For Caroline Worrell her love of making can be tracked back to learning crochet from her grandmother, but like so many others, her need to crochet started in college as a way of coping with stress. She is hoping to pass on some of her stress reducing skills and more, this fall when Fancy Tiger Crafts will be offering two of her courses, Intro to Natural Dyes and Crochet Garment Design 101.
“I come from a family of women who do crochet, tatting, knitting, sewing - so growing up I predominantly spent my time with my mom’s mom and she taught me everything I know about crochet,” says Worrell. “When I went away to college I needed more and more stress relieving tasks. I took a fiber arts class, didn’t know that was a thing, and became hooked from there.”
Worrell attended Appalachian State College where she got her BFA in Fiber Arts and was introduced to her passion - natural dying. Surrounded by nature, she was inspired to experiment with the many plants, including lichens, that she discovered made beautiful colors and were right in her backyard and surroundings.
She moved to Colorado and initially was working at a loom building company while she explored how to build off of her passion for fiber arts and desire to teach the things she loves the most. “I am always that friend that has a million crafts so if people are asking ‘You wanna do something fun?’ I am always that person that says ‘You guys wanna craft?’”
She knew she was onto something when she started getting compliments from people about her clothes. When she told people the beautiful colors they loved in her garments were avocado pits, she noticed a spark. It is no surprise that her first Natural Dyes class at Fancy Tiger Crafts sold out and another one had to be added.
Collecting natural materials and mixing it with other properties to get a desired color really became a focus of interest and she embraced ingredients that were already occurring in her kitchen, such as onion skins.
“I was definitely not a math or science kid at all but being able to experiment with different ingredients was great,” says Worrell. “I will be teaching people about immersion dying and encouraging students to bring in items and try out a few techniques. It will just be a matter of learning about setting up your bath, how to prep your fibers and after care for your fibers.”
When it comes to her garment making, Worrell says she has always been very influenced by fashion. “I love to make garments and I really love process, which is how I got into dying my own yarn. I really love to make garments and see people wearing my clothing. That really inspires me.”
"Caroline Worrell Fibers is just my entity to put out the things that I love,” said Worrell. “ It started with my small batch, original pieces and has grown into a business where I dye all of my own yarn.” She hopes to launch a yarn subscription service soon.
She is inspired by intuitive making and making things up as you go along. Worrell hopes to share about aspects of making in her Crochet Garment Design 101 class and plans to guide students through creating a unique and original sweater vest design. She admits she is not always inspired by conventional and rigid rules to making and loves the idea of sharing with students a new creative process.
“For me I want the class to be for people to think differently about making garments outside of a conventional pattern sense, because for me for a really long time, that was an inhibitor for me making wearable garments,” says Worrell. “I felt that ‘I don’t know how to measure things, I don’t know how to design clothing.’ I really just started looking at pieces of clothing that I liked and mimicking those shapes and not always in a linear form. Like picking abstract shapes and filling in the gaps and seeing how that creates a piece. I just kind of want people to realize if your piece isn’t perfect, it’s just making that first piece that is what gets people thinking differently about it. And that’s empowering!”
Worrell swears that crochet quiets the mind, has repetitive motions that can create an inner peace and allows reflection that has allowed her to stay connected to the women in her family. She also strongly believes crochet is an easy craft that is approachable for all ages and is eager to share it with others. She will also be offering a Zoom link to students so that they can stay connected each week in between the three sessions. She wants to make sure she is available to help students if they get stuck.
Worrell just hopes she can share all the joys of crochet and introduce students to her love of pastel colors and her muted style that tends towards the whimsical.