Harrisville Designs is a family owned and operated business. The owners of Harrisville Designs, John and Pat Colony, grew up in Harrisville and John’s family used to own the mill and many of the houses and buildings in the village.
Most of that was lost in 1971 with the closing of the mill. John helped start Historic Harrisville, a non-profit, which now owns many of the “core buildings” in the village including the General Store. They raised their three sons here and two of them have come back to help with the business, so the tradition goes on!
What makes Harrisville Designs different? They card and spin their own yarns in their little spinning mill in Harrisville, New Hampshire. They also make beautiful floor looms, accessories and Friendly Loom™ Products for Children.
Oh indeed they sell Living Crafts in their store! Photo by Clare Knauss
My family has so far used their floor loom, lap loom, and the Potholder Loom. Also, I love the fleece they offer in many colors, and with a very reasonable price, which comes to only $2 per ounce.
Nestled into the Monadnock Highlands of New Hampshire is the tiny brick mill village of Harrisville, where yarn has been spun since 1794. It is the only industrial community of the early 19th century, in America, that still survives in its original form. In 1977, the Department of Interior designated Harrisville a National Historic Landmark. (Harrisville is one of a few village districts – it’s not just a building.)
The last woolen mill, in Harrisville, closed in 1970 when the fashion world turned, temporarily, to synthetic double-knit fabrics. Harrisville Designs was established, in 1971, with a goal of preserving the textile heritage and economic vitality that had sustained the village for almost two hundred years.
Beginning with a line of high quality woolen handweaving and knitting yarns, they soon branched out into handweaving looms and equipment. Then came the children’s product line.
Award-winning Friendly Loom™ Products
Harrisville Designs developed the first of their Friendly Loom™ Products in the 1980’s in response to a growing demand from educators and parents concerned with introducing ‘hands on’ creative activities to children and teenagers. These products are designed to provide fun, challenging, educational experiences while developing concentration, fine and gross motor control and a better understanding of spatial relationships and patterning.
In this fast-paced world where children are being forced to grow up too quickly, the folks from Harrisville Designs believe that it is essential to help them slow things down and experience their creative abilities by introducing them to the joys of working with their hands. Harrisville Designs’ products are useful tools for helping children discover the excitement of the creativity that is within them. John and Pat Colony believe that quality should not be compromised for even the smallest product. There is a great tradition of textiles in their community and culture, and they are happy to share that tradition with their customers.
Grandma and Me: Pass it On Program
Harrisville Designs recognizes the invaluable role that grandmothers often play in passing on their skills and interests in the textile arts to their grandchildren. We salute their patience and devotion. When you see this logo you know that this product is a Harrisville Designs’ recommended “Grandma and Me” activity. “There’s something special about teaching children to work with their hands,” say the owners.
This silent gem of a book called Woolworks! Teaching to the Standards with Fiber Arts A Curriculum Guide for Teachers of Grades 3 – 8, by Lorna McMaster, is a great guide to take any parent and teacher through a comprehensive fiber education for children. You’ll find the Table of Contents online so you know what you are expecting when you order this guide, organized in a large binder, which is easy to use.
A Loom to Giveaway
The folks at Harrisville are giving away their Easy Weaver (Size B) Loom. The retail value is: $185. The measurements are: 18″ long x 18″ wide and it comes with a beautiful 100% virgin wool warp on it in a Tartan plaid design (teal, rusts and chianti red) 15″ wide and 3-1/2 yards long. It has two 16″ stick shuttles, an Illustrated Instruction Booklet and The Easy Weaver Book of Project Ideas! The Easy Weavers are recipients of The Parents Choice Gold Award and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal “Best Toy” Award.
To enter a drawing to win this beautiful loom, please leave a comment here by 8 p.m. EST, Sunday, March 6th. Winner will be announced on Monday.
And the winner is…