I am really glad to take part in this LoveCrafts competition. It made me sat and reflect on the ups and downs, the trials and errors that has made me come this far in my craft journey, to be grateful for everything.
My name is Sulaimon Toyyibah. I am the creative designer behind Toyslab Creations. I am a wife and a mum of three.
How It All Started
I learnt to crochet from a friend as a fun activity after school examination while waiting for results when I was twelve years old.
My mum had just given birth to her last child. My first crochet item was a small bag that could take about three notebooks which I carried everywhere I went. The joy that it was made by me knew no bounds. So after the bag, I asked my friend to teach me how to make a hat which she did and then I made my baby sister a cozy earflap hat which my mum really appreciated.
After that session, my friend left our school, so I just crochet once in a while. I make items that I need like phone pouch, bags etc.
Fast forward to seven years later when I was in the University, I saw someone use the knitting machine and instantly I was hooked. I have always wondered how our school cardigan was made. I learnt to use the knitting machine from her and made all kind of items like hats, bonnets, cardigans, sweaters, tops, shorts, pants etc
Taking It A Bit Further
Four years ago (2017), I decided to learn more about crochet, I started with appliques to decorated my knitted baby dresses and skirts as I did more of machine knitting at the time. The items were mostly gifts. I just made them because I realize anytime I make a new item whether machine knitted or crochet, I realize the joy I felt knew no bounds. It was out of this world, words can’t properly describe how I felt, the thought of me creating beautiful and useful items with my hand and a few supplies, indeed the joy of being creative is uniquely soul lifting. So although I worked full time at the time, I made sure I machine knit or crochet all weekend long.
So, in 2018 I decided to publish my first pattern (a baby skirt) it was machine knitted, I was an inexperienced designer but I gave it a shot. I never sold a copy of it but I didn’t give up. In 2019, I released another pattern and this time I sold just one copy.
March 2020 came and lockdown was enforced. I was home with my husband, 2 kids and my unborn baby. Then I decided to market my pattern. Yeah, the one I sold just one copy and then I sold two more, I realized my dream is valid if only I could believe in myself.
I designed another pattern, my first crochet pattern, I published it and sold over 20 copies in 24 hours. I was wowed. I have made about fifty patterns since then. My dream to make a living through my craft is indeed valid.
How I Express Myself Through Craft
I express myself through simplicity. I love to make my crochet patterns more fun and simplified. Although I can crochet booties in the round, I realized a percentage of crotchetier can’t. So I designed different types of babies booties and adult slippers worked in rows, numbering in total almost 2 dozens patterns.
I express myself through wearables. I love to make all kinds of baby and adult items. From booties to hats to romper to tops etc. if it isn’t wearable, it will take me forever to finish. I find my strength in crochet wearables.
I express myself through uniqueness, apart from making booties in a unique way, I derive inspiration from my environment, mostly from peoples’ fashion sense, fashion that I don’t see much of it in crochet. I sketch and sketch until I get it right and at the end a lot of people love the final patterns.
I express myself through uniqueness, apart from making booties in a unique way, I derive inspiration from my environment, mostly from peoples’ fashion sense, fashion that I don’t see much of it in crochet.
I have learnt that talent and passion is important in crafting, however I need to continuously work on myself and my skill, learn and unlearn to reach the peak of my dream.