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All about Wool: A Fabric Dictionary and Swatchbook

Overview

The third volume in Julie Parker's Fabric Reference Series explains the different fabrics made from wool and similar fibers, using plain English instead of confusing technical jargon. A detailed description of each fabric is illustrated with a real cloth sample, right there on the same page, which clarifies in the simplest way what a boiled wool, crepe, gabardine or whipcord actually looks and feels like.

A comprehensive introduction covers characteristics of the fiber, history ...

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Overview

The third volume in Julie Parker's Fabric Reference Series explains the different fabrics made from wool and similar fibers, using plain English instead of confusing technical jargon. A detailed description of each fabric is illustrated with a real cloth sample, right there on the same page, which clarifies in the simplest way what a boiled wool, crepe, gabardine or whipcord actually looks and feels like.

A comprehensive introduction covers characteristics of the fiber, history of wool, breeds of sheep and other wool-bearing animals (such as camels and goats), types of wool, the main sources of wool, the wool textile industry, industry trends and how to judge quality. The introduction is followed by two-page descriptions of the main fabric types, each illustrated with a 2-1/2" x 4" cloth sample and simple black-and-white drawings. In the back of the book, space is provided for the reader to collect additional samples and record personal notes, followed by a list of mail-order sources, glossary, bibliography and index.

The 35 fabric samples are packaged separately, layered in the same order as they appear in the book. It takes only a few minutes to mount the samples to the book's pages, using double-stick tape or a small spot of glue. Instructions are included. Samples include 30 wool fabrics and 5 specialty hair fibers, in this order: blanket cloth, boiled wool, boucle, cavalry twill, challis, coating, crepe, Donegal tweed, double cloth, double knit, felt, flannel (woolen), flannel (worsted), gabardine, glen plaid, Harris tweed, herringbone, homespun, houndstooth, jacquard, jersey, loden cloth, melton, menswear suiting, novelty suiting, plaid, satin, tropical suiting, tweed, whipcord, alpaca, angora rabbit, camel's hair, cashmere and mohair.

All About Wool is packed with information about the different weaves, yarns and finishes used to make wool fabrics. Terms such as woolen, worsted, merino wool, superfine wool and lamb's wool are clearly explained. A must for anyone who works with wool!

About the Author:

Julie Parker is a former newspaper editor turned fabric junkie. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Washington in Seattle and a second bachelor's degree in apparel design from Western Washington University in Bellingham. She was a newspaper editor for 10 years before returning to school to study clothing design. She is the author of three books and recently worked with the Wool Bureau in New York to write a guide to wool fabrics that was distributed to members of the garment industry throughout North America. She lives in Seattle.

Finalist, 1997 Small Press Book Awards.

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Editorial Reviews

Carol Zentgraf
A comprehensive resouce you're sure to want in your home library. All aspects of wool are covered, including its history, characteristics, specialty hair fibers, types of wool, weaves and yarns, and working with wool.
Sew News
Madelyn van der Hoogt
Though written primarily for sewers, a weaver's knowledge is much enriched by the contents of these books....Julie Parker's background is in editing and she puts her skills to good use in making the text absolutely clear. If you've ever felt a little overwhelmed in a good fabric store, these books are for you.
Weaver's
Paula Frosch
What a wonderful book! Everything anyone could want to know about wool fabrics, from their original `wearer' to the recommended cleaning process. The book provides sample swatches of good size, as well as hints about handling the vagaries of different fabrics and to what use each is best suited. There is a useful bibliography, an index of sheep breeds as well as the usual index and an extensive glossary of wool terms included in the book. A clear, simple guide in a well-organized form, this is the basic reference for all who work with wool.
Small Press
Robbie Fanning
I can't think of a more pleasant task than pasting in the 35 fabric samples that come with this book. The goal of the book is to acquaint you with all the properties of wool. Each page is laid out with space for the 2-1/2" x 4" sample, a description of that type of wool, variations, a checklist of sewing difficulty, suggested looseness of fit and style, approximate cost per yard, what to expect during construction (e.g., `cut single layer'), wearability, pressing tips, suggested care, and where to find it....This is a near-perfect book, without which I can't imagine sewing. I also love her All About Cotton and All About Silk.
Creative Machine Newsletter
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963761224
  • Publisher: Rain City Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Series: Fabric Reference Series
  • Edition description: Spiral
  • Pages: 126
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Read an Excerpt

You won't find a more valuable textile fiber than wool, one of nature's precious gifts to the human race. Since the dawn of civilization, this remarkable fiber has been unequalled as a source of clothing and textiles. It is intricately woven into our lives in obvious and subtle ways, from the clothes we wear to the fibers we use to stuff baseballs and mattresses.

Wool has survived through the ages because it has an incredibly complex physical structure, which makes it incredibly versatile. It can be spun into thick, fuzzy yarns or thin, smooth ones, and woven into warm, bulky fabrics or light, airy ones. It may be rough and rugged or soft and sensual, fit for both cattle ranches and haute couture. It is equally at home on the ski slopes of Colorado, in the corporate offices of New York and at glitzy parties in Hollywood.

Wool has an amazing repertoire of characteristics that often seem to contradict each other. For example, the fiber absorbs moisture but repels liquid, which means it will keep you as dry on a hot humid day as it will in a rain storm.

Wool is warm on cold days and comfortably cool on warm days. It insulates against extremes at both ends of the thermometer - from a frigid Arctic blast to a hot desert wind.

Wool sheds wrinkles but can be pressed to hold sharp pleats and folds. It stretches easily, but won't sag, droop or lose its shape. It can be styled to drape softly against the body or manipulated to hold a shape, such as a perfectly rolled lapel or the curved brim of a hat.

Wool is impressive even when it's not contradicting itself. The fiber dyes beautifully, all the way to the core, and it holds the color forever. Almost any color is possible, from pale, icy blues to fiery reds.

Wool is strong and durable, it resists abrasion and it is difficult to tear. Garments are easy to keep clean because dirt sits on the surface of the fabric, rather than penetrating the fiber. Dirt can be brushed off and spills lift right out.

To top it all off, wool is naturally fire resistant. It is slow to burn and will extinguish itself when the flame is removed. It can literally save your life in a fire. No other natural fiber has all of these qualities and no synthetic fiber has ever been made to behave exactly like wool, because no one has ever been able to duplicate wool's complicated physical structure, although many have tried.

Unfortunately for the wool trade, wool is completely misunderstood by many consumers. It is irrevocably linked with cooler seasons and cold climates. It gets blamed for skin allergies that quite simply do not exist. And it gets passed over for high-tech, low-maintenance fabrics because they cost less and have more sex appeal.

That's too bad, because wool is a better investment than most other fibers, in spite of its higher cost. Garments are lined with dividends - when you choose to wear wool, you are rewarded with clothing that is comfortable to wear and maintains its good looks for years.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Under the microscope (physical characteristics of the fiber)
Wool gathering (history of sheep and wool)
Counting sheep (breeds of sheep and types of wool) From fleece to fabric (shearing, grading, scouring, spinning, weaving and finishing)
30 wool fabrics: blanket cloth, boiled wool, boucle, cavalry twill, challis, coating, crepe, Donegal tweed, double cloth, double knit, felt, flannel (woolen), flannel (worsted), gabardine, glen plaid, Harris tweed, herringbone, homespun, houndstooth, jacquard, jersey, loden cloth, melton, menswear suiting, novelty suiting, plaid, satin, tropical suiting, tweed, whipcord
5 specialty hair fibers: alpaca, angora rabbit hair, camel's hair, cashmere, mohair. Lists, notes & sources: caring for wool, stain removal, shopping for wool, mail-order sources, personal notes
Glossary of wool terms
Glossary of finishes
Bibliography
Index (comprehensive)
Index of sheep breeds
Index of fabrics & patterns
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2006

    Everything you ever wanted to know about wool

    First, I have to respond to the previous customer review. This book is about fabrics made from sheep's wool and similar fibers, including alpaca. Alpaca is a specialty hair fiber and that distinction is clearly explained by the author. In fact, an entire section of the book is devoted to specialty hair fibers, with information about alpaca, angora, cashmere, camel's hair, mohair, qiviut and others. But first and foremost, this is a book about wool, a terrific book that is both entertaining and informative. It is easy to read and delightfully illustrated with black-and-white line drawings. Instead of photos of the various fabrics, there are actual cloth samples, 30 of them, plus 5 samples of specialty hair fibers, including alpaca, which is frequently blended with sheep's wool and belongs in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2004

    Alpaca fiber is NOT wool...

    Camelid (alpacas, llamas, camels, guanacos + vicuñas) owners and breeders have gotten used to having their camelids¿ fiber called wool, even though it`s not wool any more than angora rabbit fiber or goat fiber is wool. Alpaca owners and breeders should be standing up for our alpacas and their fiber. No one would think of calling a goat a sheep, or a rabbit a sheep, yet authors still classify alpaca fiber as wool. Sheep¿s wool is a wondrous fiber, but so is the camelid fiber in its own right. Alpaca fiber has a very fine Bradford count, finer than Merino wool in some instances. Alpaca fiber also has a beautiful and luxurious hand when woven into fabric. Alpaca fiber also is warmer than wool. Knowing this, how can any authors who write about alpaca fiber call it wool, when it¿s anything but wool?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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