Student gets buyers hooked on crocheted animals and plushies

An emerald green dinosaur, a pink baby cow and squishy plush octopus await passersby,  hoping to find a new home. Every Wednesday, a menagerie of stuffed animals and toys populates the tall circular booths in the Montview Student Union by the Starbucks food court. These adorable stuffed creatures are the creations of Lauren Sherlin, a sophomore at Liberty. 

Sherlin recently started her small business, Yarn Ball Animals, out of a passion for crocheting, and she has been crocheting for over 10 years. Though she originally focused on crocheting clothing and apparel, her focus has recently switched to making stuffed toys for her two nieces, both toddlers. 

Sherlin said that it was both fun and satisfying to create little toys. She listed a stuffed billy goat as her favorite creation, saying that it was fun to make even though it was not very intricate. 

“I love to create things and to do intricate things,” Sherlin said. “I knew there was a market for stuffed toys and thought I would give it a try doing what I love to do. I would crochet even if I didn’t sell anything.”

Sherlin first learned to crochet with her mother when she was 8 years old. They took a class together, and she remembers it as doing something fun with her mother. 

It soon became a core family memory for Sherlin and is now associated with many fond family memories. She and her mother would crochet together during the winter, especially around Christmas time. She recalls her father reading stories out loud to their family of seven as she and her mother wound and wove yarn into special Christmas gifts. 

Sherlin, who represents her business on Instagram (@yarnballanimals_), also takes custom orders – animals with size or color variations. Among her creations are soft, round whales, plush mushrooms and rotund little octopi. Sherlin has also recently begun making keychains.

Sherlin will create her Yarn Ball Animals and other items on request.

“The most interesting item I have been commissioned to make (was) a birthday cake with misshapen eyes and a huge mouth on the front,” Sherlin said.

For Sherlin, the sky is the limit when it comes to stuffed toys. She can be reached at @yarnballanimals on Instagram for more information or found at the Montview Student Union Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Gift is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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