Weaving a Library: “Designing woven fabrics”, by Janet Phillips

(Book cover is from the author’s webpage)

This beautiful book is on 4shaft twills, and is organised in three parts.

The first part is entirely devoted to the construction and weaving of a 4 shaft twill gamp/blanket, with ten different threadings and 50 different treadlings, providing a total of 500 sample weaves (I am currently weaving this gamp).

These samples form an extensive fabric ibrary, and the second part of the book explains the author’s approach to translating the sample weaves into a finished object. This process includes considerations of yarn, sett, colour and so on.

The third part applies the principles developed in the second part to offer actual projects, again underlying how to go from the gamp to the finished object.

The book is full of high quality colour photographs and graphs, on heavy, glossy paper. In particular each and every sample is photographed, so that if you decided to skip weaving the gamp (which you shouldn’t) you would still know exactly how it would look.

I’ve seen questions along the lines of “I don’t need this to weave a twill gamp, so why bother”? My take on this one is that sure, one could do that, but that is only one part, and the other two parts (which on their own could be another book) do show how to “translate” the gamp sections into (beautiful) projects.

The projects alone (all 50 of them!) would make this book worth it, but what I value most is that you can see the thought process of how the initial sample patterns is translated into something quite different. Sure if you take them as “just” projects, you may get by with what is found in magazine – the crucial difference here is that each project has a “topic”, be it ridges, or combining felting and non felting yarns, or cloth with areas of very different feel.

Each project comes with a “Design brief” box, which specifies:

– end use (e.g. scarf);
– design concept (the main criteria used for the design)
– colour (hue, value and saturation for the project)
– weave (the threadings and treadlings from the gamp);
– units of Fibonacci (when used)
– developments (any additional project that has taken the concept further forward)

They are further accompanied with a summary box with every detail of the actual piece, such as sett, warp ends, takeup, shrinkage, etc.

So I think this will appeal particularly to weavers who want to understand the “why” and “how” of obtaining a particular result.

In terms of the actual weaving, since it is 4 shaft weaving, it uses a maximum of 14 treadlings, and I think perhaps not all at the same time, but all of the threading can be woven on a rigid heddle loom too.

I do think this is an excellent book – I only regret it is not hardback, as I am reaching for it constantly, so a hardback would be more hardwearing (or even better, an electronic version).

It can be bought directly from the Janet Phillips’ website.


Author: lovestoswatch

I used to knit as a girl, then hanged the needles for two/three decades, and now I’m back, and loving it! The photo is my version of Linda Marveng's Aki, the first proper project after "being born again". After getting back into knitting, weaving has also become my passion (with a little sewing to turn my handweaving into garments).

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