Archive for August, 2008

I am unable to start weaving until I have a new hip. I am going in to hospital on Friday and having surgery on Saurday. Initially I was rather blase and casual about it all but now that it is is getting closer I am beginning to feel apprehensive. It has suddenly dawned on me that I will not be able to crawl around under the loom for several weeks. This is interrupting my enthusiasm and new found excitment. However a hip is an important part of the human anatomy particularly if it is working. Mine will! Soon!

Meanwhile I have discovered some interesting things about my looms previous owner. I had always known it had belonged to Margery Fulleylove (my family name) who was some sort of distant relation. I never met her. She  lived in New York and when she died her loom and spinning wheel were shipped back to my parents and then to me. Genealogy is another of my interests but I have never done any research on this branch of the Fulleyloves so I had no  idea who she was or how she fitted in.

John Fulleylove is another distant family member.( My grandfathers second cousin) He was an eminent water colourist who first trained as an architect in Leicester and then became a full-time painter.((1845-1808) He travelled widely in France,Italy.Greece  the Middle East and Jerusalem. His paintings hang in galleries around the country and he illustrated travel books. You may wonder what this has to do with weaving but there are links. He had three children, the youngest was a son John Christopher Fulleylove who was also an architect. This was my clue. On top of my loom in the box for tools and bits and pieces there was a soft bristled brush. Carved into the handle were the initials JCF. I went back to my family history notes. Margery , the looms previous owner was married to John Christopher and was John Fulleylove the painters daughter-in-law.

Here are some examples of John Fulleyloves work.

Waterloo Bridge, London 1884

Waterloo Bridge, London 1884

Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo

Whitechapel Street,London

Whitechapel Street,London


His work is delicate and atmospheric. He was not an Impressionist and his architects training is evident in the composition and the ease he has painting buildings.There is nothing experimental about his work but it is fresh and light. I found an entry on the web that Whistler had invired him to Paris to paint, and there are some letters exchanged between them in the National Archive. I think they are just invitations and thenk you notes!

There was one more interesting detail . John Fulleyloves daughter Joan (1886-1947) was a student at the Slade and was a gifted worker in stained glass. She also contributed to the artistic side of the Womens Movement for Suffrage designing bannersand posters for demonstrations and marches. (The Spectacle of Women. Imagery of Suffrage Campaign. Lisa Tickner 1988)

Margery Fulleylove had an interesting family background as well. Her father was Henry Ernest Dudeney (1857-1930) a recreational mathematician. He was born in Sussex and spent his life creating puzzles. His great success was solving the Haberdashers Puzzle (cut an equilateral triangle into four pieces that can be rearranged to make a square) As I am a complete non-mathematician I am unable to picture anything less consequential than this, but he had a following. He still has. This book can be bought on Amazon.

Dudeney book of puzzles

Dudeney book of puzzles


Margery’s mother was a well known writer who published novels and short stories. She wrote under the name of Mrs Henry Dudeney and in her day was compared to Thomas Hardy for her portrayels of regional life. I feel rather ignorant as I have never heard of her least of all read her! She was so successful that her fame gained both of them entry to literary and court circles.

All this writing and puzzling may have helped Margery and her husband on to the ship which took them to Canada!

So I have inherited a loom with a history.To think that I nearly gave it away or worse considered chopping it up because it was in my way is shame-making. I don’t feel strong connections through the  family ties but I sense a story which needs to be continued. I look forward to a long relationship though I anticipate that it might be a stormy one when I remember the moods I experienced just trying to balance the shafts. There are always ups and downs between friends which is what  I hope me and my ‘brought back to life’ loom are or will become.

This is my last post for a while. I look forward to returning in a week when I will enjoy my recovery drooling over your wonderful warps and amazing pattern drafts.

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I have been sitting under my loom for 3 days now tying and re-tying attempting to achieve balance. I am very stiff but also completely obsessed. I have received so much encouragement and advice from another Bergman owner in the US without whom I think I might have given up. For those who havn’t visited do go and read her posts at  http://trapunto.wordpress.com/ It has proved to  me that the world of blogging is a real community

Now I think I can present my dusty old girl to the world


The wood is maple and has lost its patina and shine in many places. I hope that I will be able to bring that back. There is some woodworm which I have treated. On advice from a well wisher who was rather horrified that a beginner should start with an 8 shaft loom I have only tied-up 4 shafts. In the picture you can see 4 jacks tipped up because they are not attached to anything. The reed is 15 dents and very rusty. I am trying to clean it up with lanolin spray and wire wool but I am ordering a new stainless steel one, though not sure what  size to order. I want one that will enable  a range of warps so again advice please.

whilst I am wating for my husband to make me a back beam I am finding not being able to start making a warp immediately good for my tendencies to rush on (making chaos as I go) It will enable me to work at the tying up particularly following ‘ trapuntos’ instructions. I am also thinking about colour and design and planning future projects. I am a machine knitter and have many cones of yarn. I have tended to buy cheap and I very much want to weave in a more thoughtful manner. All this preparation should produce something lovely….(I can dream!!)

This picture shows the absence of a back beam!

There seem to be many books for weavers but again I think I will restrain myself until I am clear what I really need. At the moment I feel a book on the countermarch loom and one on design ,colour and texture would keep me going .

I am not sure what kind of weaver my great great aunt was, but the reed and remains of a warp still clinging to the warp beam indicate she used fine yarn. I do remember seeing a sample book of hers. It was full of 8 shaft traditional patterns and in my opinion old fashioned and rather stuffy.

I was  pleased to find a shuttle amongst her bits and pieces though, beautifully shaped and with a Swedish maker’s name stamped on it..Gunnar Anderson

The loom has a patent NO 2057997 and another number MN 3A25 which could identify when it was made if it is the manufacturers number. I believe it to be one of the earlier Bergman looms as it does not have some of the later refinements. It is just over 48″ high, 32″ wide and the weaving width is approx 24″ though I have not woven yet.

I am not satisfied with my tie-ups. I know that the blind cord I am using is shiny and I think that with use it will lengthen. As I grow in confidence I think I will feel competent enough to order Tex-solv paticularly for shaft, lamm tie-ups. The treadles are fine as I am making use of the cords which were already on the loom. I think the blinds in my bathroom have cotton non-shiny cords so I may just go and chop some off so that I can continue with my experimentation……

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I ordered some loom cord not feeling rich enough or confident enough to invest in tex-solv just yet. The cord arrived. I then realised that I needed something much thinner for shafts etc and it was only OK for the treadles. There were tie-up cords on all the treadles (40 years old mind you) which I had never really investigated and just presumed would have to be replaced. I felt rather stupid that in my desire to make a start and save money I have wasted quite a lot. But I am in a complete over- excited state and want to start but am apprehensive that either I or the loom won’t work and I don’t want to find this is all a dream and its all beyond me! The loom cord will be useful when I am weaving lovely things one day and need complicated tie-ups!!!!!

I need a back beam as mine is missing, so i can’t weave anything until thats made.

This morning I received a letter announcing that my eagerly awaited hip replacement is on August 15th! Will I be able to weave when I come home . Will it be first-class occupational therapy actually employing the movement analysis I so half heartedly absorbed whilst at OT college?  Having never used the weaving  I learnt at college I am about to experience weaving as a therapeutic medium! Sounds awful doesn’t it?  I think I want to weave for its creativity not for health.

I know its probably not the right stuff but we have a soft-furnishing shop within walking distance and I bought some blind cord. It seemed to suffice even if only long enough for me to gain confidence. My loom is American and was designed and built by a Swedish lady, Margaret Bergman and her husband in the US between 1930 and 1960 (when my aunt lived in New York). There are no instructions and it is only by scouring the Web that I have found 2 people using Bergman looms. The jacks are connected to the lower lamms by wires. Mine were extremely rusty. I bought wire but found it impossible to fiddle around with the length. Trying to achieve this almost made be abandon the project. I bought some more blind cord and the result is 100% better.

At the possibility of giving experienced weavers nightmares I lashed a bit of wood onto the place where the back beam goes. I cut 12 ends of yarn and threaded it through the heddles and tied it to the front roller. I so much wanted to see if I had a shed. Yes is the answer. Its somewhat uneven in places and does not have the sleek appearance of the warps I have seen in photos on the Web, but it is a start. Yesterday in the hours I spent under the loom, becoming stiffer by the minute, I learnt so much. It is so true that we learn by our mistakes. I have great difficulty in maintaining which lamms rise and which lower and which I actually require. i have always found maths tricky and I suppose its another of those brain wiring situations. Some of us just seem to function in reverse for spatial stuff!

When I get really frustrated and angry with my failures to balance this loom I get out the wax polish and feed  it. The years of storage in the most unlovely attics, sheds and garages has left the maple dull and blotchy. Its already recovering. I feel ‘it, is inadequate and like a ship I am sure this loom is ‘she’ and should have a name. A slightly bossy and old-fashioned name. Possibly Marjorie after my great-great aunt her original owner, or Marge (she’s not very Madonna like) I will give it some thought!

I’m off to read more blogs about weaving, and then order a warping board ,cross sticks and a reed hook.

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