Saturday, March 24, 2012

About Contemporary Weaving Patterns by Margo Selby

Contemporary Weaving Patterns by Margo Selby

I've thought a lot about writing about this new book on weaving as it is an enigma.  I've read it cover to cover several times to come to terms with it.  The first part of the book covers the materials used and finding inspiration then there is a large section on colour and stripe arrangements followed by the main part of the book, the collections where each threading is followed by six treadling variations.

The image on the left in the picture above is the cover of the book, in my opinion somewhat dated in appearance.

I think my biggest disappointment was due to the advertising in the Handwoven magazine (the two pages on the right in above picture).  Quite different pages aren't they!  I think all the structures from the pink advertisement are in the book where as none of the patterns in green and blue are and they are the ones which attracted me.  I decided that I would never again buy a book without sighting it first but, you know, when you live at the bottom of the world sometimes you just have to.

There is some interesting information about developing a design but also areas which leave one floundering.  For instance on page 17 there is a statement "Experiment by using light filters and different colour balances to manipulate your image."  Where, how, what with.  Another problem I have is that some of the drafts have very long skips, 13 threads in some instances, which a beginner weaver might not be aware of the inherent problems these could produce.

I am very inspired by Margo Selby's work as seen on her web site and also she is represented at the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery but this book gives no hint of her design and colour expertise seen there.  I would say a useful book for an advanced beginner weaver who wants a kick off to the next stage.  What do you think?


  1. Thank you for the report. I've been hearing a lot of conflicting thoughts on this book so I decided I won't be in a hurry to get it, although it had sat in my Wishlist six months (?) before publication. My understand was that the structures aren't that complicated, but she presents a more contemporary look to the handwoven cloth. Perhaps my guild's library will get it so I can put my chocolatey paws on it first.

  2. Funnily enough I have just been thinking about this book and what audience it might be intended for. (I wasn't going to pay for it, as I wasn't sure it would offer me anything, but then had an Amazon gift voucher, so ordered it anyway!) My feeling that I wouldn't get a lot from it was confirmed in that I am already a stripe maven and the structures she uses are mainly familiar ones. However, it does offer lots of lovely pictures of cloth, which excite me and inspire me to go and make cloth in my own way.

    As you suggest, the advanced beginner seems to be the person she is aiming for, though I found her approach to drafting quite non-intuitive and I am not sure how said a.b. would get on with it. For the more experienced weaver it is basically eye candy. I have heard people enthuse about the pictures, but have yet to hear anyone say that they tried something as a result of reading it. Keeping my eyes and ears open though!

  3. Dear Dianne,

    I fully agree with you. I ordered the book because of the yellow/green pictures. I thought I would learn more about double weave. But nothing in the book, and although I like the book, I am disappointed that none of the advertised patterns show up in the book.
    Eva from Germany