I'm Toni Lipsey, the Designer and Instructor behind TL Yarn Crafts. I strive to inspire and educate makers by producing high quality video workshops and beginner friendly crochet patterns. I am most known for my presence on Instagram and YouTube, where I've cultivated an audience of nearly 60,000 creatives.
What makes you stand out in the maker community?
I stand out in the maker community because I am unapologetically myself. I am a 5'11" delightfully squishy black girl from Detroit who loves to crochet. You don't find that often. I'm loud, I have an opinion about everything, I overuse emojis, and I'm fiercely protective of my friends, both online and offline. I don't tolerate the words "I can't", and I'll turn on the tough love in a snap. I want everyone I interact with to be their best selves, and I support them in that endeavor however I can. Yarn is my medium, but this is my voice. And I have A LOT to say.
Tell us about your work and the projects you are currently working on.
Since quitting my day job to run TL Yarn Crafts full time in October 2017, the diversity of my portfolio has expanded immensely. Right now, I am focused on working with some of my favorite brands in my niche to bring new and unique ideas to my audience. I get to experiment with new yarns and design crochet patterns that my audience recreates using their own perspective. Some of my current projects include creating educational video content for the longest running craft publishing company in America, partnering in crochet kit production with a popular yarn company, and facilitating live crochet-along activities with independent yarn dyers.
Who is your favorite contemporary artist or maker?
TBH, it's Beyonce. For all of the obvious reasons. But on top of that, I'm most inspired by her drive. She has been working on her craft non stop for nearly 20 years. She looks past trends and what everyone says is possible and paves her own way. I look to be all those things in my niche. I've shed all of the stereotypes about crochet and crafts and made it something I can be proud of as a 32 year old African American woman. I love what I do and I'll do it to my greatest ability for as long as I possibly can.
What inspired you to become a maker?
You guessed it - my mom. My mom, aka Miss Gwen, taught me to crochet when I was 13 years old. I took to it because I was bored at the time but didn't really appreciate it until later in life, especially now that I do it full time. I'm so grateful this is now something she and I can share. We've gone to yarn conferences together, fantasized about opening a yarn store, and ooo'd and ahhh'd over some of the most gorgeous skeins of yarn. She's my greatest cheerleader and a constant source of inspiration. My mother was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and arthritis some years back, so she has to take it easy now. But one of my favorite past times is binge watching the ID channel at her house, knitting and crocheting together until our coffee gets cold.