Introduction

Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or just a beginner to the craft world, you must’ve heard fiber and textile crafts. These crafts unleash your imagination and offer a delightful fusion of creativity, artistry, and self-expression. In this blog post, I’ll introduce you to the enchanting world of fiber and textile crafts and guide you to explore the endless creative possibilities. Let’s dive right in!

What are Fiber and Textile Crafts

Fiber and textile crafts refer to the creation of practical or decorative items with animal, plant, or synthetic fibers and textiles.

Natural fibers, consisting of cotton, yarn, wool, silk, string, ribbon, and more, are twisted, spun, and plied to create textiles.

Since the beginning of civilization, textiles have been used to cover human body. The decorative use dates back to Jacobean era, where a portrait of Henry Frederick was found to have felt-made capotain hat, with the most basic textile techniques used.

Nowadays, for us ordinary people, fiber and textile crafts has gradually become a perfect emotional outlet to express our creativity. What we have in our minds can be represented by these crafting projects we’re engaged in, through which we may get away from busy lives and find a sense of tranquility. Mindful purposes aside, you can also learn about these crafts for practical use. You may find a new career direction after continuously refining your craftsmanship.

Different types of Fiber and Textile crafts

Here are some trending types of fiber crafts for you to choose from:

1. Quilting

Quilting is the process of stitching at least three layers of fabric together with your handwork (a needle and thread), a dedicated long-arm quilting machine, or a sewing machine. The three layers typically consists of a quilt top (fabric), a backing, and a soft insulating material placed in between the two former layers. These quilts are created either for functional reasons (bed coverings for keeping warm) or for decorative use (wall hangings).

Essential Supplies Required for Quilting: Quilt-quality fabric, cutting mat, rotary cutter, rulers, basic quilt patterns, seam ripper, fabric scissors, etc.

Books:

  • Your First Quilt Book: Or It Should Be by Carol Doak
  • Quilting 101: A Beginners Guide to Quilting by Editors of Creative Publishing
  • Beginner’s Guide to Quilting: 16 Projects to Learn to Quilt by Elizabeth Betts
  • The Complete Guide to Machine Quilting by Joanie Zeier Poole

Online Classes (Beginner to Advanced):

2. Weaving

Weaving is an easy practice of interlacing long threads or yarn together to form woven fabric. The two set of strings (warp and weft) are interlaced into a right angle to make a square of textile. Many creative weave patterns can be produced and you can use it for making pillow covers, wall hangings, decorative objects, and even jewelry. 

Essential Supplies Required for Weaving: A weaving loom, warp, weft, weaving comb, tapestry needle, shuttle, and shed stick.

Books:

  • Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler
  • Weaving on a Little Loom: Techniques, Patterns, and Projects for Beginners by Fiona Daly
  • Weaving for Beginners: An Illustrated Guide by Peggy Osterkamp
  • The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon

Online Classes:

3. Knitting

Knitting is a technique for production of two-dimensional fabric through interlacing loops of threads or yarns. The process can be completed by either hand or machine. Compared to woven fabrics, knitted fabrics usually have more give because the threads in knitting follow a meandering path. As one of the most common techniques of textile crafts, knitting appeals to people of all ages and levels, which can be practiced to create all types of garments, such as your own hats, scarves, mittens, and many more.

Essential Supplies Required for Knitting: Quality yarn in a ball, hank, or skein and a pair of needles

Books:

  • First Time Knitting by Carri Hammett
  • The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes
  • 60 Quick Knits for Beginners: Easy Projects for New Knitters in 220 Superwash® from Cascade Yarns ® (60 Quick Knits Collection) by Sixth & Spring Books
  • Knitter’s Stitch Collection by Lesley Stanfield

Online Classes:

4. Embroidery

Embroidery is a craft of applying yarn or thread upon fabric, leather, paper, and other materials for decoration by using a needle. This textile craft is often combined with other decorative materials like beads, pearls, and sequins. Nowadays, embroidery is easy to spot on various garments for looking good, such as hats, dress shirts, dresses, blankets, and coats.

Books:

  • Embroidery Now: Contemporary Projects for You and Your Home by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs
  • Embroidery: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide to Stitches and Techniques by Charlotte Gerlings
  • The Embroidery Stitch Bible: Over 200 Stitches Photographed with Easy to Follow Charts by Betty Barnden
  • Hoop Dreams: Modern Hand Embroidery by Cristin Morgan

Online Classes:

5. Lace Making

As the name suggests, Lacemaking is a fiber craft of making lace. It’s believed that lace was originated from the late 15thor the early 16th and rapidly spread since then. There are four common methods to create lace, two of which are used to make traditional lace (bobbin lace and needle lace). The other two ways include crochet and tatting.

Books:

  • Beginner’s Guide to Bobbin Lace (Beginner’s Guide to Needlecrafts) by Gilian Dye
  • Lessons in Bobbin Lacemaking (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) by Doris Southard
  • Torchon Lacemaking: A Step-by-Step Guide by Jan Tregidgo
  • Bobbin Lace: An Illustrated Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques by Brigita Fuhrmann

Online Classes:

6. Macrame

Macrame is a fiber craft of tying threads or cords into knots for practical or ornamental use. The cords can be knotted in a variety of patterns. Square and half knots are the two basic macrame knots that can be seen in many objects like wall hangings.

Essential Supplies for Macrame: Cords, anchor, sewing pins, project board.

Books:

  • Macrame: 101 Easy Steps for Beginners to Creating Beautiful Plant Hangers for Your Home on a Budget by Sophia Halima Taylor
  • Macrame for Adult Beginners: the #1 Guide to Start from Zero to Master All Macrame Machines and Sell Your Creations by Sharon Cope
  • Macrame Pattern Book: Includes Over 70 Knots and Small Repeat Patterns Plus Projects by Marchen Art
  • Macrame: 11 Projects to Make Including Dreamcatchers, Wall Hangings, Plant Holders and Clutch Bag by Sian Hamilton

Online Classes:

7. Sewing

As one of the oldest fiber and textile crafts, sewing was originated from the Paleolithic era, a time when people was believed to use bone or ivory as sewing needles and threads made of animal body parts to sew leather and fur. This craft is done by using a sewing needle and threads to stitch cloth or objects together. Despite the popularity of sewing machines in assisting sewing, hand sewing is still a welcome practice across the world.

Essential Supplies for Sewing: Threads, needle, and a sewing machine

Books:

  • First Time Sewing: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Editors of Creative Publishing International
  • The Sewing Book: Over 300 Step-by-Step Techniques by Alison Smith
  • Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes by Bernadette Banner
  • Sewing for Dummies by Jan Saunders Maresh
  • Sew me! Sewing Basics: Simple Techniques and Projects for First-Time Sewers by Choly Knight

8. Felting

Felting is the textile technique of making felt fabric by combining loose fur, fibers, hair, or wool with heat and great pressure. The wool-made felt is said to be the earliest known textile to human, and there are various felting methods used to make such a fabric, including needle felting, wet felting, and carroting.

Essential Supplies for Felting: Wool, felting needles, felting surface.

Books:

  • First Time Felting: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Ruth Lane
  • The Complete Photo Guide to Felting by Ruth Lane
  • Needle Felting for Beginners: How to Sculpt with Wool by Roz Dace
  • Felting Fashion: Creative and Inspirational Techniques for Feltmakers by Lizzie Houghton
  • The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn How to Make More than 20 Adorable Animals by Fi Oberon

9. Crocheting

Crocheting is a textile craft used to make patterned fabric. This needlework technique is performed by interlocking loops of threads, yarns, and other materials with a crochet hook. Intricate structures and shapes can be created through different crocheting stitches and techniques. The word “crochet”, is actually derived from the French word “crochet”, meaning “hook”.

Essential Supplies for Crocheting: Crochet hook, yarn, crochet pattern, measuring tape, scissors, stitch markers, and yarn needles

Books:

  • Crochet Techniques & Tips by Publications International Ltd.
  • How to Crochet: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners by Alison McNicol
  • A to Z of Crochet: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to Advanced Crocheter by Martingale
  • The Crochet Book: Over 130 Techniques and Stitches by DK

10. Rug Making

A rug is a piece of thick cloth like a small carpet used to cover or decorate part of a floor. So as the name implies, rug making is a hand craft of making a rug from textile and fiber materials with small tools or weaving machines. There are many methods of rug making, such as hooking, braiding, and weaving.

Essential Supplies for Rug Making: Backing, fiber materials to make the rug, weaving tools, stencil, and scissors

Books:

  • Braiding Rugs: A Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-03 by Nancy Bubel
  • Rag Rugs, 2nd Edition, Revised and Expanded by Suzanne McNeil
  • Rag Rug Techniques for Beginners: 30 Planet-friendly Projects Using Rag-rugging Methods from Around the World by Elspeth Jackson
  • Making Rag Rugs: 15 Step-by-Step Projects by Clare Hubbard
  • Rug Making: How Anyone Can Hook a Carpet by Senda Eiko and Lena Dyrdal Anderson

11. Canvas Work

Canvas work, known as needlepoint in the US, is a type of embroidery worked on canvas, rather than fabric. A variety of threads can be used for this textile craft, such as silk, wool, cotton, or synthetic thread. As for the canvas, usually made from linen or cotton, is even-weave and durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of ordinary use. It has two basic types: single thread and double thread.

Essential Supplies for Canvas Work: Canvas (blank or painted), threads and yarns for needlepoint, and tapestry needles

Books:

  • New Canvaswork: Creative Techniques in Needlepoint by Jill Carter
  • Bargello Needlepoint Tutorials by Merrills Willie
  • Fun with Plastic Canvas: Beginner’s Guide & 9 Useful Projects by Tara Cousins
  • Needlepoint Dictionary of Stitches by Susan Sturgeon Roberts

12. Paracord

Paracord (short for “parachute cord”) is one of the most versatile cords originally used as parachute suspension lines. It’s made out of lightweight nylon kernmantle rope. Boasting a tensile strength of 550 lbs, paracord is the perfect cord for outdoor activities.

13. Rug Hooking

Rug hooking is an art of using a crochet-type hook to pull loops of fabric or yarn through a stiff woven backing base to craft rugs. Such produced rugs are hence called hooked rugs. This textile craft has received great popularity for over 200 years in North America. The earliest hooked rugs were believed to be the floor mats in Yorkshire, England, during the 19th century.

Essential Supplies for Rug Hooking: Woven base, frame or hoop, yarn or threads, crochet-type hook, scissors

Books:

  • Introduction to Rug Hooking: A Beginner’s Guide to Tools, Techniques, and Materials by Kris Miller
  • The Rug Hooker’s Bible: The Best From 30 Years of Jane Olson’s Rugger’s Roundtable by Jane Olson
  • Basic Rug Hooking: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started (How to Basics) by Judy P. Sopronyi
  • Punch Needle Rug Hooking: Your Complete Resource to Learn & Love the Craft by Amy Oxford

14. Shoe Making

To surprise some people, shoe making is also a popular fiber craft that requires craftsmanship and attention to detail. It’s a process of using materials like wood, jute, leather, rubber, and plastic to make a variety of footwear items like sandals, clogs, and boots. Traditional shoe making was done by hand, but since the industrialization, most shoes are produced in volumes by machines. If you’re interested in how shoes are made, this shoe making handicraft is a good start.

Essential Supplies for Shoe Making (Leather): Leather, lasts, awl, lasting plier, rotary cutter, measuring tape, scissors

Books:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Home Shoemaking: I Can Make Shoes by Amanda Overs
  • The Sandalmaking Workshop: Make Your Own Mary Janes, Crisscross Sandals, Mules, Fisherman Sandals, Toe Slides, and More by Rachel Corry
  • Footwear Pattern Making and Last Design: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Shoemaking by Wade Motawi
  • Making Handmade Shoes: A Step-by-Step Guide: Traditional Shoes with Hand-sewn Welts and Pegged Heels by Harry Rogers

15. Basket Weaving

Basket weaving (also known as basketry) is one of the oldest crafts found in many human civilizations, including Middle East, West Africa, South America, Asia, and more. It’s a process of weaving or sewing natural fibers or synthetic materials into baskets. In ancient times, these woven baskets were commonly used for storage. Now these woven dimensional artifacts are becoming popular in fashion and decoration. You can see the basket-making techniques in shoes, bags, and accessories.

Essential Supplies for Basket Weaving: Paper fiber rush, ruffia, hemp twine, pine needles, clothespins, tapestry needles, color instructional booklets.

Books:

  • Basketweaving for Beginners: 20 Contemporary and Classic Projects Using Natural Cane by Sylvie Begot
  • Basketry Basics: Create 18 Beautiful Baskets as You Learn the Craft by BJ Crawford
  • The Basket Book: Over 30 Magnificent Baskets to Make and Enjoy by Lyn Siler
  • Pine Needle Basketry: From Forest Floor to Finished Project by Judy Mallow

16. Spinning

Spinning is a technique of twisting fibers to make yarn or thread, which is further used to produce textiles and cloth. The popular fibers spun into yarn or thread includes cotton, viscose, wool, polyester, and more. In the late 17th century, the advent of spinning jenny and mule brought mechanical spinning to the world, making it far more efficient than hand spinning, and ring spinning is one of the most common techniques of spinning.

Essential Supplies for Spinning: Spindle, spinning wheel, fiber

Books:

  • The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns by Sarah Anderson
  • The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn by Carol Kroll
  • The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp by Stephenie Gaustad
  • The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Silk by Sara Lamb

17. Tatting

Tatting is a vintage technique to create intricate lace. The lacework is done by wrapping threads around shuttles into knots and loops to create lace edgings of various designs, which can be added to garments or home decor projects to enhance the value and texture. Additional, there are several different types of tatting: shuttle tatting, needle tatting, and cro-tatting, depending on the tools you use.

Essential Supplies for Tatting: Tatting needles or shuttles, patterns, thread, and scissors.

Books:

  • Easy Tatting (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) by Rozella Florence Linden
  • Tatting for Beginners: Introduction to Tatting by Sonia Pat
  • Tatting Patterns by Lyn Morton
  • Shuttle Tatting for Beginners: An Indispensable Guide for Every Beginner on Shuttle Tatting by Rebecca Dixon
  • Lace & Tatting: 1-2-3 Quick Beginner’s Guide to Lace & Tatting by Kelly Winters

18. Rope Making

Rope making is a process of twisting and/or braiding a group of yarns, fibers, or strands together to form one larger and stronger cord, known as a rope. As an important helper in human civilization, ropes constructed of synthetic fibers usually have a higher tensile strength than those made from natural fibers. Today, people are more likely to buy a rope in outdoor or hardware stores, instead of making it by hand. But rope making is actually an old handicraft dating back to ancient Egypt.

Essential Supplies for Rope-Making: Fibers used to make a rope, scissors

19. Braiding (Plaiting)

Braiding (also plaiting) is a fiber craft for thousands of years. This handicraft technique is accomplished by interlacing two or more strands of flexible materials like hair, yarns, or wire to form a complex pattern for various uses. One of the most common uses is to ornament and style human or animal hair. For braiding lovers, there are a variety of braiding structures and pattern to learn, from the simple flat and three-stranded structures to the more complex five-stranded braid, fishtail braid, and waterfall braid.

Essential Supplies for Braiding: Fibers used to braid, scissors

Books:

  • The New Braiding Handbook: 60 Modern Twists on Classic Hairstyles by Abby Smith
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Braiding Manes and Tails: A Visual Guide to 30 Basic Braids by Charni Lewis
  • Tandy Leather Leather Braiding Book by Bruce Grant

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