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Aho & Namaste,
How To Wrap A Feather
If you’ve found a feather along your path in life and consider it special or sacred in some way, here’s one method of honoring it and keeping it suspended in the air where it belongs. It is always a wonderful practice to begin with a smudging or other cleansing ceremony to prepare both you and the feather. But this article is about actually tying the sacred feather.
Sure, there are dozens of ways to accomplish this, beginning with looping a string around it and hanging it up. But, spiritually speaking, there are other ways of tying it that will honor its existence as a symbol of a messenger that carries our prayers to God. And that is to wrap it in a spiral, just the way the hawks soar as they deliver your prayers.
Here’s a rather fancy method, one of many available. Experiment, and you may find a variation you prefer. I like this one because it allows the formation of a neat spiral without a “rib” running beneath it that thicker lace can cause. If you are using thin lacing, like thread, you won't need to slice the quill, and can simply cover the quill with some glue and wrap one end of the thread around and around it until you come to the end, as shown in the photos below. Then put both ends of the thread through a bead, close the bead up on the quill end, put in a squirt of glue and hold it a minute or so. That's it!
With thicker lacing, though, the following is a good way because one half of the lacing is “buried” in the center of the quill and will not form a "bump" when the feather is finished.
Here’s the way.
What You'll Need
First, in addition to your feather, you’ll need a length of leather lacing (or hemp, strong yarn or anything else you like), a sharp knife or razor blade, a bead and some good general purpose glue. (I prefer to use leather lace and leather glue, shown in this example.) The length of lacing depends on the length of the quill and the diameter of the lacing, but a rough general guideline is to allow four to six inches of lacing per inch of quill. You can use normal string to do a “dry run” and wrap the feather without glue before proceeding, to make sure you know how much lacing you’ll need. Some people prefer to have two ends to tie with once the feather is wrapped, but this requires more lacing. So if you’re budget-minded, you can buy less lacing and have a single end to use. You’ll see what I mean as we progress here.
Choose any sort of bead you like, making sure its hole is just large enough to hold the quill and lacing snugly.
And finally, I’m assuming in this article that you prefer to have a smooth spiral without a rib. In cases where quills can’t be easily sliced and you must put the rib on the outside of the quill, choose a lacing that is rather flat or flexible so that the rib is not so noticeable.
Begin by slicing open the quill just below the lower tuft, as shown (left), down to and including slicing through the tip.
Don't forget! If you are using thin lace, you won't need to slice open the quill. Just proceed to the next steps.
After you are sure you have enough lacing, fold your lacing in half and place the mid-point of it into the top of the slice, as you see here (right). Work the lacing into the opening for the full length of the slice and out the tip.
And if you are using thin lace, simply place the mid-point of the folded lace at the top of bare part of the quill, and allow one section to lay along the quill.
Then squeeze a small amount of glue along the slice (photo left), making sure some of it penetrates into the crevice while also making a visible line along the entire slice to the tip. Then spread a thin layer of glue around the rest of the quill.
If using thin lace and therefore not slicing the quill, simply spread some glue around the quill.
(Ignore the bead in this photo.) Then, begin tightly wrapping the top half of the lacing around and around the quill in a neat spiral (left). Don’t worry if any glue should ooze up, you can wipe it off in a few minutes.
Once your spiral reaches the tip of the quill, hold it tight while working both ends of the lacing through a bead, then slide the bead up to the tip.
Put a daub of glue into the bead and slide it up and over the tip until it seats snugly inside (left). Add another daub of glue on the bottom of the bead if needed. Tie a knot in the lacing and slide it as close to the bead as possible before tightening. (Note: If you’ve chosen the budget saving way, there may not be enough of one end of lacing to tie a knot. Don’t worry! The glue will hold everything together.)
Wipe off any excess glue with a moist cloth and hang up the finished project to dry. Once dry, you can cut off the short end sticking out of the bead if you chose the budget saving method.
You Have Wrapped A Beautiful Feather
To Lift Your Prayers...
And Your Heart.
Tie it on your drum, in a tree or in any high place
in your home or outside.
Aho & Namaste,