Monthly Newsletter ~February 2021
Finnish Ryijy & USA Rya Video Zoom
What were you doing on December 5th 2020? I was video Zooming with my friend, Jenni Vanhanen (of Iltamaa) in Finland as part of a Finnish Facebook Craft Group with over 60,000 members. It was a full week-end of approximately one-hour presentations and demonstrations. I believe I was the only English-speaking guest in the program. It was very fun.

What Jenni is doing in Finland is similar to what I am doing in the USA. We are sharing and reviving the art of rya/ryijy in our countries. This video was broadcast on Facebook, but now is available on YouTube at this link. If you are interested, I recommend you set yourself up with a rya project as you watch and listen. Unfortunately the voice/camera synch is "off" by a second or two, so it can be difficult to watch closely, but listening (as you knot, prepare dinner, or relax) will be quite a pleasant experience as you gain experience in this craft. Jenni and I both got a lot out of our first face-to-face conversation.

And I just learned that Jenni Vanhanen will be attending and displaying at the 2022 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival which is held every year (except 2020 and 2021) just 7 miles from Byrdcall Studio. I so look forward to meeting my ryijy/rya compadre in person.
Stresses of Slow Postal Service Deliveries
As I was preparing to write this today, I was going to say it seems the USPS has gotten back on track and all slow and late packages have surely arrived at their destinations. Then I walked to my mailbox this afternoon (1/29/21) and there was a lovely holiday card mailed on Dec. 16 from my nephew and his wife in Chicago! But overall, the mail seems to be on time now. COVID-19 hit the postal service hard, so I'm glad we all showed patience and understanding at the delays

I want to thank those of you who placed orders (which I shipped right away), but many sat in limbo for many weeks in the Baltimore USPS compartment trucks. Thank you for not hounding me to track them down. Tracking wasn't working half the time anyway! If anyone still hasn't received an order yet, send me an email.

And! Now that things are moving along, are you contemplating your next rya project? Let me know. I am very well stocked right now. Orders usually go out within 24 hours.
The Byrdcall Blog is Back on Track!
Naughty me let my blogging fall by the wayside, then the "program" changed and I didn't know what I doing anymore, so I didn't blog for a couple of months. I just posted one recently and soon realized that I was asking you to "Comment Below" but your comments were not being accepted. My wise website guy figured it out (the programs was way out of date) and now it is back on track. So please read and comment all you like.

Please check it out by clicking here. I am particularly interested in who among us would like to do a Rya Zoom meeting with like-minded people. Read how I'm suggesting we do small group gatherings and respond in the blog comments.

I also will be looking at your comments to see which of my blog ideas you want me to jump into next. Open to suggestions, too.
Eventually I will be teaching class series via Zoom. It will be so easy to have a group of potential designers with my book in hand, so I can say, "Turn to page 168 and look at Chart 1." Teaching will be a breeze with the book.
New Listings for earlier
Woodcuts and Linocuts in my Website Shop
For those of you who love black and white original prints, this is for you. Before I dove head first into bringing rya rugs back to the forefront, I was designing and carving blocks for printing on paper and on shirts.

I've shifted my focus to wool, but I still have a nice assortment of hand-rubbed block prints dying to be framed and hung in your home. I just listed about half of them on my website this past month. Take a look! You can order directly from the website.

And how many of you remember these designs handprinted on the shirts? Yes, I still have many, but not in every size and color. But why not take a look to see if I have something in your size, design choice, and color. Best to view them on Etsy. Click here.
Sharing Your Work With Others
Many of you will recognize this Rauma design by T. Kosonen-Buvik called Anemone. This rendition of Anemone was woven on a floor loom by long-time weaver Corwyn Knutson from Roseville, MN. He completed this one and another in the past couple of months to keep positive and productive through these pandemic months.

We want to remember that as fun and easy as it is to knot with a needle on a woven backing, weaving ryas is the true heritage of the craft. Notice the additional woven area at the top where Corwyn folded the top over to create a hollow hem for hanging it.
As a kit, Anemone is about 24" x 43".
Robyn Makaruk from Sonoma, CA is making an Anemone kit under the watchful eyes of her feline companion, Choo Choo. I like several things about her set up.The pink highlighter tape on her graph is helpful and will save her the frustration of wondering where she is on a graph.

She has also devised a brilliant technique for organizing her threading combinations. Look closely. She has tagged the strand combinations on her rack with the number or "code" symbols to match the graph.

Everyone sets up in their own way. My advice is to give it thought and decide what works for you. I like this technique very much. It's good for visually-oriented people.

I also commend her for keeping quality companionship nearby as she works. We don't get to see our friends as often as we'd like these days, so keep a pal nearby when possible.

Faith Mason in Eureka, CA had made Rauma rya rug kits back in 1975-80, then, like everyone else, stopped because supplies became so hard to find. In October 2020 she discovered my book on Etsy and ordered a book and a Ryegarn ponytail. Since then, she has made kits while working on designs of her own.

An old friend of hers, Betsy in CT just gave Faith a partially made Swedish Bergå kit named Bunkeflo (which Betsy had bought from my grandparents, the Lundgrens!) Faith just sent me a picture of the completed Bunkeflo. Nice work. -->

As the pandemic cruises at its own pace, I enjoy my new rya friends' conversations and emails around the country. Faith, along with many others have found joy and sanctuary in working with colorful hardy wool as they create their ryas.

This wonderful posting was shared on the Byrdcall Studio Rya Rug Friends Group page by a new member named Patricia Lynn Lynch. Her story is one I hear often, but this is best to read in her words.

"In 1979 after my grandmother, 'Grundy' passed away the Rya rug that she had started was packed up and put away.... waiting.... 42 years later, just a week ago, I discovered it in my attic. I remember this rug on her lap, in her bed as she pushed and pulled the needle through the tough backing. At that time she showed me how to stitch and weave the rug with the needle however, being a high school student with a new driver's license and the accompanying freedoms, I was uninterested in her craft. I am brought to tears now as a 58 year old woman being given the gift of this reconnection with 'Grundy'. Her words and her guidance have been steady companions to me over the years, 'Everything will come to pass in its time, Lynnie, just be patient.' Indeed, Mom-Mom Grundy, indeed!"
A Few Parting Comments
Stay Safe and Warm and Happy!
In the interest of getting this newsletter out to you today, I'm not going to struggle with adding all the things I normally add to the newsletter since that would take me hours with the new formatting requirements, so I will just leave you some links here for exploration.

I wish you all good things today and for the rest of 2021. We've come this far in pandemic times, hang in there and trust there will be good times in the future. We will be so ready for them. Let me know if there is anything I can do you help you with your projects. Hope to meet some of you face-to-face on a Rya Zoom hopefully later this month.

*Snow Clean Your Rya*

Are you getting a nice snowfall this winter? Don't pass on the opportunity to take all your wool rugs--rya or whatever--and give them a good dry cleaning in the freshly fallen snow.

Yes, I know some of you don't get snow in your area, but some of you DO.

Take advantage of it. It's free and even your wall-hangings and pillows will thank you.
Direct Link for Book Purchase
Whether you have been waiting for this book for years or if you are just discovering at this moment that it exists, no reason to hold off on treating yourself! The reviews have been excellent. It is now available in either hardbound or soft bound cover. Click on the cover image to learn more.
Price: $ 49 Hardbound
Price: $ 39 Softbound
S & H: $ 5.00
6% MD State tax for instate purchases only

Do you know anyone who would enjoy this book? I would so appreciate your support of sharing my book with anyone who might enjoy it. If you know a shop that might like to carry a few books, I sell wholesale. If you know someone who is bored due to not going out during the pandemic, they could design their own rya or get a kit. Share with anyone who might appreciate the boost. Thank you.
c/o Melinda Purcell Byrd, Owner
P.O. Box 162
Woodbine, MD 21797