An Accidental Army of Chickadees

An Accidental Army of Chickadees

It’s been another busy week heading into the September long weekend. We are back again in Oakville which should have been about 5.5 hours drive from Ottawa. Instead, the traffic was heavy and slow. (we saw unsuccessful car sex in three locations, once involving multiple vehicles! I told my car not to look as we drove past “avert your headlights!!” I was driving so I didn’t get any naughty car pictures to show you.) we are traveling because two of my brothers-in-law will be there. One departing and another arriving.

This past week I have been continuing the fleece washing. I had a strainer basket of wool ready to put out on the drying rack on Friday morning but restrained myself (since the weather is sentient and has a poor sense of humour, it would rain if I left it out to dry. It’s the long weekend.  We don’t want it to rain!

1) the last of ram #2 soaking.

2) don’t tempt the weather by putting out fleece to dry.

we also cleared the path to the back of the garage from errantly growing raspberry canes. this will make it a bit easier to finish raccoon-proofing the garage.

3) the extracted errant raspberry

My other quest for the week was to make presents for my brothers-in-law. There Are 5 brothers, and I have made one for brother number 4 and one for Glenn’s Mom last trip. So four more to go! I have tried variations on the theme and so far I am pleased with them.

The reason i am making a small invasion or maybe an infestation, of chickadees is they remind me both of my parents cottage and also of my in-laws home in Oakville. His brothers have been taking turns staying with his mom and i had hoped the chickadees would bring them good thoughts of Oakville and watching the birds and squirrel fight over the bird feeders (they are not squirrel feeders so we know is in the wrong in that war!) We were down this time as brother #3 was leaving and brother # 2 was arriving. We hope to see brother #1 before we leave.

4 & 4.1) Mega-Chickadee (Arnold) with his in-progress smaller cousin (for brother #4)

I had wanted to tell you about the first two I made. I had brought the wrong thread with me, pant mending thread not eye attaching thread (really they’re totally different thread!), when I was making the first two guys so devised a way to attach eye without the thread. This would not be strong enough if your creature was to be played with but if it’s just sitting around the eyes are secure and won’t fall off. (how embarrassing to have eye drop sounds terrible)

Without appropriate thread, I needed a way to get the bead (I had brought small black glass seed beads) to sit in the location I had wanted and to stay in place.

I used the felting needle to work some of the wool through the bead, arranging it so that there were wisps on both sides of the bead.

5) bead and a bit of fibre

5.1) Bead with a small amount of fibre through the centre

6) both eyes ready to attach

I chose the spot and used the awl and felting needle to make a dent in the felt head. good thing the little guys seem a bit soft in the brain, more room to inset half an eye bead.

7) using the awl

8) marking the other side and checking it’s in the correct location.

9) making the hole a bit deeper with the felting needle

First try; I found it was not as secure with a finer amount of fibre and need to have more added to it. With a bit more added lateral to each eye, the attachment was a success.

10) first one done, on to the next armature.

Second try; This time I tried using more fibre. (as much as would fit through the opening in the bead seemed the correct amount.)

I continued to work with wisps of colour to give a chickadee a bit of suggestion of feathers.

Once I had the little guy to my liking it was time to trim off some of the fuzzy halo. As I mentioned in a previous post the core wool from World of Wool has a bit of kemp which occasionally sticks out at an odd spot. The Corriedale is also showing a bit of halo which is more noticeable where the black is adjacent to the white. I used the scissors carefully removing the fuzzy bits of wool.

11) Hair cutting started.

12) a good trim

13) Two handsome chickadees ready for their new homes.

the Chickadees were given to their new owners before we departed back to Ottawa. Both were surprised and seemed happy with their new pets.

The next step is to make a few more. Unfortunately, I was working in front of the computer and had been distracted from my audiobooks by impending Hurricane Ida. I got so distracted with the Horrors of the storm I lost track of the number of armatures I was making, 4 or was it 5 more. Looking away from the nightmare water and wind event on the computer I realized I am overrun by chickadee armatures. There seem to be 6 of them now staring at me! I have a production line of leg wrapping ahead of me! That’s 36 toes to practice on! I seem to be making a small flock of chickadees!

14) 26ga steel toes wrapped around 20ga steel floral wire armature (both wires are coated so the steel is not exposed)

15) all lined up with legs and beaks done, still have to try toes with wax. (the fleece i chose has some lanolin left in it after washing and has a lot of very fine crimp)

16) now with a bit more body

the eyes for the last two worked well out so well I used the same technique again.

17) supervision!!!

17.1) time to add the second eye

18) one of the two I have finished and brought with us to give to brothers #2 and #3 this weekend.

19) here he is in a jaunty pose before retiring to his travel facility complete with bagged lunch for his travel pleasure.

20) upon our arrival here in Oakville, we found that Glenn’s mom’s bird had discovered the bole of nuts on the coffee table!! He seems to be very happy in his new home but is reluctant to let the rest of us nibble on the nuts. I may have to leave some sunflower seeds for him too!!

I have been doing variations on wing attachments, separate wings, wings constructed on the body, separate wired wings,  wing tips added to built-in wings….. who know what else I will try?

I promise I will do something other than chickadees in the near future! Have fun and keep felting

22 thoughts on “An Accidental Army of Chickadees

  1. Love the birds Jan, you’re getting really expert at the “time and motion”, doing them all one step at a time, even when distracted.
    I wonder if curved needlework scissors might be an idea for the fluff cutting? I find that if I’m not careful with straight ones I dig the points in, or cut too close and cause a wound. I must find mine.
    Looking forward to seeing the flock finished.
    Ida was dreadful, some of the pictures of the damage and flooding we’ve seen over here (UK) have been really frightening. I think that we are just beginning to see the effect Ida is having on our weather, but nothing at all compared to what’s going on on your side of the pond. Stay safe
    Ann

    1. thanks Ann!
      i wound up with a production line for makeing the armatures and underbodys. but have finished them one at a time from there. mekeing multiples was Much faster than doing each one start to finish and them do the next. it gave me a lot of tow wrapping experience. the fleece i was using i had washed in not hot water and let it soak longer so it was cleen but still had a bit of the lanolin left in its tiny crimp. it is much easyer to wrap with than ether the coriadale or Merino top or even roving or a stiped batt. i think the lanolin is acting a bit like the use of wax to give a little more grip. the supper fine crimp is also helping. i flick combed than drafted a vary thin sliver and also tryed the hand carders with hand drafting. both worked so i supect its that fiber that is giving the easy wrapping. i will have to watch for more at the wool growers co-op once i can go shop in person again.

      i think its more the middle of the sizors and the tip i have been useing. i take my glasses off so i can see the errent hairs and kemp and try to cut just at the levle of the serface. your cureved sizors sound like a good idea. i have seen curved bladed sizors in the beauty section but egnored them.i have no idea what they are for. (when i was younger and the other girls were getting interested in makeup, i was climbing trees and catching frogs, snakes and turtles. i could not see how makeup would help my hunting skills. well duh. i wasnt hunting boys, i still liked anphibians, reptiles and Dinosors but i never did find any dinosores….maybe the makeup would have helped after all.) ok i will go check out the make up section and then see if there are embrodery sizors with curved blades too!

      ida was a horrific storm, i am an hour north of the canadian border which is a reaonable distance to be from it but it was still tarrifiying to watch it intesify in strengh while being in no rush to move once it hit land (tourist driver, slowing down to look at all the sights). watching it stay a cat-4 for so long you knew the chances for masive damage was incresed. i just kept watching. i realy am not fond of water so i felt kind of glued to make shure it didnt do an improbible move north and maintain that intensity. mesuring chickadees wire body parts was keeping me from pacing and feeling impending doom. (good thing i dont live farther south where its more likely i would actualy see one in person). i felt tarrable for the people who had to stay for work or could not leave and all the livestock and pets who hopeuly had left. i hope that is it for hurracains but there will be more developing hopefully thay will loose interest and fizzle out befor they get close to any land.

      Stay driy and i hope the remnents of Ida dont mess up your good weather! have fun felting!

    1. it was horrifying to watch this far north of it it must have been so much worse than just Horrifying to be closer. 2 nights ago we had the biggest thunder storm i can remember seeing. it was south of Ottawa and part of it went over Ann. there was a lot of horizontal lightning as well as the usual downword stikes. Ann said thay got Heavy rain with it, we got some rain but it was the light show that kept me from sleeping 11:30pm to about 2am. the internet has been flakey since then but seems better this moring. the Birds have been a lot of fun they are makeing me think of little diosoars! maybe that was why i wound up with an ice dragon!

    1. THankyou! thay were such fun to make! they would make vary nice xmass tree oriments….. maybe i should make a few more? there great practice on tiny toes and carefull wrapping. Have fun and keep felting!!

  2. Hi Jan, I really enjoyed seeing and hearing about your wonderful flock of Chickadees. I love birds, we don’t have Chickadees here in New Zealand but lots of other sorts. I think you have really captured that little bird look and stance so perfectly. Something I am thankful we don’t have much of is Hurricanes, that all looked very scary and such damage. Take care, stay safe.

    1. Thanks Jane! I am shure you have another cheeky bird that yells at you if the bird feeder gets low! New Zealand sounds like a wonderfull place, even better if you dont have many Hurricanes. Ann and I are far enuff north that we only get the varey end bits of those suthern storms, its usualy more thay push warm air from the south and it hits the cool air in our north and then we get a much smaller storm. we have had a few tornatos in my life time but thay are usualy over 10 years apart. and one 2 bigish ones. but thats enuff thay can stop now. if we can ever travel one of the places i would like to see, if i ever leave the North American continent would be New Zealand (Greenland, Iceland, England and Scandinavia would also be goals!) Have fun and Keep felting!!

    1. Thanks yes getting the gauge of wire rite makes them lots of fun to pose! i am looking out for curved sizors. i may try the second hand stores to see if i can find a good quoality pair there.

    1. Thanks thay were not to hard to make and having accidently made so many armatures (6 are gifts and now done, i have 2 partly finished that i misscounted and a few more armatures partly done to help me remember how i made them) i suspect a workshop or suddy group in my future! then there realy will be an army of chickadees!

  3. What a lovely gift – a family of chickadees for the family! Each bird having it’s own character.
    You’ve certainly had a production line going keeping you busy whilst watching scary weather moving north. I’m glad you weren’t affected by it.

    1. So far the Chickadees seem to be finding interesting spots in there new homes. my Grandnece (ooh that means im a great ant!?!) has been helping one of the chichadees have adventures and moving it around Brother #1’s house! i am vary pleased thay have liked them.

    1. Thankyou! while i was sitting out side last summer working on the Mer Family and pets, i was visited by a few of teh local chichadees. thay would sit on the wire fence by the covered area i took over as my outdoor studio and would yell at me if the feeders were getting low on sunflower seeds. thay would fly through right in front of my face or just over my head take a seed from the feeder than off thay would go or thay would stop and crack it open and eat it there. they were a lot of fun to watch. thay had this way of turning there head and looking out of the corner of there eye at you. “well fill up the feeder, your just sitting there! what kind of lazy survent are you?”

    1. Thaks yes i did wind up with 2 more than i had intended! they are a great way to practice wrapping tiny toes! i am starting to think thay would look good on a christmass tree. there may be more little birds in my future!

    1. Thanks! i think they have taken there interst in modleing from the real life chickadees! they are such fun to pose!

  4. Jan, when you first mentioned Chickadees, all I could think about was W.C. Fields catchphrase – I didn’t realise they were actual birds! lol. These little guys have come alive in your posts and I am sure that all the lucky recipients will be delighted with their gifts. such personalities! love them!

    (p.s. also had to check out what ‘car sex’ was in case it meant something different to what it means here)

    1. thanks!! i have one left to deliver this weekend and i am shure it too will be apresiated. Chickadees are little in size but big in persnality!

      Im not shure where the fraze “car sex” came from but it dose discribe things that cars should not do in public. espeshaly if the unwanted amerous intrest involes trucks.

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