Ask Madelyn: Sizes for Table Runners

I have decided to embark on a table runner for my niece. What size do you recommend? Also, what cotton yarn do recommend for table runners?

Madelyn van der Hoogt Jun 8, 2022 - 4 min read

Ask Madelyn: Sizes for Table Runners Primary Image

Palaka-Inspired Canvas Weave runner by Kate Lange Mckibben. Photo by Matt Graves

I love having your video Warping Your Loom; it is a go-to before every weaving project. With that being said, I don’t get to weave often enough, but today I have decided to embark on a table runner for my niece. What are the typical sizes recommended? Her table length is 77". (Also, what cotton yarn do you recommend for table runners?)
Thank you,

Hi Ellen!

I thought this was a really interesting question. My guess is that most weavers don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about the exact measurements of table runners; at least I haven’t. Table runners are such an ideal project for a weaver (they are rectangular, require little finishing, are wonderful in any pattern weave, use commercially available yarns, present a great palette for color, etc.) that more thought goes into color, pattern, and yarn than into precise measurements. Most of my table runners have really been woven because I wanted to try a particular weave structure or pattern and they only became table runners because they already looked like table runners when they came off the loom. (And you can never have too many table runners, putting them almost anywhere in the house.) (And you can call any rectangle a table runner.)

However, there are some reasons to care about table runner size. If you are planning one for a particular dining table (as is your situation), then there is one question I’d ask. Do you want the runner to remain in place when people are eating at the table? In that case, you would want to leave room beyond the runner for place settings. I’m thinking that would mean an area 12-14" between the runner and the edges of the table. In the diagram below, I’ve guessed at the possible size of a runner allowing 13" around the table runner.

Table-runner-on-table If you want a table runner that can stay on the table when it is set, weave a runner that leaves sufficient space around it for place settings.

This question made me curious enough to look at table runner sizes in the three available eBooks: Best of Handwoven Top Ten Table Runners on Four Shafts, Top Ten Table Runners on Eight Shafts, and Technicolor Table Runners on Four and Eight Shafts. They are all in different widths and lengths; I’ve listed them all below in columns, starting on the left with the thinnest which was 10" and ending on the right with the widest which was 19". It’s sort of interesting that a middle range is about 14" in width and 40–45" in length.

Table-runner-sizes Table-runner sizes in the three eBooks range from 10" to 19" wide and 21" to 71" long.

And about your second question: Most of the table runners in the eBooks are woven in 10/2 pearl cotton. In most weave structures, this yarn makes a table runner with an ideal hand. But just as successful are 5/2 pearl cotton, 8/2 un-mercerized cotton, 16/2 linen, and more.


If you have a weaving question we would love to hear from you! Please email Madelyn!

Originally posted November 3, 2017 Revised on June 08, 2022