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!

How do you paint with wool?

By Anna Walker
on October 30, 2019
1 comment
How do you paint with wool?

 

What you see in the picture above is the first felt ‘painting’ I created shortly after I discovered felting more than a decade ago. I had been looking for more and more ways to create felt and had come across a couple of felt artists online whose work I greatly admired: Jan Waller and Moy Mackay.


Jan’s work is fun and full of life-often featuring a figure at play or her daughter. I love her vibrant colors and the sense of whimsy evident in her work. I was delighted to meet Jan at a workshop in Wisconsin several years ago, and she is just as fun and whimsical as her work! You can see some of her work here:

Click here to view some of Jan's work

 

Moy is, for me, the goddess of felt painting. Her felt paintings of scenic Scotland where she lives and works are incredible for their detail, shading, and artistic interpretation. Moy’s work has helped to elevate felt to an art form because her approach to felting comes from her training as an artist. I am excited to have booked my tickets to Scotland in February 2020 to take a workshop with Moy in her home studio. Take a look at her work and see if you don’t agree:

Click here to view some of Moy's work

Painting with fiber is all about building up layers of fibers-they blend much like watercolors when you felt them together, either through wet felting (my preference) or needle felting. It is possible to create lovely felt paintings with either technique-you just have to play with the fibers until you discover your voice. Luckily, with a reference picture, and many colors of fiber, you can find yourself creating your first felt painting in a single class, like these students of mine have done:


  

 

The difference between Craft Felt & Wool Felt

By Anna Walker
on October 23, 2019
The difference between Craft Felt & Wool Felt

When I am asked if I use craft felt in any of my classes, I like to let my students know what the differences are between craft felt and wool felt. For starters, craft felt is created with manmade fibers, mostly plastic and synthetic fibers, which have been needled and/or heat processed to cause the fibers to adhere to one another. Wool felt is made primarily or entirely from natural animal fibers, mostly, sheep wool. 


Wool felt is more expensive than craft felt, and for good reason: animals require care and feeding in order to produce their wool over and over again throughout the life of the animal. Most wool producing animals (sheep, alpacas, llamas, etc.) are sheared once or twice a year, to keep the animal comfortable and healthy. Wool is a sustainable resource for this reason. 


When it comes to using a felted base for needle felting, I think that wool felt allows for the addition of fibers to be more cohesive, easier to adhere those additions without distortion, and gives a final feel to the project that feels more complete. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use craft felt as a base-it’s merely a preference of mine, your mileage may vary, as it were.


If you have a chance to play with both craft felt and wool felt for an experiment, I suggest you give it a try so that you can decide for yourself which you prefer. Wool felt can be purchased at a number of places, a couple of my favorites are these:


Weir Crafts

National Nonwoves (on amazon)


*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!

How Felting Works

By Anna Walker
on October 16, 2019
How Felting Works

HOW DOES FELTING WORK?


Felting is the process of connecting fibers to form a non-woven fabric. You can create felt either through the use of barbed felting needles or by using soapy water and friction to encourage the fibers to tangle together.




Needle felting causes the fibers to tangle when they are plunged through wool or other fibers.


Wet felting can only be done with animal fibers which have not been treated with a process called superwash to keep them from felting. You CAN use plant and other fibers sparingly with the wool, alpaca or other animal fibers, but those fibers need to be ‘trapped’ by feltable fibers in order to encapsulate them into your final felt. 



Keep watching stabthingsintoexistence.com for more information as complete video tutorials are posted!

Spine Surgery knocked GenCon OUT!

By Anna Walker
on July 10, 2019
1 comment
Spine Surgery knocked GenCon OUT!

I’ll be launching something cool this fall, and if you want to have access to me for felting classes, tips and tricks, special events, etc., then head over to www.stabthingsintoexistence.com and leave your email address. My friends who give me their emails will be the FIRST in line for this new project, The FELTit Experience. 

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