Soft Sculpture Bird: Rainbow Crow

Atfer I finished my Reginald entry, I decided to try another pattern from Abby Glassenberg’s ‘The Artful Bird’ from which I had previously made the soft sculpture swan. I am leaning towards making more lifelike birds in the future, so I chose the Crow pattern to get me started


I have a bit of black felt in my stash, but since this was only my first attempt, I wasn’t keen on using up the good felt until I got it right. I have quite a bit of coloured felt scraps, so I googled ‘colored crow’ on the off chance something might pop up and to inspire me and came across this beautiful story of a Native Indian legend of the Rainbow Crow.

You can read the full story beautifully told here, but in essence the story goes…

“The story of the Rainbow Crow is a Lenape legend, symbolizing the value of selflessness and service. After a long period of cold weather, the animals of the community become worried. They decide to send a messenger to the Great Sky Spirit to ask for relief.

The Rainbow Crow, the most beautifully feathered bird, offers to make the arduous journey. He travels safely, and is rewarded by the Great Spirit with the gift of fire. He carries the gift in his beak back to his people, but he is not the same bird upon his return. The fire has scorched his plumage black, with only hints of his previous color, and his voice has been made rough and hoarse by the smoke.

His sacrifice is commemorated through his iridescent feather that hint of his previous color that reflect when sun light strikes them and the fact that he is never hunted and will always remain free.’        – Wikipedia

For some reason I didn’t take too many ‘work-in-progess’ pictures, but here you can see how it came together.

The multi-coloured detail of the Rainbow Crow.

The multi-coloured detail of the Rainbow Crow.


I love how colourful and bright it turned out, but felt was much harder to work with than I imagined and even the better quality felt pilled a bit. The embroidery was all off the cuff, so some of it is just a big mess! But I suppose that is the point of a first go, to figure it all out – I just have trouble letting go on the expectation that it should all come out perfectly. :/

But overall I am happy with this little fella!

Rainbow Crow

Rainbow Crow


1. Work on the legs. This ones a a little bit wobbly and a bit short too I think (the tail hits the ground and scrunches up a bit)

2. I did a half embroidery on once side, and a full head of embroidery on the other. I think the full head is a little too much, so need to hold back and think about it more next time before starting. And maybe actually learn some embroidery techniques instead of just winging it!

3. The felt still pilled a bit which I do not like. Too much handling I think, so might try a different material next time like linen.

4. While I like this bird, I am disappointed in the amount of detail I could achieve. There is so many fine, intricate patterns on feathers that really make them so fascinating and I didn’t achieve that with the Rainbow Crow.

But over all, it was fun to make a bird that stood on its own. And to have another go at gussets! (making more sense – yay!) And I love the story behind it, which gives him more value than just his looks 😛


Do you get inspired by legends and fairy tales?

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