Skip to content

New Vendor: Harrisville Designs by Kitty Robertson Morse, Heirloom Wooden Toys

March 14, 2011

The classic Potholder Loom from Harrisville Designs

We’ve just added a nice assortment of textile craft kits from Harrisville Designs, and I wanted to give you some background on this wonderful company.  I love these small, family owned manufacturers that are not only committed to making quality products, but also are working to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of their small town – and they are usually in a small, incredibly picturesque town.

From their catalog:

“Woolen yarn has been spun in the water-powered, brick mill town of Harrisville since 1794.  This small village is nestled in the Monadnock Highlands of southwestern New Hampshire and 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.

The last woolen mill in Harrisville closed in 1970, when the fashion world turned, temporarily, to synthetic double-knit fabrics.  We established Harrisville Designs in 1971 with a goal of preserving the textile heritage and economic vitality that had sustained the village for almost two hundred years.

We are a small, family owned and operated business, and we believe that quality should not be compromised for even the smallest product.  There is a great tradition of textiles in our community and in our culture, and we are happy to share that tradition.”

If you haven’t introduced your kids to textile crafts yet, these are some simple, inexpensive ways to start.  Even very small children can participate in the fun of the Felted Ball kit – just dunk the wool in warm soapy water and squish away.  My daughter Julia made about 50,000 potholders, and we still use them (she’s 16 now).  I have a few set aside for holidays but the everyday ones are well-loved.  A slightly older child might enjoy the challenge of a lap loom project.  And these practical skills are great for development of fine motor skills, simple math, spatial reasoning, patience, and problem solving.  They are wonderful things to share with a crafty Grandma or Grandpa as well!  (My late father-in-law was raised on a farm, and every kid – boys and girls – learned how to knit and darn socks.  It was the Depression, after all.)

Keep in mind that young children learn by doing, and the process is more important than the finished product.  They’ll be happier working on these projects if you focus on enjoying the activity and the time you spend together, and if the potholder comes out wonky, well, so what?  All the benefits of completing the potholder are still there.  Just do another one and see how that one comes out!

Harrisville, New Hampshire

If you are looking to buy a gift or toy for your child or grandchild, think of Heirloom Wooden Toys where we provide sustainable, safe wooden toys, games and furniture that will last for generations to come.  You can shop by Age, Price, Brand, or just browse hundreds of products for all kinds of kids.  Many of our products are Made in the USA so you can support businesses that are keeping jobs at home.  Looking for custom products?  We have a large selection of items that can be personalized or engraved with your name or message.  Free Shipping on orders over $99!  Contact Kitty Robertson Morse at or (866) 202-8073.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2011 7:47 pm

    potholders were my absolute favorite thing to make when i was a little girl. i cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to make them. such a wonderful toy/activity!

    • April 4, 2011 5:31 pm

      Hi Shari,

      Yes, these are great! I really do still use the ones my daughter made nearly every day. I think it’s great for kids to make something that they can use and see us using – it’s wonderful for them to feel helpful and to contribute to the family. How old is your daughter?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: