I always love sharing my spinning knowledge with you all, but today I want to share some of the sources that helped me gain this knowledge—before the days of YouTube!
A big resource in my spinning journey has been my spinning library. I have bookshelves with piles of books about spinning, and I was thinking—heaven forbid this should ever happen—If I were to wake up and my bookshelf had magically disappeared, what books would I immediately run out and replace?
So, I’ve curated a list of five (plus one) spinning books that I can’t live without because they are essential, and I still use them to this day.
One note is that some of these books are out of print and difficult to find, while some of these books are still in print. So, I will have affiliate links below if that’s the only option you have for purchasing or if you need a reference link to find the information on the books. Of course, I always appreciate your support, but I also want to make sure we spread that love and support our local bookstores and libraries too!
I use some affiliate links. They will always be clearly marked, and you are never obligated to use them. If you make a purchase through the affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!
So, without further ado, let’s get into the five spinning books (plus one) that I can’t live without.
Watch the full video about these books on YouTube or keep reading below!
Book 1: Handspinning: Art and Technique by Allen Fannin
Book number one is Handspinning: Art and Technique by Allen Fannin. Allen Fannin was a weaver and a spinner.
This book is one of the first books that I ever got for my spinning journey. It was published in 1970 and is all black and white, which I find fascinating. The black and white pictures give some interesting detail on the yarn that is sometimes hard to notice in full-color, high-gloss photos. Also, the depth of technical information in this book is just amazing. He was a true master of his craft.
Alan does have a very distinct writing style. I personally enjoy the language and interesting vocabulary words but it can be a bit verbose at times. If you are someone who struggles to read dense, heavily worded text and you just want the information, this may not be the book for you.
Book 2: The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn by Judith MacKenzie
The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn by Judith MacKenzie is another nostalgic book for me. It is one of the books that I used when I was learning to spin.
This book focuses on intentional spinning, meaning getting the yarn exactly how you want it for different projects.
It also covers different fiber types, spinning history, sources of fibers, spinning techniques, projects, and more.
I really appreciated this book because it has beginner-level content as well as intermediate-level content, so you can get a lot of use out of this book as you progress in your spinning journey.
I wanted to mention this book was published by Interweave Press, which declared bankruptcy in 2019 and different parts of them were sold off. So, it seems like some of their titles have been purchased and are still in print, but some titles are in limbo, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with them.
So, it’s kind of a tragedy when we have such a great library of books that are suddenly no longer printed and are now difficult to find. If you’re having trouble finding titles like this one, you can check your local thrift stores.
Book 3: Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool by Abby Franquemont
Another book that I absolutely love and can’t live without is Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool by Abby Franquemont.
Abby’s book is an absolute wealth of spindle spinning knowledge. It has information about so many different styles of spindles with great images and techniques. It is truly a fantastic resource if you are interested in spindle spinning at all.
Abby is amazing — I love all of her work! If you want to see more from Abby, I had her on my YouTube Channel where we talked all about working with alpaca and modern spinning equipment.
Book 4: The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning
This next book is a beast—The Aldon Amos Big Book of Handspinning. It really is a big book!
It contains so much technical information about spinning yarn but also about the equipment used. For example, this book has the technical specs on spinning wheel ratios and tension systems and wheel direction, so woodworkers could use this book as a resource for making spinning wheels.
However, this book does warrant a fair warning: Reading this book is kind of like sitting on a porch rocker with a grandfather who knows a lot of information and you really want to listen to his stories, but he is also very opinionated, so you’re kind of like, “Okay Grandpa,” *eye roll*
So, absorb as much information as you can from this book, but also take it with a grain of salt!
I should note that this is another Interweave Press book, so I am not sure if it’s currently in print or not. Be aware that sometimes resellers will try to charge something like $200 for it because it is a high-demand, out-of-print book. But please, don’t spend $200 on this!
If you have information about how to find this book and whether or not it is currently in print, please share in the comments below.
Book 5: The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson
My book number five is The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson. I get so much information from this book!
Sarah’s book takes all different possible yarn designs and breaks them down into different plies, twist directions, textures, etc. She discusses core yarns, crepe yarns, cabled yarns, bouclés, and more. There is so much technical information in here and it is an awesome resource for learning about the construction of all different types of yarns.
When I want to sit down and spin something fun or try a new technique, I can just open this book anytime, flip through, and find something I find inspiring and interesting to try.
Bonus Book: Yarn-i-tec-ture by Jillian Moreno
Another absolute must-have spinning book in my personal library is Yarn-i-tec-ture by Jillian Moreno. This book is a knitter’s guide to spinning. It helps you build exactly the yarn you want for your project.
If you are a knitter and you want to spin your yarn for knitting, I highly recommend this book. It’s fantastic and will show you how to be very intentional with your yarn so you get the yarn that you really want for your project.
Conclusion: 5 Spinning Books I Will Always Have on My Shelf
So, those are the five (plus one) spinning books that I would immediately replace in my library were my library to tragically vanish. But let’s hope that never happens!
While there are some books in this list that focus on beginner-level stuff that I’ve outgrown, I still reference these books constantly and find their information infinitely helpful — so I hope they’ll be helpful to you too!
Another book that I couldn’t live without is The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson. I’ve already talked about how much I love this book in a previous blog post, so I didn’t want to repeat myself here.
What are some of your favorite spinning books? I’d love to hear about them, so let me know in the comments below!
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If you are interested in private virtual spinning lessons, you can send me an e-mail at [email protected].