Meet TL Yarn Crafts, aka Toni Lipsey, the happy influencer behind the new Happy Place yarn. We asked her about her love of crochet and her urge to create. She even shared her top three tips with us!
If you love simple crochet patterns that are easy to understand and also enjoy stylish yet practical designs, then I’m sure you’ve already crocheted one of TL Yarn Crafts’ designs.
Toni, the designer, director, and writer behind TL Yarn Crafts, is known for her warm and playful approach to crochet. She started a crochet blog back in 2013, and since then, her crochet journey has skyrocketed.
Today, she is known for her easy-to-follow crochet patterns for makers of all skill levels as well as sharing her knowledge, experience and favourite products freely on YouTube and Instagram. She is a huge inspiration to many - crocheters, knitters, and all kinds of creative souls alike.
We sat down and had a chat with Toni - here’s what we talked about 👇
1. Can you tell us about the story behind TL Yarn Crafts?
“Before there was TL Yarn Crafts, there was a bored, unemployed college graduate looking for something to do. I’d just left college, gotten married, and moved to a new city. I needed a hobby to work on between applying for jobs. I went to the craft store and ended up in the yarn aisle and it felt like coming home.
I gifted my wares to friends and family until they politely asked me to stop. Then I took my show on the road – I did craft shows for nearly 5 years, as well as teaching crochet at my local yarn store. TL Yarn Crafts became an official business when I started selling patterns to the items I made for my craft booth.“
2. Why are you drawn to crochet?
“Crochet has become a therapy for me. It’s a chance to express my creativity, experiment with new ideas, and connect with my maker community. When I’m in the zone with my crochet projects, I can be there for hours. I let my mind wander, allowing me to come up with fun ideas for my personal and professional life.
And, when I take my crochet out into the wild, I connect with some of the most amazing people. We tell each other about our projects and passion for crochet, and it usually helps facilitate even deeper conversations.”
👆 Tip number 1 from Toni.
3. What is the secret behind the popularity of your crochet universe?
“I wish I knew! I think it might be how I express my unapologetic love for crochet and how it’s changed my life.
The more I talk to people, the more I realize how parallel our lives are. Each of us has a crochet origin story, and we continue to explore every nook and cranny of the craft. I’ve chosen to document the good, bad, and ugly of my experience.
Besides that, I love to teach this craft, and I am grateful to reach so many aspiring makers. Being a resource for beginners is an immense pleasure for me.”
4. What characterizes designs from TL Yarn Crafts?
“TLYC designs are thoughtful, simple, and approachable. I have several favorite stitches and techniques that I return to time after time (linen stitch, Tunisian crochet, granny squares), but I always try to add in something unexpected. Perhaps it’s a color palette, a shaping technique, or textured element. My patterns are approachable but I always want to challenge the maker a bit.”
👆 Tip number 2 from Toni.
5. Where do you seek inspiration for patterns?
“I prefer to venture outside of the maker community to inspire my designs. I subscribe to fashion, architecture, and culture magazines to stay on top of trends. I browse platforms like TikTok and YouTube to see what creators in different niches get excited about to see how I can play with new ideas within the maker community. I also have a massive backlog of design ideas that I like to dip into when the time is right.”
6. What does your design process look like?
“Any project is going to start with the inspiration. Sometimes that’s a project idea, and sometimes it’s the yarn itself. I like to let the yarn do the talking – allow it to tell me what it wants to be.
I make lots of swatches and jot down notes about the design elements I want to incorporate. I’m terrible at sketching, but I typically have an idea of how I want the finished piece to turn out. From there, I write out as much of the pattern as I can before I start stitching.
From there, I am making and I’ll tweak the pattern as I go along. Once I reach the final stages, I refine my notes to make sure I’ll understand them by the time I write the pattern. The whole process can take as little as 3 days and as much as 3 months.“
7. Do you have any favorite crochet techniques?
“Absolutely! I’m a fiend for Tunisian crochet – that one will never go out of style for me. I also go ga-ga over anything granny squares or granny stripes. I also enjoy playing with color in my pieces, so color blocking and stripes are a go-to.”
👆 Tip number 3 from Toni.
8. What is your experience with Tunisian crochet?
“Tunisian crochet was a complete surprise to me. I’d never heard of it before 2017. I ran into a woman demonstrating it at Vogue Knit Live and fell in love. I immediately went home to learn more about it but there wasn’t much out there.
I started a YouTube Channel to share what I knew about the technique and was delighted to see other folks take to it. Now, Tunisian crochet seems to be a staple in the crochet toolkit.
What makes it so special is how different it is from traditional crochet as well as knitting. It’s a different motion and creates different fabric, encouraging crocheters to try all of its variations.”
9. What is your best tip for crafters wanting to try out Tunisian crochet?
“My best tip is to just go for it. Don’t overthink it. If you have any knitting or crochet experience, Tunisian crochet will likely be a breeze for you. It uses a lot of the same movements and logic of other yarn arts, so it’s not like starting at square one.”
10. Tell us about Happy Place
“Happy Place is a versatile and inviting yarn meant to transport you to your ideal stitching paradise. It’s made of a delightfully soft 50/50 blend of superwash merino wool and cotton, two natural fibers that play incredibly well together in a myriad of projects and seasons.
It’s machine washable and comes in 20 diverse shades so it’s easy to make palettes for all stitching personalities. Each shade offers a solid version and a complimentary melange – change the mood of your projects by using all solid, all melange, or combine the two for an unexpected delight.”
Are you ready to find your Happy Place?
Check out the stunning yarns here:
And take a look at the 8 patterns Toni designed for Happy Place.