The 5 Books that Taught Me How to Spin Yarn

I’m frequently asked about my favorite spinning books, especially for beginners. There are so many excellent spinning books out there, it was hard for me to choose my favorites. But, as I started to narrow it down, I realized that my favorite beginner books were the books that taught me how to spin yarn! While several of these books are no longer in print, they are available in Kindle format, and of course you can always find them second hand if you are on the look out. So here they are, my top 5 books that taught me how to spin yarn.

#1 Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn by Maggie Casey

This is my favorite book in the list that covers the basics and tells you what you really need to know to get spinning yarn and get your handspun yarn ready for a project. Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn by Maggie Casey is absolutely perfect for beginners. I especially love the sections that discuss plying, and finishing your yarn and how to choose and plan yarn for a specific project by determining yardage and wraps per inch.

#2 Spinning and Dyeing Yarn: The Home Spinner’s Guide to Creating Traditional and Art Yarns by Ashley Martineau

I was already well on my spinning journey when this book was published, but it really introduced me to the DIY aspects of spinning. In Spinning and Dyeing Yarn: The Home Spinner’s Guide to Creating Traditional and Art Yarns by Ashley Martineau you will find great illustrations and instructions for spinning consistent yarns and how to spin a variety of textured yarns. It also has a chapter about dying yarn and creating your own DIY spinning equipment that includs instructions to build a niddy noddy, kick spindle, PVC spinning wheel, and more!

#3 The Intentional Spinner: A Wholistic Approach to Making Yarn by Judith Mackenzie

I really hope that it will be available in print again, but at least it is still available on Kindle. The Intentional Spinner: A Wholistic Approach to Making Yarn by Judith Mackenzie is a treasure of a book. Mackenzie covers different types of fibers, how various yarns are structured, and includes several spinning projects and instruction to spin the yarn you want, intentionally. This book is also sprinkled with historical information about fibers and spinning. Sometimes you can still come across used copies of this one at a reasonable price, so if you do, grab it!

#4 Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool by Abby Franquemont

If you are learning how to spin with a spindle, you need to read Abby Franquemont’s Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool. This is the book I absolutely devoured when I learned how to spin on a drop spindle.

There is information in this book about the many different types of spindles, what kind of spindle to look for as a beginner, explanations of the physics of spinning, and how to choose a spindle that will be the right tool for the yarn you want to create. If you are learning to drop spindle, this is THE book!

I also have a post about spinning with a drop spindle for beginners that you can read here.

#5 The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn by Carol Kroll

This book is more vintage than the others in this list, having been published in 1981, but there is a reason it made this list! The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn by Carol Kroll is the book that many new and experienced spinners swear by. It covers fiber types, their preparation, different types of spinning equipment from spindles to wheels, and the fundamentals of spinning with clear and detailed instructions.

Bonus – Spin Off Magazine

Spin Off Magazine is a resource that I read when I first started spinning…and I haven’t ever stopped! This magazine comes quarterly and not only includes articles covering how to spin, but also personal stories, projects, history, and more! There is always something to learn no matter your experience level. I feel like the articles in each issue of Spin Off have made me a more well rounded spinner, in touch with skills, history, and the spinning community.

Spin Off makes me a more well rounded spinner.

What about YouTube?

There you have it! My list of five books and one bonus resource that taught me how to spin. If you are looking for more video tutorials to learn how to spin, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel. I post a new spinning video every Tuesday! See you there!

Picture of green yarn and the title "The Woolery: Your Fiber Arts Supplier Since 1981!"
Find these books and other spinning recourses at the Woolery, one of my favorite spinning suppliers!

9 thoughts on “The 5 Books that Taught Me How to Spin Yarn

  1. Virginia Glenn

    I found that “The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft” was super helpful. It’s an easy read and every time I pick it up I find something helpful.n He has a great way of making confusing concepts easy to understand.
    PS – I’ve learned so much from your blog and videos. Thanks – Virginia

    1. JillianEve

      Thank you so much Virginia! I love the Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning too. There is so much information there including a really deep understanding of the math of spinning. Plus Amos’ snark makes it really entertaining to read!

      1. Virginia Glenn

        Many years ago – way before I ever thought about spinning, I went with a group of fiber friends from Tahoe (where I live) to visit Alden at his home in Jackson. I had no idea who he was or why he might be famous. All I remember was this bearded guy with a great smile and happy laugh and a carding drum the size of a garage. As I said – I had no idea what that thing did – except that it was something to do with wool and spinning. When I finally learned to spin about 3 years ago, I saw a mention of Alden Amos in a book and remembered the trip and wished I had been more conscious when I had met him.

        1. JillianEve

          He was an amazing, master craftsman! I wish I could have met him too.

  2. Laura Amidon

    A couple years ago I found three books about spinning at Goodwill. Each one cost me about $1.60 each. I have knitted for years. I saw those books and picked them up thinking “someday” I’ll learn to spin. Two of those books were your #1 and #5! I tucked them away for “someday”. Someday came in August when I purchased a huge Target bag of really nice fiber for $20! I thought it would be good to practice with. Not much later I found a steal of a deal on an Ashford Joy on marketplace and my spinning journey began! I’ve been blessed to find your videos to help me along the way too! ?

    1. JillianEve

      It is like your spinning journey was just meant to be! What finds!

  3. Maria Gioia Rosellini

    Hi Eve, I really, really love your video tutorials. I’m a quite expert knitter and a newbie spinner. My challenge is to spin a yarn who fit perfectly with the project I would knit.
    Thanks for making hand spinning so easy to understand!!!

  4. Jo

    Hi Jillian, I’m in the UK and I just wanted to say thank you for all your amazing videos…I don’t comment on utube so it was really nice to come to your blog and leave you a note….your videos are super helpful and really really fun to watch..i have learnt so much! Previously I had ‘tasters’ in spinning and was abit put off by super-competent spinning groups but with your videos i can learn at my own pace and rewatch as much as i need-so useful thank you!
    You also really helped me understand how a spinning wheel worked and i ended up using your stickers on the whorl and bobbin of a double band second hand spinning wheel (that came my way) to help understand the mechanics of it. Since then i have bought myself a kromski fantasia and am completely hooked on it…it is a double treadle which is exactly what i needed as I am a very left-handed, left-footed person and was really struggling to treadle smoothly with just my right foot.
    Thank you so much for the book recommendations…i will definitely hunt for those.
    Finally, quick question: for crochet is it best to spin two ‘s’ yarn and then ply them together in ‘z’? And have you ever crochet with single yarn…i remember in a video you said you can weave with single spun yarn. Apologies if you covered this in your videos already and thanks again! jo

    1. JillianEve

      Your comment made me smile! I love your excitement for spinning, it’s just wonderful and I’m so happy to help! I need to make a new video addressing the S vs Z for knitting and crochet question. It’s a general guideline but there is a lot of variation in the amount of twist, as well as techniques both in spinning and in working with the yarn so Z = crochet and S = knitting isn’t a hard and fast rule. I suggest trying it one way and if you find your yarn is splitty, loose, or drifting apart then try it the other direction and see if that helps. Happy spinning!

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