ByrdCall Studio

Hello, My Dear Friends . . .

I must tell you that even though I don't know each and every one of you, I feel like you are my dear friends because you are the ones I am connected to the most during this pandemic and actually for many years before this. You share your lives and stories with me and I do the same with you.  In fact, this newsletter is my my primary communication source for many of my loved ones.  To feel more connection with one another I've asked you to share your rya projects for this and upcoming newsletters.  Thank you for the responses!

I hope you are doing well in surviving and hopefully thriving in some way as we all hunker down and care for one another.

BIG NEWS: With 2/3 of the hardback books sold, I have ordered and received a SECOND printing of my Rya Rugs book--this time in paperback!  Check it out.

In this Issue:
  • NEW Rya Book Now Available in both Hardback and Softback Covers!
  • Inventory Update - Great time to order a kit
  • Frostagarn has SOLD OUT. Update your Sample Cards
  • Designers' Tools for Ease and Success
  • International Shipping during the Pandemic
  • Thinking about Social Justice
  • Photo Sharing with One Another
  • A COVID Story Celebrating a Husband, Father, Friend, and Rya Rug-maker
  • 255 Members in Rya Rug Friends Group
  • Frequently Asked Questions and ... 


Available in 
Paperback Now!

Actually you have your choice now of hardback or paperback.  Both books are printed in an extremely high quality manner.

My goal was to make both copies available to you, but I had to start with one first.  Now I offer the other.

You can either purchase on Etsy at the following links:

or you can purchase either via my website:  

Other sources for hardback book purchases are:

Wall of Yarn  (Freeport, IL)
Vavstuga  (Shelburne Falls, MA)
Brazen Sheep (Berryville, VA)
and Iltamaa  (Finland)
I welcome your referrals of bookshops and libraries who might be interested in selling my book.  My local library system now has 2 copies for Carroll County folks to check out and enjoy at no cost.  Why not your library?


Inventory Update

All supplies I usually carry are fully stocked and waiting for their forever homes.

All Frostagarn--the vintage Swedish yarn I bought in abundance in 2016 is gone! All sold to happy homes around the country. You can update your sample cards. No more Frosta.

Lundgren Yarn is still available in these colors

You may have noticed that I don't list the Lundgren rya yarn on my website due to the fact that some quantities are very low and I would have to constantly update the website, but anytime you want any Lundgren yarn, just tell me what you need and I'll confirm the quantities available for you. Since I took this picture, color #41(turquoise) sold out.

Last Call:  I know some of you would give anything for this backing, so I have not listed it on Etsy yet.  I thought I'd give you another chance to consider buying this vintage backing. 

I recently purchased this 100 x 180 cm (38" x 70") Swedish backing from the mid-1970s.  It is in great condition with the gorgeous weave on both ends. There is a slight darkening along the fold line, but nothing that will show when knotted.  Modern day price would be about $250. Offering this one now at $180. Email me if interested. Last call before I offer it to the world on Etsy.

KITS I will be placing a large order for Norwegian rye/rya supplies at the end of this week. Now would be a great time to place a kit order.  Check out the kits I have available right now in the May Newsletter--click here.

Click on the word KITS to go the the Rauma catalogs on my website.  Click on the brown lettered catalog listings. You can also look at the kits--all ready to go within a day or two in my Etsy Shop.


Designers' Tools for 

Ease and Success

Only recently did I realize that putting my book in your hands might have a frustrating effect on the designer if I didn't make some "easy buttons" or hacks for you to get the job done.

Some of you contacted me with specific requests that made me realize, "Of course you will need that as a tool, so let me help." 

The Samples Package
For someone who really wants to jump in with both feet, first buy my book.  Then you will want my sample package to help you select colors and yarn type as well as see and feel all the backing types I offer.

The Ponytail
Then to help you unleash all the possibilities for color blending, you should have a full strand of every color so you can group them, twist them together to watch their colors melt together--or not.  So you need a "Ponytail."  Rya rug maker, Lisa Eberhart, came up with this idea and she bought the first ponytail.  I made 4, and 2 have sold. As time-consuming as they are to make, I will keep making them for you if you request them.  Currently I just have the Rauma Ryegarn in the ponytail. Click on photo to see more.  $40 for the whole color line or 50 cent per strand if you just want a small amount.

And just recently (due to the pandemic) the rya classes I usually teach at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD were canceled.  One determined student, Barbara Neel, bought the book and samples and then asked me for the "snips" of all the colors she was considering.  Now Barbara has attended my class twice, so she knows I show up with bins of yarn snips (6-7" long) from which students help themselves as they design. So this was the missing link to enabling self-learners to design all by themselves with all the tools of the classroom.  "Snips" will help you make a "Threading Card" during the designing process.

Now I offer on Etsy the service of gathering snips for you and sending them to you at a very minimal cost.  Click on the photo for details.  I don't label each strand (I'm not crazy) so you do need to have the sample card so you know what colors the snips are.  This is a brand new offering and I welcome you to request from my snip bins. $5 - 8.00. Free postage!  But you must have the samples at hand in order for this to work.

There you go!  What else do you need?


Shipping Update
Good News!  Well, first the bad news . . . back in early April when I was sending several books out everyday, many were heading to the Nordic countries, England, Australia, Spain. The mail was slow, but on April 6th all parcels started piling up somewhere in Jamaica, New York where they sat for months!  I felt terrible knowing my good book customers were patiently waiting and there was nothing I could do. We touched base every few weeks--helpless.  I withdrew my Etsy listing for International book sales to wait it out. 
NOW, the GOOD NEWS:  In mid-July just about every overseas customer informed me that their books had arrived like magic! (If anyone is still waiting, please email me directly. The tracking reports have not been accurate.) But I have relisted the Etsy book listing for international orders because they are using a new shipping server ("Global"). Chris Trinder in the UK was my guinea pig.  I told her I could not guarantee when her order would arrive, and she assured me she didn't mind if it took months. Lo and behold it arrived within 3 weeks!  

And other GOOD NEWS is that Jenni Vanhanen in Finland is selling my hardbound books.  I shipped her 3 cases of books (over 100 lbs) via DHL. She received them in just 2-3 days! I have been referring all my European orders to her when they ask, and that is working well.  Thank you, Jenni.  We'll have to send you some paperback books next time around. ;-)


Social Justice on my Mind

Last month I told you that I would donate $10 from every shirt sale through my Etsy shop during the month of July towards social justice programs through my local NAACP.  I'm happy to say that I contacted our local chapter to offer a $100 contribution and an acrylic painting that I made at the end of July to honor John R. Lewis, civil rights peace activist and congressman. I am looking forward to hearing from them. Here is the painting I made.


Photo Sharing Time!

I love this part of the newsletter and it's been a while since we did it.  Here are some of the recent shares I have received from readers!  Enjoy--oh, and snap a picture of your project in action and send it for the next newsletter.  If you can name the photo file with your name in it, that helps me out. Also give me a sentence about your experience (is this your first rya?, a kit design? with whom are you sharing the process? I'll try to share all photos that I can depending on clarity and space available.  Thanks.

This rya kit was made by a man who had never made a rya rug before. Billy Miller contacted me a couple of months ago to ask how to clean a rya rug. He shared with me that his mother knew my grandparents and he had been to their refurbished barn for a rya show once.  My grandparents lived on the Northborough-Shrewsbury town line in Massachusetts. Billy grew up in Shrewsbury!  So we had a nice reminiscing conversation about all that.  A few days later, he called and ordered a kit. He made a few color changes to suit his tastes and voilá, here is his gorgeous rya. Click on the image to see another color version of this "nameless" rya. Gail Coleman from Black Mountain, NC is making the same design in reds.  She calls it the "Exploded Tomato". Click on the image to see why.

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And this one is made by a weaver in Chapel Hill, NC, Jean Johnson--but she didn't weave the backing this time. She started her first project with a 16" x 16" Rauma backing.  She reports, "I am combining square and rectangular blocks of color, four to thirteen knots across - something very simple to start with. My yarn is all wound into balls, in preparation for winding on stick shuttles for the wedge weave - so I have been cutting threading lengths as needed for each block with essentially no waste. The knotting does take a lot of yarn, and I can see that minimizing cumulative waste is important!"
She shares, "Here is a photo of my first little rya piece. I like the colors a lot, even though I haven't tried any blending as yet. I think the solid colors work well with the squared pattern, and the one large block where two colors are mixed adds a bit of interest. I used two strands of Rauma Ryegarn everywhere except for the top row where I used three." 

And look at her design. Such a simple, beautiful rya.

She said, "I am also including my graphed design sketch with the number of knots per section that allowed me to calculate the amount of each color of yarn that I would need."  I find her work inspirational, wouldn't you agree?

And if you don't know Arne Solbak by now, you haven't been paying attention. He and his wife, Molly, live in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He has been knotting a rya for every member of his family. There are one or two left to go.

And from Judy Rhoades in Sykesville, MD, "Here's the finished pillow from a kit from a friend. It was all green so I got some scraps and following what I learned in Melinda's class.....added a flower with a touch of color."

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Hope I didn't miss anyone . . . let me know if I did! Send more photos, friends.  I know many of your pictures are shared daily in the Rya Rugs Friends Group.  


Celebrating the Life of a Remarkable Rya Rug Maker

I think many of you will be able to relate to this story. It is about a creative and caring family who shared their love for each other through rya. If you have been reading this newsletter for a year or more you know about the Terzakis family.  I have blogged their stories a few times. Feel free to click on the links to remind yourselves.

It started in 2017 when John Terzakis from New Jersey made his first rya--a 16" x 16" Fireflower kit I designed. In 2018, he made another Fireflower, and later that year a much larger one, WaterSwirl. John was hooked.  

His daughter in Oakland, California, Elizabeth, contacted me in 2019 and shared that her father was happiest when he was working on a rya. She wanted me to design a rya for him. She had a specific design idea in mind.  I said that I couldn't do it because I was busy writing a book and well,
here is that story... 

John Terzakis working on the rya Elizabeth designed.

So a pattern had emerged. Elizabeth--who was extremely busy writing her own book and teaching as well--designed the rya especially to her tastes and John would make the ryas for Elizabeth . . . to have someday.

Elizabeth and I got to know each other well. (I just glanced through 43 emails we exchanged over a couple of years!) She became an accomplished designer and tested out my formulas for the book before anyone else saw them.  In fact I made many improvements in the book for clarity due to her feedback.  

It's a great, illustrated story--don't miss it. Its about how a daughter went to great lengths to make her father a happy man. But she had never made a knot in her life!
Elizabeth with her father in Sweden in 2019

At the beginning of this year, Elizabeth expanded the design KROTON by Rauma to fit a 140 x 200 cm backing. (My friends, that is a BIG rya!) She graphed it and calculated for supplies to get him started. John was a happy camper!  After a month or so, he started to call me on a weekly basis to let me know what colors he was running low on--and I'd send him a small package of yarn.  We laughed at how often he needed a little more--I talked him into ordering two skeins of every color he needed instead of one and he would say, "Oh, why not make it TWO of each!"  We'd talk about little things in life like the weather in NJ versus MD and how my rya work was going and "how was the book coming along?" 

The last time I talked to John, he needed "a few more skeins." He was totally in love with this rya and still had quite a bit more to do. It was the end of March and we talked about the corona virus. I asked if he and his wife, Inger, were staying safe and avoiding crowds. He laughed and assured me they were. Less than a week later, Elizabeth wrote and told me "I know this sounds hard to believe, but my dad contracted the corona virus and died last Tuesday. It all happened very fast, and we are still in shock.  My mother and I plan to finish the rug when we can all be together."

My heart was broken. The Terzakis family felt like part of my family. This was the first COVID-related death to affect me. I felt the pain of losing a friend.

Imagine how happy I was to hear from Elizabeth the other day while she was visiting her mother, Inger.  She sent photos of themselves working on John's big KROTON rya. 
Inger happily continuing where John left off

Elizabeth shared, "I was finally able to go visit my mother (after 15 hours of wearing a mask, ten days of quarantine, and one negative test for COVID 19), and she taught me how to make Rya knots. We started working on the rug that my father was making when he died back in March. It is sad to think that he won't ever finish it but comforting to be able to pick up where he left off. I think my mother and I both feel that working on it brings us closer to him."

I love this.

Look at the size of that "ruler"! No wonder he needed so much more yarn than expected.  I asked Elizabeth about the ruler.  She said, "The kavel/ruler that we are using was given to my parents by my grandparents, who also made rya rugs. The one you see in the picture is three inches; they also have a two-inch one."  Many of you know that the "ruler" in kits today is generally 1" wide.

Elizabeth mastering the last step of 
designing and making a rya rya:  Knotting it!

"I am back in California now; I spent two weeks with my mother, and she was indeed very happy to have me there. She has been working on the rug consistently since I left; I think she needed me to get her over the bump of getting started."

And we all know (without a doubt) that John is smiling on them glad to see the family united over his passion of rya rug making.

Remember the book--and then movie, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean? It was about how a river was the unifying force that ran through the connected life of a family.  

Here we have "A Rya Runs Through It."


Rya Rug 
Group on Facebook

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 255 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.


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. Or we can "mask-on" get you started on your project at an outdoor table here until you feel comfortable to do it one your own if you are a beginner.

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. If you have any problem in navigating or ordering from the website, let me know, OK?

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.


24 Mentors in USA, Canada, Mexico, and Europe

Let's 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 or Zoom 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).  
  • 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 JosĂ©, 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
  • Laura in Blaine, Washington
  • 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.


A Few Parting Comments:

In light of the fact that I'm not doing my on-the-road Art Shows anymore and in fact all the art shows have closed for the pandemic, I have decided to sell my sweet little 2004 Chevy Astro.  I just had all the logos and lettering removed from the paint and it will soon be looking for a new home. 

A Little Time to Get Away
My husband, John, and I took off to retreat to the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia for a week of hiking and relaxing away from the computer (mostly). We maintained our social distancing, wore masks when near others, and adapted to the new norm in a different environment. It was a nice break.  I even brought my paints and canvas and painted the John Lewis painting there along with my friend, Viriginia Sperry's golden retriever, Lucy, who recently departed this earth.

I'm trying to use the time not surrounded by "people activity" to reconnect to the art of my being. We all do what we can.

Hang in there.
Life is totally not what we were expecting, but let's go with it.
We don't have much choice.
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.


"Nature Heals"


Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio, LLC
Woodbine, MD


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