wool.

5. Rinse the colored wool in cold water.

6. Let dry.

7. Repeat the dyeing process (steps 2-6) using red powdered drink mix and white wool.

8. While the tinted wool is drying, take a tiny bit of white wool and begin to from an oval shape for the body and head of the hummingbird. Use your hands, pinching and wrapping the wool around itself. The body, neck and head are all made as one piece. The body should measure approximately 2-1/2 inches long.

9. Sculpt the wool into the body shape with a felting needle. Refer to drawings or photos of hummingbirds for inspiration. 

10. Add dyed green wool to the back of the hummingbird and some on the stomach.

11. Blend a few wisps of red-dyed wool and sparkly fiber together with wool combs or your fingers.

12. Add wisps of this combined colored fiber to the head and throat of the bird with a felting needle. Leave the breast white.

13. Shape green wool into a wing by layering small wisps of wool on top of one another and needle felting into a wing shape. Make two wings. Each wing should measure about 2-inches long.

14. Attach the wings to the body using the felting needle. The wings can be attached so that the hummingbird is flying or at rest. Fold the wool, stretch it and tear it to form the wing shape.

15. Make a tail using green wool in the same way as the wings, shaping it like a fan. The tail should measure about 1-inch long and 2-inches wide.

16. Attach the tail to the body with the felting needle.

17. Wrap black wool several times, about 1-1/2 inch up a skewer, to form the bird's beak. Slip the rolled wool off the skewer and needle it to keep its shape. Keep one end slightly wider and with loose fibers so that you can attach it to the head.

18. Attach the loose end of the beak to the head.

19. Using a little hot, soapy water, dab the beak with your fingertips and gently twist one end for the tip of the beak. Roll the beak gently between your fingertips.

20. Squeeze excess dampness off the beak with a towel.

21. Using a needle and black thread, place one small black bead on the needle and sew it on the side of the hummingbird's head. As the needle comes through the other side, place the other black bead on it and sew to the other side of the head. Stitch back and forth a few times to ensure that the eyes are secure.

22. Smooth the whole piece with hot soapy water and your fingertips or gently smooth the body with a felting needle, poking down any loose fibers.

23. Thread a piece of black 1/8-inch ribbon through a needle and pass it from the bottom of the bird up through the area between the wings. Stitch back down through and tie a knot to secure. Adjust the ribbon to hang the hummingbird.

Laurie Sharp, Suquamish, Wash.
Web site: www.woolpets.com

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