Spinning Tuesdays: Learning from the Past

Here’s a news flash, I hate being told what to do. As soon as someone says to me, ” you must, it will only work this way, you have to” or some such ,”my way or the highway” thing, I feel my inner toddler stomp her feet, cover her ears and yell, “no,no,no,no”.

This includes spinning. When I first started spinning, “you must” is mostly the way people taught and wrote about spinning. And if you picked up a book from the previous spinning boom in the 70’s the authors were even more stringent. Unfortunately, I dismissed them.

Fast forward, spinning has undergone a revolution in craft, thought and teaching, I’ve learned to put my inner toddler in time out and read between the lines of ‘my way or the highway’ writing. I’ve gotten curious about those books from the 70’s that I’d dismissed so offhandedly.

I talked to some people, did a little research and went shopping on used book sites.

Here’s what I’ve found:

Pile o' spinning books

Pile o’ spinning books

This pile of books is going to teach me a lot. I’m especially excited about that white one on the top, 101 Questions for Spinners. I’d never heard of it before, but check out who answers those questions.

Spinning superstars answering spinning questions

Spinning superstars answering spinning questions

What other older spinning books would you recommend to me?






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8 thoughts on “Spinning Tuesdays: Learning from the Past

  1. conk

    You’re such a tease! I need titles & authors! Please! There are a couple of those books I’ve never seen before. You might look for Mabel Ross’s Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners, too.

  2. Rachelle

    I’ve got two old spinning books that I love. The New Zealand Woolcraft Book by Constance Jackson and Judith Plowman; 1980. The other is Handspinning Art and Technique by Allen Fannin; 1970. I especially like the second one, it includes a section on using a “High Wheel” which I believe we now call a Walking wheel

  3. Sara in Brooklyn

    Ooh, wearwithall is on my ‘crave’ list… I read the spinning posts but can’t imagine I’ll ever start, because I’m not already good at it. But I must once have thought the same about knitting, right?

    I wonder whether the same nostalgia vs. how-things-change applies to the spinning books as to knitting ones? (And I hope I win – or I hope someone else is thrilled when they do.)

  4. Cheekyredhead

    I strongly recommend Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. Not a how to but a why we do.

  5. LauraSue

    I told a friend of mine who was going to give me some fiber from his Blue-faced Leicesters that I had Davenport’s spinning book which I bought back in 1978. His laconic response was, “Well, the technology hasn’t really changed much in the last several hundred years….” What new books have to offer over old books is mostly form, not substance.

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