Harrisville Designs: Celebrating 50 Years

You may be familiar with our woolen-spun yarn, handmade floor looms and award-winning Friendly Loom product line, but do you know the story of how Harrisville Designs came to be? 

We were founded 50 years ago by John and Patricia Colony—a family with five generations of textile experience. Our business emerged from a dark time in Harrisville’s history when, like too many other New England towns, the local mill closed leaving workers without jobs and historic buildings without occupants. Our village, which had once been alive with the sound of machinery and the bustle of workers, fell silent. 

Instead of walking away, the Colonys saw the closure as an opportunity to reimagine textile manufacturing for a new era. They founded Harrisville Designs in 1971 with the goal of creating quality, locally-made products with top-notch customer service. While our business has expanded through the years and is now run with two of John and Patricia’s three sons, we have never forgotten the values that inspired us 50 years ago—a commitment to quality, creativity, education, and giving back to our local community. We believe that the care that we put into our products, our many decades of experience and the sense of place that defines us is what makes us different. 

We want to thank all of our customers, instructors and students for their dedication and support over the last 50 years. Harrisville Designs would not be what it is today without you. Whether you have shopped with us from the very beginning or you’re new to the Harrisville Designs family, we look forward to bringing you new products, familiar favorites and top-notch service.

We invite you to help us celebrate this milestone anniversary by watching and sharing this new, short film about Harrisville Designs made by Ned Porter.

Check Out Our New 50th Anniversary Merchandise