Reviews for Exploring Woven Fabrics

Following the success of her previous book, ‘Designing Woven Fabrics’, Janet Phillips set about answering some of the numerous questions it raised with weavers. The book is full of clear, concise and detailed information on a range of structures. In addition, there are forty design projects on both 4 and 8 shafts which use the information being built up from each of the structural chapters.

These contain her design decisions and are beautifully photographed in full colour, which tempt the weaver to dive in and weave. She first explains the basics and terminology. Some of the first part will be known to regular weavers but there are gems, such as her remarks on selvedges and the value of a face mark on sample blankets to ensure you know where you started and which side was uppermost during the weaving.

Less experienced weavers will find this section most beneficial, with information on yarn counts, yarn calculations, sett, take up, Fibonacci, and more. ‘Constructing Weaves’ is a vital section to absorb so that the reader can follow the notation and ideas in the remainder of the book. Once you understand her method, which Janet explains clearly, all the following plans are easy to understand and reproduce. It is also ideal for weavers developing their own original designs.

Janet has taught many weavers and strongly advises the weaving of ‘sample blankets’, which offer an enormous range of possibilities. She guides us through how to construct eight new sample blankets, Colour & Weave on 4 shafts; Block Weave on 8 shafts; Stitched Double Cloth on 8 shafts; Bold Colour & Weave, otherwise known as Deflected Double Cloth, on 8 shafts; Log Cabin on 4 shafts, Shadow Weave Twill on 4 and 8 shafts and Repp on 8 shafts. There are several sub-sets in the various parts, such as a sample blanket for Summer and Winter Weave Structure, which is contained in the 8 shaft Block Weave section and has an introduction and five parts giving different Summer and Winter appearances with their weftings.

Each blanket contains multiple black and white sections with different threadings. Some have just four sections and others up to eight. The wefting (lifting plans or treadling) follows and the outcomes are illustrated alongside so that the reader can instantly see how each warp and weft section will appear in cloth. Janet suggests warp length that will allow for you to change some of the threads for other colours and experiment further. There are over 900 of these photographs of actual woven cloth as well as all the colour pictures, making the whole an excellent source of ideas.

There is a useful list of contents at the beginning with a glossary and list of suppliers at the end. The appendix is a page of exercises for you to insert the weft pick colours to see what the finished designs would be like.

The coloured photographs of fabrics and finished articles are enough to tempt anyone to browse and dream of what they might go on to weave but it has really pushed me to get back to basics and weave another sample blanket. It is another invaluable addition to any weaver’s library.

Eve Alexander

I’ve just read your lovely book from cover to cover! Wow!  I really like the way each section builds on the previous one and the huge amount of detail you have included. There is enough there to keep me going for years!  


I received your book today. What an amazing work, many congratulations!! This is the only book that really explains the design process for each weave, rather than just show the drawdown in a diagram.
Marie-Anne Birken

This is one of the best and most beautiful books on weaving that I ever saw - just with this book, you have enough information to keep you weaving for the rest of your life.

Marie-France Gosselin. Canada

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