Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Baby chicks

I'm planning to make barnyard wall hangings for the two littlest ones in our extended family.  I first attempted this project last Christmas for my nephew, who is a few months older than Astrin.  The project was inspired from Creative Play for your Baby, which is an extremely rare find I happened to track down in our provincial library system.

One of the barnyard animals I made last year was a pom-pom baby chick.  It was constructed simply by making two pom-poms out of yellow yarn and sewing them together.  I discovered, however, that this wasn't the most sturdy chick for a soon-to-be toddler.  This year, I set out to find another way to create a sturdy, yet natural and lovable (and recognizable) baby chick.  I think this year's attempt is a winner too, as everyone I flashed it in front of could identify it as a bird of some kind (some said "canary", others said a "chick", and Astrin herself called it a "hen").  Here's a quick tutorial:

Materials needed:
  • Yellow wool rovings
  • Large bowl with dishwashing soap and warm water
  • Felting needle
  • Sponge
  • Optional:  black or blue wool rovings (for eyes) 
How to do it:

1.  To make the body:
  • Take a handful of the yellow wool rovings and wrap it tightly into ball form
  • Dip the wool ball into the bowl with dishwashing soap and water
  • Roll the wet wool ball in your hands, applying gentle but steady pressure.  Think of the action you use to roll play dough into a ball.  As the wool ball cools, dip it in the water and continue to roll it until a ball forms to your desired firmness.
  • Wrap additional wool around the ball, if necessary, to achieve the proper size.  Something about the size of a ping-pong ball is good.
  • Let the ball dry (likely overnight)
  • You could likely needle-felt the body, I just chose to go with what I knew for my first attempt!
2.  To make the head:
  • Take a slightly smaller handful of yellow wool rovings and wrap it tightly into ball form
  • Select where the head will be placed and start to needle-felt the head into place, starting with the neck.  Use the sponge as a base for your work, so that you can pierce through the head and not damage the counter-top or table underneath.  Experiment with using different angles when using your felting needle.
  • One the head is attached, needle felt around the rest of the head to shape it more and make it firmer.
  • Select where the beak will be.  Place the beak position against the sponge and concentrate your needle-felting on this spot.  Consider felting on both sides, as well as the top and bottom of the beak, to give it further definition.
  • Optional:  Take a very small amount of black or blue wool rovings and wrap them tightly into a ball.  Put the ball into the eye position and needle-felt the ball in place.
3.  To make the tail:
  • Take a small handful of yellow wool rovings and wrap it into a tight ball, square or triangle - either of these will work.
  • Select where the tail will be placed and start to needle-felt the tail into place, similar to how you attached the head to the body.
  • Use different angles with both the needle and the tail on the sponge to create a pointed tail.

And you're done!

No comments:

Post a Comment