This paper provides a cultural history of handspinning in the United States and examines some of the functions of the craft that have led to its increased vitality in the present day. Handspinning has previously taken on symbolic associations with independence, piety, feminine domesticity, and nostalgia for an idealized past. Contemporary handspinning often thrives in a less symbolic context for fiber artists and seems to have achieved longevity and increased relevance from reduced traditionalization while allowing spinners to critically engage with the history of women’s domestic labor.

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