How to Use 4 Harness Floor Loom

Things You'll Need

  • 4 harness floor loom
  • Warping board
  • Yarn

A four-harness floor loom is the image most people conjure when they hear the word "weaving." These looms are classified as foot-treadle looms and allow weavers to create wider fabrics, around 45 inches, and more complicated designs.

The weaving process begins with determining how much yarn will be needed for the length and width of the completed project. Using this total, calculate the threads per inch and sort the threads, by color and number, on a warping board.

The "warp" is the yarn attached to the loom itself and located in a vertical line in front of the weaver. The "weft" is the yarn the weaver pulls, horizontally, through the warp.

With the yarn sorted, it is time to attach the warp to the loom. This process is called "warping." Attach the yarn to the apron rod of the loom. Lock the loom's brake to give tension for the next step.

Take the yarn and separate the threads, piece by piece, and place each in the "rattle." This keeps the yarn in the right spot as you weave your design.

After the threads are sorted on the rattle, wind the rest of the warp onto the loom. The loom will have a crank handle in the back attached to the apron rod. The entire warp is wound onto this rod.

Now, it is time for sleying the reed. The reed is the comb-like piece on the loom which keeps the threads separate and in the right order. Pull each thread through the reed. Once complete, you can tie and knot the warp onto the front rod of the loom.

Pull each thread through the parallel wires in the harness, called the "heddle." The heddle guides and separates the warp threads. Each heddle is attached to a shaft which moves up and down, creating your design.

Treadles are the the peddles on the loom that are tied to the harnesses. As you weave and push the treadles, the four harnesses will rise and lift the warp threads. This creates a gap, called the "shed," for the weft thread to move through.

Move the shuttles, wrapped in the weft yarn, through the shed based upon your design. By pushing different treadles, different sheds will be created. As you pass the different shuttles through the sheds over and over, your project will take shape.

When the fabric is finished, cut the yarn from the front and back rods. Knot these end threads. Your woven fabric is done.


  • Paper between the layers of warp on the apron rod will keep the warp even and taut as you weave. Post office wrapping paper is inexpensive and works well.