I am new to weaving and have a Harrisville 36 " 4h/4t floor loom and would like to make some small rugs but through other posts to the board am told it can't be done on this loom. I don't want a heavy rug just something to go in front of a door.  Is it possible on this loom? Any suggestions on yarn for this project? 

Thanks in advance for any help.


tommye scanlin

... just not the heavy tensioned and beaten ones that would require a sturdier loom.  I think you could do rag rugs, for instance, using a cotton carpet warp and fabric strips.  The problems that could arise that were mentioned in reply to your other posts would be ones that you'd want to watch out for but I think you'd be able to make a few perfectly acceptable rugs for your use with the loom.

I've used a Harrisville loom for weft faced weaving, doing several samples of pick and pick and also clasped wefts for a class I taught a couple of years ago.  It worked just fine for that--the warp for those samples was cotton seine twine and was tensioned tightly.

Trying out the loom is the best thing to do, in my opinion.  Bit by bit you'll know what the limits are with the loom and choose projects that fit within those limits.  


Sara von Tresckow

"Just something to go in front of the door" - if you are young enough, your loom will make "rugs", but rugs that will "rumple". While light rag rugs or not firmly woven wool rugs can look quite nice, it is definitely a safety hazard to put them on the floor in a home, especially in a doorway where there is foot traffic. (Say, under a spinning wheel, coffee table or other light traffic area, other rules apply.)

Since I started doing occasional knotted pile projects and Navajo weaving, I have come to appreciate the effect of using a tapestry fork or beater (of a fairly large size with a bit of weight) on even a flimsy rigid heddle loom. I now would recommend that a weaver with a lightweight loom use a hand beater to firm up the weft rather than the beater on the loom - and have less wear and tear on the loom while creating a decent rug that won't cause the people in the house to slip and fall. Using the hand beater will slow you down, but the results should make it worthwhile.

Joanne Hall

Warp tension is an issue with the loom you have.  Our weavers guild has one of these looms and if you tighten the warp, especially a rug warp, do it with your hands on the cloth beam.  If you use the handle on the cloth beam to do this, you can split the wood of the cloth beam.  We have had to repair the loom our guild has and the weaver was just weaving cotton fabric, not a rug.

The other issue with small looms is that they are assembled with screws rather than bolts.  With heavy use, the screws wiggle loose.  So, keep the screws tight and check them often.  Wing nuts can also work loose so check those frequently as well.


mrdubyah (not verified)

Ignore the naysayers.  You can definitely do it.  I made several rag rugs and half a dozen heavy wool rugs on an HD that I owned before I got my Macomber.  Those rugs are fine and still in use.  Try to keep the warp as tight as you can.  You will have to beat very hard, and may occasionally need to tighten the fasteners that hold the loom together.  It's true that you won't get as tight a rug as you might get from a heavier loom, but it's still absolutely do-able.  If you're worried about skidding, put a no slip pad under the rug or apply some non-skid to the bottom side.  Go for it!

Jane Greer

thanks everyone, I may give it a try

jj50 (not verified)

I was one of the "naysayers" on another thread!


Sara addressed the primary problem I had with the finished rugs - they are too unstable, and therefore dangerous for high traffic areas. I use them in low traffic areas.


Along with the advice others have given, take care to make sure your warp is well wound so you don't put uneven tension on the loom increasing the risk of damaging it. I made a major improvement to my HD in the middle of the first rug. I put stick on felt furniture feet on the inside corners of the first three frames to dampen the sound of the frames clanking together, which is much louder during heavy beating required with rug weaving. 


I am getting my Harrisville 36" 4 H, 6 T, this week coming up (and am so excited). I sold my Kessenich which is an awesome rug loom and was wondering how hard it will be to transition. I weave rugs but more like tapestry rugs, meaning I don't use them on the floor, so I'm not real concerned with safety and what not. Pretty sure Collingwood used the 36" Harrisville in his video about block weaving and shaft switching, so it worked out ok for him. 

So I guess what I'm asking in a rambling, disjointed sort of way is how much difference is there between the 36" and the 22" loom as far as weaving sturdier fabrics?

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