Needle felting has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years — the popular craft involves a pile of fluffy stuff known as felting wool being poked into various shapes with a needle. Many people make animal figures from this wool as it is easy to create a furry look.
But Stowaway Toys doesn’t just make figures – they’re whimsical creations of pure joy. These little critters are made of felted wool and we’re obsessed with them all. The creatures come at a much-needed time in the world, when pandemic stress is at an all-time high.
Textile artist Nastasya Shulyak from Moscow creates felt friends that look like they came straight from a magical forest. Textile artists have been weaving sweet creations for a while, but Nastasya’s sweet enchanted community takes the cake.
Think smiling miniature trees and rounded root vegetables with leaves sticking out of the root. The artist calls them “little lumps of joy” and we think that’s a perfectly appropriate name for them. Some of the creatures are recognizable, while others look like hybrids or even figments of the artist’s imagination.
With needle felting, you can create your own furry friends at home, but it will take a lot of practice before you reach the level of expertise Shuliak has reached. Don’t worry – every story starts somewhere. Nastasya started when she received a package of wool from a friend.
From it she made a rabbit and a bear before her creativity took the creations to new heights. Once these creations were completed, she couldn’t put down the wool and the needle! Today, Nastasya hosts workshops on how to create these amazing toys. That’s all the motivation we need!
They make wonderful gifts that are much more unique (and cheaper) than any felt toys you can find at a toy store or craft market. Whether you prefer sprouts or one of the animals concocted from the artist’s brain, they make cute windowsill artwork for adults and kids alike.
The cutest thing about all these animals are their little inquisitive smiles and curious eyes. They want to get to know us and we want to get to know them. Nastasya says that she does not claim that her works are works of art (although we would disagree) and that is not their purpose. Their goal is to bring us happiness, which they 100% do.
She doesn’t sell too many items, with more creatures on display on her IG than for sale on the Etsy site. Recent looks we love include a felt donkey side by side with a deer, a “spruce cone” and a cute, sitting wolf.
Many of her creations sell out in seconds, and with postal service slower than ever, we’ll continue to get our joy from Nastasya’s photos, even though holding one of her little cuties in our hands would make us ecstatic.
Even customer reviews of her items bring a smile to our faces. Many users say they are “beautifully made” and “a work of art” with incredible craftsmanship. One buyer notes that it “adds a much-needed touch of whimsy to my home.”
Sometimes the artist will include images of herself so we can see the master behind the work. She seems to prefer quiet and introspective moments of reflection. Maybe she’s just always inventing new creatures to join her enchanted kingdom!
These woolly animals are made mostly in neutral colors and can be combined to create a scene with each other or stand alone. You might get them as a gift for your kids to play with, but in the end, you’ll be playing with them! This is another goal of the artist – she believes that her toys bring out the inner child in adults, and we could all use a little of that childhood magic that we lost years ago.
To create your own felt structures, you need a bundle of wool, a needle, and a needlepoint technique to create a solid form of fluff. You can add wool and joints to fuse them together, maybe add wire to get more stability. Buy several colors of wool roving, needles, a handle and scissors – ideally they will be in a set.