TOUGH DECISION

By Anna Walker
on January 22, 2020
TOUGH DECISION

I’ve made a tough decision, one which impacts me in all the feels, but one which I’ve made for the right reasons. 


I will not be attending or teaching at GenCon in Indianapolis this year.


GenCon holds a special place in my business: I truly began my teaching at GenCon many years ago when I first discovered felting. My husband, Randy, who had a rather significant following on Twitter (his favorite form of social media), began talking with his twitterverse about what I had taught myself to do, how he loved my felt paintings, etc., and it attracted the notice of Marian, the organizer of the SPA (spousal) events at GenCon. Marian asked if I would be interested in teaching some needle felting classes since I was coming with Randy (Geek adjacent, I guess), and I jumped in. Those classes, and the ones in following years, helped my hone my skills as a felting facilitator, and are a huge reason that I’ve created this website, www.stabthingsintoexistence.com, and The FELTit Experience. I am forever grateful for the opportunity that GenCon and Marian provided me.


GenCon also holds a very special place in my heart and memories: Randy and I traveled to Indy each year for several years, and would have traveled there in 2016, but we chose to buy a house instead of spending the funds for GenCon. And two months later he died. I traveled to GenCon in 2017 as a pilgrimage, really, to go for him, leaving a little of him behind in Indy, and seeing if I really belonged there without Randy by my side. After all, my geek was no longer with me. I told the story of Randy at each class I led that year, how he had introduced me to this wonderful community of geeky nerds who liked to stab things into existence (the slogan was most definitely born at GenCon), and visited with friends we made during our annual trips. I was assured by the SPA coordinators, and by friends, that I most surely belonged there, if I wanted to continue my annual trek. 


The following year, GenCon was not possible as I had moved across the country, and then my father began declining and I found myself helping my mom for the final month of his life. Daddy’s funeral was on opening day of GenCon 2018.


Then last year, I had scheduled classes, arranged for my oldest son and his family to join me for the travel to GenCon, and ended up recovering from back surgery instead. So I had to cancel classes late in the game, and was watching GenCon from afar.


So, as I have scheduled two big trips for this year (Scotland in less than a month and a Caribbean cruise in June), and am planning four launches for The FELTit Experience, I am going to wish those of you who attend GenCon this year a wonderful con, full of amazing games and classes and workshops, and will keep in touch here, on FB and IG.


As Randy would say, init or what?

NEW YEAR-WHAT DOES 2020 HAVE IN STORE?

By Anna Walker
on January 15, 2020
NEW YEAR-WHAT DOES 2020 HAVE IN STORE?
2020 is a new decade for us all, and for me, we are beginning my sixth decade on earth. After releasing so much this past year (ending toxic relationships, letting go of unmet expectations, blessing and releasing the ‘stuff’ in my life that no longer brings a smile, let alone joy), I am ready to embark on #sassysixty by blooming into what and who I am called to be.

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Cozy Up and Felt with a Bowl Full of this...

By Anna Walker
on January 06, 2020
Cozy Up and Felt with a Bowl Full of this...
I know that particularly in the southern US it is tradition to begin the New Year with a bowl of black-eyed peas, to celebrate frugality, and the perseverance during the Civil War days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some beans, peas, and generally vegetables of all sorts with few exceptions (eggplant, I’m looking at you). But I have never been fond of black-eyed peas. 

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Updates to 2020 Classes - I'm SO excited!

By Anna Walker
on December 15, 2019
Updates to 2020 Classes - I'm SO excited!

JANUARY 2020 CLASSES-UPDATE


We have just confirmed two classes for January 11, 2020 to be held at The Wool Market & DIY School, located at 420 N. Main in Hutchinson, KS:


CREATE A CREATURE (needle felting) CLASS – 11am


Using a picture or photo as your inspiration, learn to use a barbed needle to create a palm size creature of your choice in this beginner friendly needle felting class. All supplies included as well as individual directions to bring your creature to life, real or imagined. At the end of this two hour class you will have a creature completed (or nearly done).



LATTICE SCARF (wet felting) CLASS – 2pm


Using a 4 oz. roving of wool or wool blend (no less than 80% wool, non-superwash) fiber, create an airy lattice scarf and wet felt it into existence with a design as unique as you. This beginner friendly wet felting class includes all supplies needed except for your roving which you can purchase at The Wool Market. Bring along a couple of old towels and/or microfiber towels and dress comfortably (including shoes) as you may get wet during the process and will be standing for a significant amount of the two hour class.

Give the gift of creativity...

By Anna Walker
on December 12, 2019
Give the gift of creativity...

Both classes are beginner friendly and young person friendly, though I would recommend no younger than 8 years of age and able to follow simple instructions to avoid injury from the sharp felting needles. Contact Leaping Llamas Artisan Shop to reserve your spots:


https://www.leapingllamas.com/

 

Classes to be held at The Wool Market & DIY School located at 420 N. Main in Hutchinson, KS are being finalized for mid-January. Stay tuned as details are confirmed.


You will also be able to find me at Winter Woolfest 2020 in Wamego, KS on Saturday, January 26th, where you’ll be able to take a free Mini Masterpiece class from me. Supplies are not included, but kits will be available for $10 that will include a foam base, needle, and an assortment of wools to ‘paint’ with as well as access to a limited fiber bits & stuff bar to supplement your design.


I hope you’ll join me for stabbing things into existence in January. I’ll be sponsoring another giveaway in January as well, so be sure to sign up for the newsletter by entering your email address at www.stabthingsintoexistence.com.


Happy Holidays!!

Come Create with me!

By Anna Walker
on December 12, 2019

I love teaching people how to tap into their creativity... It's so fun to be able to find things around your house to use as tools to help stab things into existence. 

 

Grab a cookie cutter and you can utilize everything from your felting kits! How fun is this little caption bubble we stabbed into existence. 

Felting kits are available now grab yours - they make great gifts too!

 

Where I began

By Anna Walker
on November 27, 2019
Where I began

Some of you have known me from early on in my felting journey, and you have seen my work transform and evolve slowly over the past ten+ years. Some of you only know me from what I’ve been teaching and doing these past several years, as I’ve honed my teaching skills in local workshops, convention classes, and guild events and meetings. 


But I dare say that very few, if any of you, recall my early work, for which I was, at the time, as a self taught felter, very proud. Now some of these make me cringe:



I show you these pictures to encourage you-we all start somewhere. Some of us hit it out of the park straight away, others of us gather all the information and tools we can to learn in our own personal way, etc. And, while much of my early work I wouldn’t pass my test for displaying these days, at the time, I was thrilled to show this ‘new’ art every chance I could.


More than anything else, though, looking back over my early work allows me to see that I WAS PLAYING with the fibers, LEARNING what they would and wouldn’t do for me, DISCOVERING how I could best use particular fibers for a particular use. ALL of these are vital to exploring a new path, and I wouldn’t change a thing about how I learned to felt. 


My hope is that I can help YOU to PLAY, LEARN & DISCOVER what felting can mean to YOUR creative process. What are you hoping for?

My Biggest Fan.

By Anna Walker
on November 20, 2019
2 comments
My Biggest Fan.

The fellow in the picture with me, taken in April 2010 while we were on my birthday trip to Savannah, GA, is Randall “Randy” Walker, my husband. This picture was taken just a couple of years after I had discovered, and immersed myself into felting, and I am amazed that he isn’t rolling his eyes because of my felt “covering every horizontal surface of our home”. But, we were away from home, so maybe that explains his smile!


Randy was my biggest fan, even when the house WAS covered in felt, or fiber was flying, or I asked him to bring a table out to the patio for me to do some wet felting outside in the spring and summer. And, he didn’t fuss too terribly much when, during the winter, he would find our queen size bed completely covered by a tray, and tarp, and towels, where I was wet felting indoors. He especially encouraged me to continue creating ‘felt paintings’, which I am preparing to jump into once again, after a long hiatus from felting.


I’ve not produced much felt art in the past three plus years, well, because of Randy. About three and a half years ago, we started looking for what might be causing Randy to be feeling unwell. He had lost his energy, was losing a little weight, and just didn’t have the stamina for our regular life. When we found out that his younger brother had a blockage of the widowmaker vessel in his heart, we thought maybe Randy had something similar happening, so we began cardiac testing. Nothing was conclusive, and nothing was perfect, so we began looking at other possibilities. 


We were also looking for our first house after having been renters for all of our 24 years of marriage. The process was hard on Randy, and any property with full staircases was quickly deleted from the list. He couldn’t manage them. We found a split foyer home, with only 8 steps upstairs or 7 steps downstairs from the front door, and Randy was sold. We began the house buying process, and though, we were very happy to have found our ‘home’, Randy continued to decline. 


The weekend before we were to close on the house, Randy collapsed at our townhouse filled with boxes ready to move to our house. He spent a few days in the hospital, and the diagnosis was finally given: congestive heart failure (CHF). Not the greatest news, but a condition he could live with as long as we made modifications. He was released from the hospital the night before we met to sign the papers on the house for closing on August 17th. And then, BOOM, it’s time to move across town.


We got moved, it wasn’t easy or pretty, but we got moved, and Randy began to slowly put together his game room-an extra living area where he could run his DnD (Dungeons & Dragons) games. And his health continued to decline, with visits to the ER on a regular basis. 


In September, about a month after we closed on the house, Randy collapsed again, and was once again taken by ambulance to the hospital. The tests they did showed that there might be something causing the CHF. I was talking with him in his hospital room before I was to head out to help a friend with her class, when I noticed that he hadn’t responded to a joke I had told him. I asked Randy if he got the joke, he nodded with a slight smile on his face. I asked him what he thought, and he continued to nod. Something wasn’t right-Randy ALWAYS had something to say. His neurologist was right outside the room, I told him that something was wrong, and when we turned back to the room, Randy tried to smile, only half of his face didn’t move. He had suffered a stroke. The doctors administered the medication to reverse the stroke right away, and within a few hours, Randy was able to speak a few words. At that point, Randy was referred to KU Med Center in Kansas City as it was believed that Randy had an infiltrative disease called amyloidosis: where the body produces an abnormal protein which attached to muscle tissue. The muscle tissue it attacked in Randy was his heart.


The next few weeks were a blur of driving to KC, appointments with doctors, tests, and repeat ER visits. Randy went on short term disability, and I continued to do my best to work, take care of Randy, and get our home put together. We had visits from both my parents and from Randy’s parents, both sets were very happy that Randy and I had finally managed to buy our first house. 


Randy continued to decline, and lose weight. He lost his appetite, and his world got very small. After I helped him shower on October 20th, he broke down and said he just wanted answers, he wanted to know what was happening to him. I held him, tucked him into bed, and prayed for the same. The next morning, about 5am, Randy got up to go to the bathroom. On his way back into the room he collapsed again. I shouted for our boys to call 911, knelt down and asked Randy if he was ok, and he gave me a thumbs up sign. Just after the EMT’s arrived, his heart stopped and they began compressions, which they continued all the way to the hospital. Less than an hour later, Randy died, and my biggest fan was no more.


Today, November 20th, is Randy’s birthday-the fourth I have celebrated without him. And part of my remembrance of this day includes telling part of Randy’s story, and sharing how very blessed I was to have been his wife, his partner, his favorite person to fight with, his princess. My felting journey is greatly in part to Randy’s encouragement. My teaching is completely because of his bragging on me on social media. And my continued felt art will always have Randy’s love of life, love of fun, and love of art infused into it. Randy and I agreed long ago that our life together had #noexpirationdate and I will honor my biggest fan, my loving husband who drove me crazy sometimes, my Sparky, for the rest of my days. 

What you don't know...

By Anna Walker
on November 13, 2019
What you don't know...
Of course there are rules, as there are for any art-don’t use any fibers that have been superwash treated to wet felt is a big one! But I hope that you will give yourself permission to say “what if” and then discover for yourself what the end result will be. And, if you feel you need permission from someone other than yourself, then PERMISSION GRANTED!

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WHERE DO I FIND WOOL TO BEGIN FELTING?

By Anna Walker
on November 06, 2019
WHERE DO I FIND WOOL TO BEGIN FELTING?

I am often asked where to find fibers with which to felt, and the answer is simple-EVERYWHERE! 


First and foremost-look local. Your community extension office or 4H club may have listings for fiber producers in your area, you may find fiber producers at your local farmers market or fiber festivals, and your community, or one nearby, may have a fiber guild. All of these are excellent resources to provide you with local fiber.


Second-look to etsy.com or artfire.com for independent fiber producers. Some of my favorite sellers are the following:


Treasure Goddess is a dear friend, and while her main focus is hand dyed yarns, she does dye fibers as well: 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/treasuregoddess?ref=shop_sugg&section_id=6355782


Robbin Firth of HeartFelt Silks is another friend, and her prefelts, her dyed locks and silk fibers are luscious! She and her husband, Harry, invented the Palm Washboard, and wonderful wet felting tool which I love to use:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/HeartFeltSilks


A quick (or not so quick if you fall down the rabbit hole) search of either etsy or artfire for hand dyed felting fiber will provide you with hours and hours of searching fun! 


Second, part two-felting supply shops:


Living Felt: https://feltingsupplies.livingfelt.com/Felting-Wool-Fiber_c_1.html


The Woolery: https://woolery.com/fiber/protein.html


R H LINDSAY: https://rhlindsaywool.com/


There are many others out there-do a search and you’ll find lots of shops from which to choose.


Finally, there is always amazon.com, and what follows are some of the fiber I’ve purchased:

Needle Felting wool assortment


Undyed wool roving

From Desert Breeze

From Paradise Fibers

 

Dyed wool roving assortments

From Heidifeathers

From Paradise Fibers

From Paradise Fibers

From Paradise Fibers


Carded wool batts-assortments

From Felting Supplies Store

From Desert Breeze

 

Make certain that you purchase NON SUPERWASH animal fibers for wet felting. You can use superwash fibers and other non protein fibers (bamboo, silk, milk, etc.) for needle felting, but be sure that you don’t get the fibers mixed up or you may find a sodden mess of non felting fibers if you try to wet felt.


Above all, have fun felting!

 

*Links in this post may contain affiliate links. I only share things I love with you, but I do receive a small commision if your purchase through my links!