ByrdCall Studio

Did you miss me?  I didn't really go anywhere, I've just been up to my ears in activities and "stuff" and didn't find time to write. Here's a quick synopsis of what's been going on and things to look forward to.  

JoAnn Zaleski, one of my Studio Angels, assists 
during a Studio Workday earlier this week.

In this Issue:
  • Winter Catch up with Byrdcall Studio
  • Book Update: The Final PUSH!
  • Got Snow?  Rya Cleaning Time
  • Join our Rya Rug Friends Facebook Group.        85 members sharing rya  
  • Mentors Available and Needed
  • Video Podcast with Darn Good Yarn
  • Sharing Time: Nice rack! 
  • Looking for a home for the Last of donated Swedish supplies
  • New Rya Book Markers!
  • Frequently asked Questions and ...
  • Wishes for a Happy New Year!


My Excuses for 
Vanishing for 2 Months

I promise I didn't forget that many of you are anxiously awaiting the release of my book or waiting to be inspired by photos of the ryas others are making.  So here is my list of excuses:  The pre-holidays, the holidays, and post-holidays. One bad cold.  Rya kits and T-shirt orders had me hopping! Right before Christmas, I had a surgical procedure to fix a trigger finger which left me with a palm full of stitches for two weeks. (Now healing and almost back to normal.)  

The daily toll on book-writing and editing comes mainly in the form of email inquiries and sharings.  Don't get me wrong--these can be the highlights of my day, but sometimes the sun sets and I haven't even opened the book document.  I am painfully aware of how long seven years of a project is.  BUT, all that is changing soon....


And the BOOK?
Yes, believe it or not, 
it's in the final stages of completion!

Ken Koons shoots a photo of
Firedance, designed and made by my mother in about 1968. I am recreating that design as a future kit.
Here is the low-down. I have finished writing everything I plan on writing.  I have all copy-edits back from Jenna, changes have been made, and all chapters have been read and re-read by me and--as of today--the final chapters have been sent to my book producer, Ken Koons, for addition of the last remaining photos.  We have a couple more photo-shoots to go, then comes the scrutiny and pronouncement of it being COMPLETE.  It will then be edited by two more people:  one with lots of rya experience and one with no rya experience so clarity for beginners can be assured. Then when final changes are made, it will go to the hands of the very professional Indexer for indexing!   What isn't in the book at that time will have to wait until the movie release. Or at least the follow-up videos. (Smiley face.) 


Bring out your Ryas!

Cleaning my 60 year old rya named "Ringar" from the first Berga rya catalog from the 1950s...made by my grandparents. 
 Photo by Ken Koons

A huge number of my newsletter subscribers just got a pile of snow in the past day or two.  Take advantage of this free dry-cleaning service by Mother Nature.  

Take all your ryas (or any rug you have as a matter of fact) outside, lay it in the snow, then shake it again and again with fresh snow.  Repeat.  

In the video I made about 7 years ago , you might have seen me stomping all over the rya in the snow, but I think a more gentle approach is wiser now.  It really works, and your rya will thank you.  No charge for this public service announcement.


97 Members the 
"Rya Rug
Friends Group"
as of 1/22/19
Maybe You will be #100?

Welcome to all the new members of this Facebook Group. I am loving this addition to the Rya Rug Revival.  In fact, it allows me to focus on getting my book written while you pose questions to one another and get great responses from your peers. In fact, I don't even have the "alert sound" turned on when someone posts a comment or photo because it would draw my attention away from my book writing (and that is the last thing I need in the final homestretch). I am just delighted every time I check out the Group, people are talking rya, sharing tips, and asking questions. There is a lot of brilliance in this group...keep sharing!  I'll throw in my 2-cents on occasion.   ;-)

If you are intrigued by rya rugs, the only good reason NOT to join is if you are not a Facebook person. Check out some of the recent postings.  There are many more, so I invite you to join the discussion or just peek in when you feel like it.

This photo was discovered on a Facebook page by Susan Macy Jarvinen.  She knew it was from Finland.  Then Hannele Rusila from Finland added details of the photo along with photos of the completed rya--or ryijy--in Finnish! Check it out.

And some fun postings:
Holly Janzen's kitty slows down Holly's progress on her rya wreath. (They are from Indianapolis.)  

Oh, heck, here's another cat shot too cute to leave out:

Katie Phipps from the coast of Washington state is making a very large rya.  See more pictures and details as she projects her design on the wall for design transfer.

If you are a member of Facebook (even if you never use Facebook) you can request to join this Group.  If you subscribe to my newsletter, you definitely should check this out. 

To join, go to my Byrdcall Studio Facebook page and go to GROUPS.

Click JOIN GROUP and you will be asked about your rya interest (to filter out spammers or those without any interest). You can answer in any way you want.  Then you can comment and share with each other.  Even if you just click on "like" when you see rya rugs that you like...that will make someone smile. To join, just  Click.  Consider this a  personal invitation!


Find a Mentor or Be One!
18 mentors in USA, Canada, Mexico, and Europe

Rya help could be in the next town...or maybe the next state.  I'm keeping track of everyone who is willing to assist a beginner get started with a kit or a design.  I gladly share the mentor's contact info with the person who needs help (but I do not post their phone numbers or addresses to ensure their privacy).  

Thanks to those of you who have offered to be of assistance if there is a neighbor in need:
  • Jackie in Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Kristin in Deland, Florida
  • Tina in San José, California
  • Kris in Paynesville, Minnesota 
  • Janet in Monmouth County, New Jersey
  • Marsha in Sun City, Arizona
  • Madeline, south of Tucson
  • Paul just moved to Tucson from Idaho Falls
  • Denise in Snohomish, Washington
  • Robbin--Vancouver/Savory Is., British Columbia 
  • David in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Eleanor in Fleischmanns, New York
  • Laurie in Chatham and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Recently Moved:  Angie is now near Mexico City
  • Polly in Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • Mia in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Marie in Scunthorpe/North England
  • and Marian in The Netherlands
You need NOT be an expert. All you have to do to change from a little white tag to a bright pink tag is be willing to help someone in your area get started.  I will contact you to make the connection...and no mentor to date has had more than one contact, so you are not going to be swamped!  Email me today.

I am only one person in Maryland.  But you all are all over the country and the world.  I'd love to share my joy of getting people started on their first ryas with YOU if you are interested. Just let me know.


Stay Tuned for the Release of a 
Video Podcast  with me 
and Nicole Snow of 
"Darn Good Yarn"

Nicole Snow 
Photo: Erica Stoeckeler @estoeckeler
I had a fun half hour last week doing a video interview podcast with Nicole Snow of Darn Good Yarn.  I first met her in Hartford at the Stitches United Conference where she bought her first rya kit called Anemone.  Since then she has bought two more kits from me.  We are both fairly high-energy women motivated by love in our hearts for sharing our yarn passions with others...and helping people in the process.  Read more about the story of Darn Good Yarn here. 

Nicole will soon be releasing her new podcasts "Made with Love" and our interview will be among them.  I should have a link for you in the next newsletter.  Stay tuned. "Start at Love..."


Sharing Time

I've found that most of the sharing lately has been posted directly onto the facebook Rya Rug Friends Group, and fewer sent to me directly.  That's another good reason to join that Group.

One thing I have never focused on (and would love more of your ideas) is racks for making your ryas.  I have always just had a designated table or hold them in my lap on the couch.  My grandparents who sold rya supplies all through my childhood never used racks. Recently others have shared ideas. Here is what Nicole Snow of Darn Good Yarn rigged up for herself.  She said it makes her work so much easier, and I believe her.
Nicole is using a quilters rack for her rya work.

And on the back, you can see how it is held in place with clamps.

Here is an old photo from the rya (rye) instructions from Rauma in Norway.  Same idea. Does anyone have a rack like this?  It certainly takes up less room than it would on the dining room table.

One rya rug image was sent to me recently that I just have to share is this one made by David McKenrick in Cincinnati.  It is his own design and has varying depths of pile.  It's electric!

On a side note, David's mother recently moved to an assisted living facility.  David (being the creative person he is) asked the activity director if the residents might enjoy a rya rug making demonstration--and perhaps if enough are interested they could do a collaborative effort of a community rya. Such a great idea and time-worthy project for the residents.  David, keep us posted, and have someone take a few pictures of the activity.  Now THAT'S what I'm talking about in keeping rya alive!

And the final Sharing of the day is ....
Remember last summer I received a whooping supply of Swedish embroidery yarns, canvases, kits, and even a whole rya in progress from an elderly woman who could no longer stitch?  Refresh your memory here.

90% of the supplies were gleaned over by able needle- artists who received what ever they wanted from the donation at no charge.  Now I must find a home for the remaining 10% of the supplies because I need the space for other supplies I sell.  

I don't have time to inventory it for you, but if a local person wants to come by the studio here (by appointment) and take all, I would greatly appreciate it.  You may find treasures, though in truth most have been taken.  But there is still a lot for a fiber artist to enjoy.  I'd be happy to pack a box to mail just for the cost of postage.  Let me know.  Thanks.


Just for Fun!
Shiny New Bookmarkers!

I had a pop-up ad from a printing company on my computer monitor the other day.  So, being a sucker, I clicked on it and next thing you know I was designing a book marker to add to each rya package I send out as a little gift and reminder to keep rya in mind.  Actually I really like it and have fun putting scrap yarn in them as a little tassel.  You'll find one in your next order for sure.

It says Knot On!  and 
Rya Rugs Rock!


Frequently Asked Questions...

The most commonly asked questions are:  

Q:  What is the best way to reach you? vector_mobile_phone.jpg

A:  Email me at If you have a question too complicated to type as an email, then call me at 410-549-4889 and leave a message. If I don't answer, I will call you back as soon as possible.  Please do not google-message me or facebook-message me because it's hard for me to keep track of all those messages systems.  

Q:  Where are you located and what are your hours?

A:  I work out of my studio located in my backyard in Woodbine, MD.  I do not have regular business hours, but I am more than happy to make appointments at the studio with anyone interested in what I have to offer. Give me a call at 410-549-4889 and leave me a message. 

Q:  So how did you get into this whole rya rug thing? 
This is such a frequently asked question, I'm leaving this link here because it is nicely put into a nutshell. Credit to Lyndi McNulty and  The Carroll County Times.

Finding my Work

Eclecticity  at 15 E. Main St., Westminster, MD now carries many of my shirts.  Drop by there and ask Shawn what she has in your size.  Tell Shawn "Melinda sent me." By the way, she represents many talented local artists. I recommend a visit.

My Etsy Shop has just about everything for online buying. When you buy through etsy, you allow me more free time to work on the book since written and verbal correspondence is minimal...Not that I don't love communicating with you, but that is my #1 time-consumer in the day.

Other Ways to Keep Up-to-Date:

Like my Facebook page:   Byrdcall Studio

Join the Facebook Group Rya Rug Friends  for all the latest in rya!

On Instagram, follow me at:   byrdcallstudio

And as always, feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you think might enjoy it.


Happy New Year!

happy_woman_jump.jpg And for me, this will be a very happy year because the book will soon be done. Initially I thought it was going to be a 6-month effort. I have learned a lot, and 7 years later we are smelling the barn, as they say.

During those 7 years I have bought back my grandparents rya supplies which were sold out of the family for 30+ years, I have been buying Norwegian supplies for several years now, I have been supplying hundreds of customers with rya yarn, backings, kits, needles, and assisting with designs as much as I am able. I have squeezed in a half dozen extensive classes for the local community and a few far away.

I have gradually stopped out of just about all my normal activities just so I'd have fewer interruptions to completing the book.  I have met a world of rya rug makers, yarn experts, museum curators, suppliers for the Nordic countries, and maybe even YOU!

2019 will open the door 
to all possibilities again!

And to Mia, my Swedish friend who contacted me about 6 years ago to say she was searching to learn how to make a rya rug... and firmed my resolution to do an excellent job on this book... because the rya art is worth keeping alive. Mia, I thank you today for the awesome hand-knitted Swedish yarn socks you made for me.  My feet are warm and comfortable!

And to ALL of you, you are the best for reading all the way to the end!



Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio
Woodbine, MD


Save the Dates!

Open Studio 
Drop-In day
These dates will resume as soon as the book is done!
Watch for the next newsletter--or two.

Rya Class at Common Ground on the Hill

Week I
June 23 - June 28
from 1 - 3:00 PM

Get on their mailing list at this link for other class listings to round out your week at camp.

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