ByrdCall Studio
Photo by Ken Koons

Greetings, Friends . . .

I've got my BOOKS! Do you have yours? 
RYA RUGS--Design and Make Your Own is printed and being mailed out each and every day now.  

In this Issue:
  • Life After Publication
  • Ordering a Book
  • Website vs Etsy Shop
  • 208 Members in Rya Rug Friends
  • Murray Bloom has Died at 98
  • My Secret Yarn Stash Moves on
  • Online Video Rya Connections
  • Dealing with COVID-19--How Can we continue to help each other?
  • Mentors Available and Needed
  • Frequently Asked Questions and ... 


Life After  Book

My friends have been asking me, "So how do you feel now that the book is done? Are you going to get back to carving woodcuts?" I sigh and say that I don't really know what is next.  In fact this COVID-19 pandemic started to hit hard in our area just days after I picked up the books from the printer. There has been no normal life since then. 

I must say that I feel a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders. There was always the pressure of knowing that every night when I went to bed for many years, a major "job" was unfinished. That feeling is gone.

In the last newsletter, I announced the two-week PRE-ORDER period. As soon as I received the books, I sat with the books one at a time and signed each to the person ordering it--I actually know by name 90% of the people even though I have never actually met most of them. It was an emotional experience.

My to-do list is extensive. In the short term, I want to keep sending out my books and getting people started on their ryas, but I also want to survive this pandemic, plant my garden, walk with my dog and husband, cook delicious food each evening, and exercise.  I also want to clean up the messy corners of my house that I ignored for eight years, read from my huge collection of books I've ignored for eight years, start brewing beer again (I brewed for 25 years then stopped as incentive to get the book done.)

In the long run, I want to plan rya classes, travel and talk about rya and sell books to rya fanatics around the world. I want to live long enough to see others offering the services that I offer--teaching rya, selling supplies, encouraging rya friendships and sharing. (Maybe you?)

One day at a time.

Photo by Carol Solinger
PS I was so fortunate to be able to gather with many of my nearby friends to celebrate the publishing of the book on March 1st. It was before we knew of the severe social restrictions which were soon to come.


Ordering a Book
In September I polled our Newsletter readership to get a general feel for how many of you might be interested in buying a book when they are released. Many of you said YES!  That helped me decide to start with an order of 500 hardbacks to be followed (when half are gone) by an edition of 500 paperback books.  But saying you were interested in buying a book was not actually ordering a book. Now you can.

Now would be a great time to place your order if you have not already done so. I got all the bugs worked out early in the preorder period.  It seems that the USPS Media Mail is working great for residents of the USA. All books mailed within the USA (whether you buy through my Etsy Shop or my website) will be sent safely and fairly quickly without problem. (None that I know of to date--knock on wood.)  

Since there is no Media Mail rate for international orders, check out my Etsy shop just for international orders in which the postage is quoted for the buyer according the the country to which it is being shipped. It will be promptly shipped.

The Book is hardbound with matte laminated cover. It has 298 pages with approximately 500 color photos. It weighs about 2.5 lbs. The price is $49.00. In it I have shared every morsel of my knowledge on designing and making your own rya rug, a little history, some good stories from across the globe, and all suppliers known to me at the time of publication. 

A Few Etsy Comments I Have Received:

"This book is a visual feast! It has been lovingly created with great detail and full instructions on how to get started with this wonderful art form. I highly recommend this book.   ~ Deanna

"I was like a little kid in a candy store as I went into the post office to pick up my book. All the excitement well worth it. I've gone from looking through the book to reading it. Melinda has a true love of her craft and it shows in this marvelous, informative and beautiful book."
~ Heidi

"Fantastic customer service! Love the new 
book! I devoured it in 2 days. Now on to design an d using the math for figuring out the yarns. So exciting!"   
~ Lisa

"For everyone who receives your book in the coming weeks, it will be like, a beautiful nugget of beauty, light, and civilization during this challenging period.
Will give you more feedback as I read."  ~ Lori (right)


My Website
Byrdcall Etsy Shop
When to use which???
(It doesn't matter)
The ETSY Advantage:
I've run my Etsy shop for 12 years.  There are about 140 listings of rya supplies, kits, T-shirts, notecards, art, etc. If you go to a listing on Etsy, you will see up to 10 photos of the item, a detailed listing, honest reviews from customers, and you can easily check out with the cost of shipping automatically calculated for each customer.  

I like Etsy. I've met many of you through your Etsy shopping. I can automatically print out the shipping labels and relist the items if I have more than one on hand. Their fees are pretty low and worth the convenience.

The WEBSITE Advantage:

My website is all about Byrdcall Studio--my work and my services. It focuses on rya. (Unlike Etsy which has me and about 300,000 other artists and vendors.) The new website is beautiful and evolving.  Let me know what you'd like to see more of, and tell me if you have any trouble with anything. It is a work in progress.  

In my website SHOP, you can easily list all the Rauma yarn you want to buy, and backing, needles, etc. even easier than on Etsy because you can add to your shopping card exactly what you want, not how I might group items on Etsy. On the website, you can add things to your cart, and remove them from the cart. Credit card payment is accepted on the spot. I am notified by email whenever a purchase or comment is made.

As the months go by, I will add more items you might be looking for such as T-shirts, block prints on paper, and more. Just remember that I am
one person managing  both shops as well as the rest of my life.

Go to my website to read recent or archival Blogposts or to check my Calendar of Events--which has nothing now because everything is on hold until the Coronavirus passes. 


Good bye, Murray Bloom
Photo by Jeremy Bloom

If you have my book, you might have smiled at "The Many Faces of Rya" in the back of the book.  Murray Bloom from Novi, Michigan was a regular customer for the past 8 years or so. He called me whenever he completed a kit to order the next one. He gave each to family members and loved ones. Every time he called, he'd say, "So, is your book done yet?" I would sheepishly say "No, not yet." He told me to hurry up and finish it because he wasn't getting any younger. When I finally had the book I print, I called Murray, but found his phone number not in service. So I googled him and found his obituary. Murray Bloom died on Dec. 11, 2019 at 98 years of age. Getting the book in his hands was one of my driving forces for completion of the book. 
Not to be. He had completed around 40 ryas!


Vintage Yarn Supply What's left?

Pull out your Byrdcall Samples Package to update.

Since the last newsletter, all my Åsborya yarn has sold. Åsborya fans can purchase it through Tell them Melinda sent you. 

The Frosta yarn is all gone except for these hot colors: Lemon, orange, tangerine, and a little raspberry. (The Goldenrod color just sold out.)

As I reorganize the studio, I will surely come across other treasures which I will share with you in up-coming newsletters.

Though not vintage, I have these Rauma Ryegarn colors not on your sample cards shown in the photo below which may be colors you are looking for.  Navy blue is a rarity in rya yarn.  

These ryegarn colors are not on any sample card. I have roughly 5-10 skeins of each of these colors. I will try to order more if I sell out.  $16.00 each


Reaching Out to Stay Sane
Bringing Rya Online in 2020

In the past couple of months, everything has changed in our thoughts of the future. Maybe later this summer we can socialize freely, may in the fall COVID-19 will become less of a threat.  In time there will be treatments and vaccinations.  But for maintaining sanity and to direct our focus toward more productive outcomes, what a great time to hunker down and learn something new or make something? I have a bumper stick on my car that says "Art Saves Lives." I believe it.

I have had a busy social life for Happy Hour on Zoom video online with friends and family.  It is so comforting to be connected visually.  I had put off thinking about doing online video classes until the book was done. Now it is out. I was contacted by some of the leaders of the Common Ground on the Hill Traditional Arts Camp recently wondering if we do have to cancel the summer program this year...could I teach a class online?  

I've been giving it thought. My Finnish friend, Jenni Vanhanen, was named Finland's Artisan of the Year and has been widely recognized for her achievements in bringing new life to the rya process in Finland in recent years. She currently has an on-line class with over 100 students about ready to start! This is fascinating to me and must be carefully planned so it works for everyone.  I'm working on ideas.  

I'm thinking of coming up with several different categories of classes to offer. 

  • For brand new rya learners:  Getting started
  • For people who have made ryas and now want to design their own
  • For people who purchase a kit and want a basic guidance class to get started on their kits. Q&A
  • Creative designing and ordering supplies
  • Maybe a Rya Friends Happy Hour where you can share your ideas and projects along with your Quarantinis.
I will use the Facebook Byrdcall Studio Rya Rug Friends Group to poll interest and formulate sign up rosters. Don't worry, I will have it in the next newsletter, too.

I will probably ask designing students to purchase a book so all the answers will be at their fingertips and the class can be directed to certain pages for better understanding. These thoughts are in their infancy, so please share your comments on the Facebook Friends page.  See below.



Rya Rug 
Group on Facebook
For Great Conversations

You are not going to believe some of the rya works happening around the world. Stay in-the-know all month long! I am loving this addition to our Rya Rug Revival. There is a lot of brilliance in this group...keep sharing.  I'll throw in my 2-cents on occasion.   ;-)  We have 208 members now!

If you are intrigued by making REAL rya rugs, the only good reason NOT to join is if you are not a Facebook person.  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! No product promotions, please.

Here is a recent addition to the Friends Page. This gorgeous rya is being designed and knotted by Carol Solinger of Odenton, MD.  It takes my breath away.


Frequently Asked Questions...

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

A:  Email me at If you have a question too complicated to type as an email, then call me at 
410-615-2473 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.  (I have completed disconnected from the AOL email address I had so make sure you don't have that one recorded anywhere.)

Q:  Where am I located and what are my 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 410-615-2473 and please leave me a message.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, I will respect social distancing and will be happy to set your orders on the front steps for contact-less pick-ups if you like.

Q:  So how did I 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

My Etsy Shop has just about everything for online buying. My Etsy shop is convenient because you can see up to 10 photos of each item for sale.  Etsy also calculates your postage automatically according to size and weight and where you live. That saves me lots of time....Not that I don't love communicating with you, but that is my #1 time-consumer in the day.

My Website is now up and running. It doesn't have everything I offer at this point, but in time, it will grow to reflect all I have to offer.

As shops start to carry my books, I will list them as resources on my website.

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.


Let's Double Our Mentorships!
22 Mentors in USA, Canada, Mexico, and Europe

Let be creative in how we help each other.  It wouldn't be wise during self-quarantine to have strangers over to share rya tips, but Mentors can Skype, Zoom, Bluejean with individuals or several people.  I don't have to be the only one to host gatherings of like minds.

When someone feels stuck in their rya work. Maybe they forgot how to make the knot. It happens. Rya help could be just a phone call away  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 internet privacy).  

Could we go from 22 mentors to 40 this month? Thanks to those of you who have offered to be of assistance if there is a neighbor in need:
  • Larry in Hyde Park, UT
  • Gail in Black Mountain, North Carolina
  • Holly in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jackie in Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Kristin in Deland, Florida
  • Tina in San José, California
  • Kris in Paynesville, Minnesota 
  • John in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
  • Janet in Monmouth County, New Jersey
  • Inger in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Marsha in Sun City, Arizona
  • Madeline, south of Tucson
  • Paul in Tucson, Arizona
  • 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
  • Angie is 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. If you want to be connected to a mentor, just ask me.


So I leave you in hopes that every single one of us not only survives the coming months, but comes through with new appreciation of the the good things in our lives. 
May your families and friends 
stay close in creative ways.
Stay safe.




Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio, LLC
Woodbine, MD


Save the Dates!

Postponed Until Better Times

Author Interview by Ted Zaleski
sponsored by Carroll County Public  Library


Rya Rug Making Class at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD
Keep your eye out for the 2020 catalog of classes. Rya classes will be offered Monday-Friday 
July 6 - 10 from 1:00 - 3:45 PM

Get on their mailing list so you can check out other class listings to round out your week at camp.

Open Studio
Drop-In days
These monthly dates for Rya Sewing Circle 
will resume soon.
Look for update in the next newsletter.

I am open to receiving ideas from nearby rya people for best days of the week and timing. For example week-days? week-ends?

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