I discovered these books quite a few years ago at a Sewing Expo. They are a wonderful resource for those of us who are fabric challenged, buy from clearance racks or thrift unlabeled textiles. There is no substitute for actually feeling a fabric in your hands!
There are three Volumes in the Fabric Reference Series by Julie Parker:
All About Silk
All About Cotton
All About Wool
The best part by far is the swatch of fabrics included. Each description is accompanied by the corresponding fabric. A nice sized 2 1/2 X 4 inches. I find no substitute for seeing and feeling each fabric to compare what I have and help to accurately indentify each piece.
A sample of an entry goes something like this:
-Name of the fabric (My sample page is Flannel)
-Description of fabric
-Swatch on page
-Explaination of how "brushed cotton" is created
-Short "how to use"
-Description of several other similar related fabrics
Example:A page on Flannel includes a short description of Canton flannel, diaper flannel, flannelette, and outing flannel
-What to expect
-Cost per yard
-Where to find
-Box with additional info
Example:This page on flannel has info on Flame retardant finishes
I am only fortunate enough to own the first two in the series All about Silk and All about Cotton. I will pick up the third someday, and I am looking forward to seeing all the fabrics and reading the pages to build my knowledge of fabrics and textiles.
The books can also be found on ebay under the publishers I.D. Rain City Publishing.