Watch our Yarniversity crochet video tutorials on Youtube

Simply Crochet Yarniversity

Today we’ve launched our Yarniversity Youtube video series, presented by crochet designer Lou Barnes. You can check it out here. So far it includes tutorials on slip knots, chain stitch, and half trebles, with more to come soon.

And get to know Lou a little better in our chat:

How did you learn to love crochet?

I actually started out as a knitter! I have always had a huge love for crafts in general, but when I fell pregnant with my daughter I felt compelled to teach myself to knit so that I could make her a little blanket. I remember finding a pattern that involved a crochet edge and spent several frustrated hours giving myself a headache over diagrams and illustrations of various crochet techniques. It was at that point that I decided that crochet was FAR too difficult for me and I didn’t touch a hook again for another 2 years! 

I received a very cute amigurumi pattern book as a gift a few Christmases ago and was desperate to make the little zombie plush inside it, so I sat myself down in front of YouTube tutorial videos and forced myself to learn. I was amazed at how comfortable it felt and how quickly I could make things and, within a couple of hours, I was… for want of a better word… hooked. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t touch my knitting needles again after that!

Where do you find inspiration?

As simple as it might sound, lot of my inspiration simply comes from the yarn that I buy. I spend far too much time and money in craft stores, squidging and cooing, and on indie dye Etsy shops and I really do fall in love with different types of yarns and l love picturing what each skein could become. I let the colours and gradients and textures make the decisions for me!

I also love the idea of inanimate objects that we see and interact with every day having their own little stories and names and personalities. Each of my makes ends up with a name and a complex back story with likes and dislikes, experiences and various traits that I’ve noticed in friends, family and people I meet out in the world. I love coming up with characters that I think will really resonate with a customer and seeing people say “This one is just like me!!”

Flat Stanley Lou Barnes YarniversityAny crafty confessions?

I actually taught myself to crochet so that I could make a gift for a boy (I say boy… he was 26 at the time! Haha!) that I very much wanted to smooch. I know… it doesn’t scream ‘GIRL POWER’ at all, does it? The little plush zombie I mentioned before was something that I thought he would love, as he was a big fan of zombies, so I set about learning in order to try and win him over with my crafty thoughtfulness. What a smooth operator I was!

It clearly worked, as we celebrated our third anniversary in June and I’m currently in the middle of making something else for him… a baby!

Tell us about your favourite make or biggest crochet triumph?

My biggest crochet triumph was the first time that I wrote my own amigurumi pattern from scratch. There was something amazingly freeing about being able to create whatever I wanted without needing to trawl the the internet looking for a suitable pattern. It was actually something that happened really organically. Whilst working from other makers patterns I really started to get a feel for how the various stitches and sequences affected the shape of what I was making, and I had a bit of a lightbulb moment where all of those things just fell into place in my head.

I set about experimenting with shapes and ended up creating my very first amigurumi doll without a pattern – his name was Peter and he was an adorable seal pup in a fancy blue scarf. He was adopted by a lovely customer of mine, but I do wish that I had kept him so that I could look back on the little guy that started it all!

Where can our readers find you online? 

I can be found in a number of places! My main social media outlet is Facebook but I also use Instagram from time to time and have a happy, shiny Etsy store full of goodies and adoptables!

Lou Barnes Yarniversity