Resources and Research

Or, How Can I Learn About All This Neat Spinning and Fiber Stuff?

Image: British cartoon, "The Edenton Tea Party," 1775. "The Edenton Tea Party was one of the earliest organized women’s political actions in United States history. On October 25, 1774, Mrs. Penelope Barker organized fifty-one women in Edenton, NC. Together they formed an alliance supporting the American cause against 'taxation without representation.' In response to the Tea Act of 1773, the Provincial Deputies of No. Carolina resolved to boycott all British tea and cloth received after Sept. 10, 1774” (Carney, R.; No. Carolina History Proj.). One of the decisions made by this group and other women's organizations was to boycott English textiles and start an earnest effort to produce homespun goods & clothing. Spinning bees became a popular method for ladies to gather and spin yarn for weaving and knitting clothing and household goods.
This page houses links to articles, websites, books and videos that I have found useful in my study and researching of spinning and fiber arts, both modern and especially historical.


Ravelry is a free website for knitters, crocheters, and fiber artists. Information and patterns (many of them free) are available.

Spin Off Magazine "feeds our deep curiosity about the art and craft of making yarn."

Palisades Guild of Spinners & Weavers Website - PGS&W is a Lower Hudson Valley guild of fiber artists and enthusiasts located in Upper Saddle River, NJ.

The MidAtlantic Fiber Association (MAFA) - MAFA is an association that represents and supports a community of fiber arts guilds in the greater Mid-Atlantic region. You can find a fiber arts guild local to your area here.


PGS&W Facebook Page

Shave 'Em to Save 'Em - This is a public group for "Shave 'Em to Save 'Em, a Livestock Conservancy Initiative to connect fiber artists with shepherds who raise sheep that are on the Conservation Priority List."

Antique Spinning Wheels, Looms and Fiber Equipment (private group; must ask to be admitted)


Lois Swales YouTube Channel Whirl/The Missing Spindle  Lois Swales has created many wonderful videos on historic spinning, all the way back to Viking times.

Jillian Eve YouTube Channel  Jillian Eve has dozens of wonderful how-to videos all about spinning on her YouTube channel:

"The Spinning Wheel Song" is a lovely early 19th century Irish song, here sung by Caitlin Murtagh

Saving Money: Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns.  A very helpful listing of pattern resources for young beginner knitters and crocheters.


You can download and read the files by clicking on their links.

"A Brief History of the Sheep Industry in the United States"  by L.G. Connor. Agricultural History Society Papers, 1921, Vol. 1. The Agricultural History Society.

"A Republic of Wool: Founding Era Americans’ Grand Plans for Sheep" by Brett Bannor. Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2018.

“Neolithic – Bronze Age Spindle Whorls”  Existing specimens from several museums

“Spinning Bees and the Contribution of Women in the American Revolution” (N-Y Historical Society)

“Textile Production at 16-22 Coppergate”  York, England (1st – 16th centuries) by Penelope Walton Rogers, for the Council of British Archaeology. The Archaeology of York, Vol. 17: The Small Finds, 1997.

"These Vintage Threads Are 30,000 Years Old" Research News written by Richard Harris, for NPR. A short newsbyte about spun - and dyed - flax fibers found in Eurasia.

"Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing, Oh My!" by Joe Wixted, Journeyman Weaver at Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

 FAVORITE BOOKS (there must always be books . . .):

This is by no means a finite list of very helpful books.

Adrosko, Rita J. Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing. Dover Publications, 1971.

Buchanan, Rita. A Dyer's Garden. Interweave Press, 1995.   NOTE: This book is out of print, but you might still find used copies here and there.

Buchanan, Rita. A Weaver's Garden. Interweave Press, 1987; Dover Publications, 1999.

Boyd, Natasha. The Indigo Girl. Blackstone Publishing, 2017.  NOTE: This is an historical fiction novel which follows the true life of Eliza Lucas Pinckney very closely, even incorporating some of her actual letters into the story. There are certain parts and characters in the novel which are either composites or completely fictional.

Pinckney, Eliza Lucas. The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762. Edited by Elise Pinckney & Marvin R. Zahniser. The actual letters!

Coulthard, Sally. Follow the Flock: How Sheep Shaped Human Civilization. Pegasus Books, 2021.

Franquemont, Abby. Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool. Interweave Press, 2009.  Everything you always wanted to know about drop spindles but were afraid to ask . . .

Isaacson, Stefania. In Search of the Perfect Green - and Orange, too! A Natural Dye Book. Hagg Press, 2013.

Kroll, Carol. The Whole Craft of Spinning, from the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn. Dover Publications, 1981.  NOTE: An excellent book for the beginner spinner.

Robson, Deborah & Carol Ekarius. The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook. Storey Publishing, 2011.

St. Clair, Kassia. The Golden Thread : How Fabric Changed History. Liveright Publishing, 2019.