Is anyone else experiencing "the time warp"? Weren't we just celebrating the new year a few weeks ago? And now the year is 1/4 complete...
One day at a time. Going to keep this letter pretty short and sweet. Lots of big things happening. Take a few moments to scroll down for anything that interests you.
Relax your mind...enjoy the photos.
- My exciting week teaching Rya in Hartford, CT
- An opportunity to restock your handprinted shirt supply: Sykesville's Art & Wine Fest, May 7 12-5
- Registration underway for Common Ground on the Hill. My rya class still has room if you sign up soon.
- Some Cool Rya Projects made by YOU! If you read nothing else, read this!
- My Book Progress
- Frequently asked Questions
My husband, John, helping with making 30 new poplar rya needle organizer blocks...very popular items in my etsy shop.
T-Shirts at Wine & Art Festival in Sykesville, MD on Sunday, May 7
This is a fun festival in "The Coolest Small Town in America" and a rare opportunity to get a new Byrdcall shirt. Yes, it's true, I'm not doing (many) shows anymore since I'm so focused on my rya revival, but two people approached me asking me to apply for this show, and, well, you know how it goes. Plus
I still have hundreds of
||Always happy to help you find the right shirt!
shirts, and some never-shown-at-shows-before shirts. Come on out and find me.
If you want buy an unlimited wine sampling ticket, it is $25, but you can browse the exhibitors' booths at no charge. Come see me! Event runs from noon to 5 PM.
Near New England?
Stop by Stitches United at the Connecticut Convention Center
My rya class has a full roster (YAY!) but I will be in "The Market," all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with The Yarn Guys showing and demonstrating the rya process with the Rauma wool from Norway. Stop in. Look for us around booths #401,403, 405.
Time to Register for my Rya Class at Common Ground on the Hill...
My class is July 3-7. Click on the poster below to go to the web site.
Been Up to Lately...
I am going to feature just a few of the rya artists who have shared their work with me over the past few weeks. Kristin Lindfors from Deland, FL made an original rya I'd like to share with you. First she bought my yarn sample cards to know exactly what was available. (smart) She impressed me with her initial yarn order because she used almost every type of rya yarn I sell and she had calculated how much she needed of each color. (Pretty impressive since she has not read "the book.") Her design is of a Sandhill Crane which is tricky in rya since it is a slim bird with slim legs and needs a very short pile. Kristin figured all that out.
With skillful color blending and by making a pile short enough to keep the slim form of the bird, but long enough to cover the backing completely and look truly rya-esque, Kristin created her first original rya, and a spectacular one at that. Don't you agree?
She wrote, "I graphed it out in pencil, and then as I worked along used different colored pencils to fill in the squares and rows to plan and keep track of when I changed the color combinations on the needle. At the end, the graph looked pretty psychedelic because I bounced all over the color wheel to note the changes! I used wire quilt hangers to hang this one and the previous kit, as well."
And just yesterday I received a photo of a completed original rya rug from Kris Johnson from Paynesville, MN.
He completed his first rya just over a year ago which was started by his Godmother. She had knotted about 25% of it. He completed it with the help of my rya yarn supplies. Here is the end result. Spectacular.
Then over the winter, Kris ordered a new Rauma backing, and all the ryegarn he needed to make this beauty of his own design.
I asked Kris if I could share his work and to tell me a little of its origins. Here is his reply:
"Melinda, Yes it would be fine to be a part of your newsletter. This latest rya was inspired from within to have balance, harmony and brilliant colors to keep the eyes moving and make it somewhat lively. The sample card of Rauma Ryegarn was also a big part of the inspiration too. The Great Journey refers to the long, long, journey of all humanity. Keep up the good work, all the best. Thanks. Kris"
And finally, remember Marsha in Arizona? Well, she was making a rya "kit" each month over the fall and winter it seemed, but this late winter she designed her own which has me blown away. Her sweet little dog, Baxster, is forever as a rya. In Marsha's words, this is how she developed this design:
"I started with an altered photo of my dog and traced it on the graph paper I got from Melinda. I then colored the graph design and created a yarn card using the yarn that I had on hand. My original vision was a brightly colored replica but as I progressed I was not happy with my color choices. I was so discouraged. Melinda advised taking Baxster for a walk and having a glass of wine. I took her advice and put it aside for a few days while my mind subconsciously worked on it. I got my yarn color cards out and selected colors I really wanted and ordered them. I altered my color card and my pattern. I started pulling out knots here and there of the colors that definitely did not work. It was fun to see it change. When I received the new yarn I really went to town and finished it. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. It will hang in my mothers bedroom in our house."
And here is the completed rya... and Baxster!
Most of the yarn is Rauma ryegarn, but some of it is her own home spun yarn. Talk about talent!
And here is a photo I love. I got a phone call one morning from Molly Solbak who knew exactly what Rauma rya kit she wanted to order for her husband. He had made many "back in the day," but due to unavailability here in the USA (and elsewhere) they hadn't found the Rauma kits. So I ordered the kit she requested...it took about 6-7 weeks to arrive. I shipped it to them immediately at their new "retirement home" in Pennsylvania, and she sent me this photo within a couple of days of the kit's arrival:
Arne Solbak doing what makes him the happiest. I love this picture because of the details. The pink highlighter to mark his graph paper, the beautiful rack with all his yarn displayed, the many rows knotted in just a couple of days, and an experienced rya rug maker using the "kavel" to wrap the yarn around for uniform loop-making. And it was snowing that day, and he wanted to knot in the snow!
If you would like to order a Rauma rya kit, I will get it for you as quickly as possible. I do have several on hand here in the studio. Check out this link below to download the catalogs of the "ryer" kits available to you today.
I hope to resume the Rya Sewing Circles next month.
This month has been too hectic. I want to schedule a special Sewing Circle for people who order a kit from Norway. In just an hour, I can help you with all the confidence you need to continue knotting the whole rya.
I also can mail you the kit, with first knots started, and good directions to follow, but a small group session is just plain fun!
Please share your rya projects so others can be inspired by what has gone before them. Thanks.
I am actually feeling optimistic that it is really coming together. My niece, Jenna, now has the third section and most challenging chapter (on Designing) for copy editing.
My book producer is caught up with all his photo additions and revisions for the first two segments... I want nothing more in the world at this moment (selfishly) than to have it done! (Or world peace would be nice.) And I can honestly say it is well on its way to completion. I am so thankful that you are being patient with me.
T H A N K Y O U !
Frequently Asked Questions...
The most commonly asked question is:
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.
Please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible. I also usually offer a Studio Drop in day each month--or almost each month. Please take advantage of those days when you do not need an appointment.
Finding my Work
at 15 E. Main St., Westminster, MD now carries my Unity shirts. This month, they are also offering a random color and size selection in: Listening, 3 Crows, Waste Not, and Thoreau/Simplify.
Off Track Art in Westminster
Art Notecards and various Shirts. I will bring a whole new collection of shirts there in a couple of weeks. I just delivered some of my original block prints mounted on wood for a ready-to-hang piece of art--no framing required.
That's all for now, my friends.
This past month has been an exciting one in the Byrd household and for Byrdcall Studio. We contracted with two local artistic stoneworkers to deconstruct, then rebuild our patio and stone wall. It is now complete. Let me know if you want their contact information...we couldn't be more pleased and would be happy to refer.
Access to the studio was limited for visitors, so I had very few visitors this past month and that is one reason why we had no Rya Sewing Circles. But the stoneworkers' work is complete and it is spectacular. Here is a peek. Next time you visit the studio, we can relax on the new patio.
hanks for sharing this time with me.
Save the Dates!
Sunday, May 7
noon - 5 PM
Art & Wine Festival
Featuring my hand-printed T-shirts
Common Ground on the Hill
June 25 - July 7
Sign up for
my rya class!