Gennifer Albin's first novel, Crewel, explores one girl's experience navigating the dysfunctional social and political systems of a completely controlled dystopian society. Published in 2012, Crewel is the first book in the Crewel trilogy. It offers a fictionalized view of the threat equality poses to some who seek to maintain social order. Crewel is told from the perspective of a unique female protagonist who must rely on her own talents to overcome a number of social and structural challenges.
Gennifer Albin became inspired to write Crewel after seeing a painting called Embroidering the Earth's Mantle by Remedios Varo. In the painting several girls are pictured collectively sewing a tapestry, which overflows and composes the world below. Albin began by writing a story about one of the girls in the tower who doesn't like her job. Initially, the story was written with two narrators, Albin ultimately decided to use only one.
A 2012 New York Times Book Review claims that "there are joys to be had" for readers of Crewel, and that the setting is one that "readers will want to visit." Science fiction website 'Tor.com' also praises Crewel for its "original twist on expected conceits" and "classic and contemporary references." Crewel is often compared to the growing genre of dystopian novels with an idiosyncratic female protagonist, which includes books like The Hunger Games and Divergent.