Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival
and Creative Arts
by Melinda Byrd
Newsletter ~Winter 2021-22
Note: Sometimes newsletters will "abbreviate" at the halfway point. A message will appear to "click to see the remaining message." If you don't notice it, you might miss some pretty cool stuff, so be sure to read (or scroll) to the end.
God Jul . . .
Merry Christmas . . .
and Happiest of Holidays to YOU,
my friends near and far.
I want to thank you for your kindness in our communications, for making me feel like I make a difference in keeping rya rug making alive, for your sharing of your personal experiences in the fiber arts, for sharing pictures of your designs and completed projects, for your fascinating questions and ponderings, and even for simply reading my newsletter and being there. Every one of you falls into at least one of those categories.

It would take a super-human to say that the past couple of years haven't been challenging to the spirit, but it sure makes life better to be connected to kind-spirited folks with the arts in their hearts. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gifts of sharing and caring.

with love,
Sign up for Basic Online Rya Workshop
The American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia is hosting a 3-hour rya workshop via Zoom with me as the instructor. This workshop is two parts. The first day on January 15th is 10 am - 12 pm and the second day is January 22nd from 10-11 am. The workshop fee is $120 for members of the museum and $130 for non-members, $20 shipping fee. Registration deadline through the museum's website is December 30th. Click on this link to read all about it and to register if you choose.

Students will select a grouping of 4 colors of Lundgren Rya yarn which will be mailed along with a 16" x 16" Rauma wool and linen backing on which to knot, needles, and instructions. I'll send a package of your supplies to you in advance of the class. (My Rya Rugs book is not required to enjoy this class, but if you want one there is an option on the registration form you can "check" and it will not add to the shipping cost (which is good for a heavy book).

We will explore using "Hit or Miss" (random) color blending which can be very basic or you can get creative with it. Either way, you will have a nice wall-hanging (or pillow cover if you are handy with pillow creation.) You can mix three colors of yarn--three strands to the needle--and get 10 different color combinations! So adding a 4th skein color will give you plenty of options all in the same basic colors. We won't get into technical math calculation; no worries.

This class will be good for beginners. If you have already made a rya of any size, you may find this too basic. Someday, before long, I'll be brave enough to do an online class for the more advanced.
Sample of Hit or Miss Rya made by Angie Lundgren, my grandmother
Hit-or-Miss is a technique my grandmother often used. Here she chose a mauve, a mossy green, and a dusty green. She loaded up ten needles with the ten color combinations, then knotted one threading, then another all the way through the 10 needles. A beautiful random tweedy mix results with no pattern. Students in this class could do that or could work in stripes or draw a basic design on the backing like quadrants, or a big circle, a big square with borders... and mix colors for a subtle design.
Be sure to register through the museum.
Playing With Your Yarn Snips
Upcycling, recycling, having fun with throwaways and turning them into art! That is what I am sharing with you here!

Even the most frugal rya rug maker (weaver, knitter, fiber artist) has scraps now and then. Sometimes I put snips out for the birds to add to their nest construction, but sometimes I just play.

I grow okra for its delicious addition to my soups and gumbos. When I don't harvest quickly enough the pods get long and woody so I dry them for making ornaments. I made Santa ornaments for a few years, but recently I pulled out my bag of snips and started to wrap okra pods. Then I wove on them a little and bunched yarn groupings together attaching with glue. It is not rocket science so try your hand at it. What? You don't have okra pods? Find something else like spools, bones, branches . . . tell us what you do with your snips.

I sell (cheap!) 6 oz bags of random yarn snips if you want to add to your scrap collection. Click here. Supplies are limited.
If you really have no interest in yarn scraps or leftovers after making a kit but you don't want to throw them away, I love to receive your leftovers in the mail.

If you have nice portions of cut skeins (like 1/4 skein) I will credit you up to 80% of the value assuming it is in great condition for future rya use. If you have cats in your yarn or cigarettes in the household, I can not accept it due to potential allergies.
Rya Show & Tell
In this issue we are focusing on:

Ellen Straw-Bogart from Santa Fe, NM
Ellen was one of the brave souls who saw a design she liked and dared to order it in a color different from the photograph. That is the case with this Rauma rye kit called KILDE which up until now, I had only seen in bright oranges! Now I'm loving it in the grays. Ellen has assured me--in case you are wondering--that she is wearing clothing in the photo! And if I didn't know better, I might have guessed she spun her own yarn from the fur of her canine companions.
If you are interested in making a KILDE kit, check out the four color theme choices in the Shop on my website at this link. Maybe you will be another brave one to try out the two color combinations I've never seen in a completed KILDE before: Blue-greens or Golds-Browns.
A Connection to Finnish Ryijyt*
In my last newsletter I announced a Studio Drop-In Day on Saturday, Dec. 4th. It evolved into a Drop-in Rya Sewing Circle day which was loads of fun for all who came.

Here I am with my new friend, Teija Neville, who lives about one hour west of me. Teija (who is from Finland) had recently taken an online class from Jenni Vanhanen in Finland (see p. 140 in my book). Teija brought her projects to share with the others and also started on some new projects. Marc and Beth were working on their ryas and Maria, a weaver, dropped in to see what was happening and to learn more about the class I'm teaching through the American Swedish Historical Museum. What a nice time with nice people.
*ryijyt = plural of rya in Finnish
Susan Glick Johnston from Greensboro, North Carolina just completed "Gullregn"
Susan recently completed this Norwegian kit called Gullregn (as in the Golden Rain Tree) designed by Aasgerd Lie. She is already planning a companion piece for the same wall in her home.

She looks so happy and proud--as she should be. It is a gorgeous work of art.

Keep up with the work other rya artists are doing through the Facebook Group from Byrdcall Studio called Rya Rug Friends. It is a great way to see more and interact with the fiber artists

Changes to the Byrdcall Blog Post
Has anyone noticed that I have not been posting as many interactive blogs as I used to? Here's a brief rundown on the changes.

About a year ago the formatting of my blog post software changed so it was not as familiar as my old format and took lots of time to figure things out. I don't have a lot of spare time these days.

The thing about the blog that I loved so much was I could ask you all questions and get feedback and a good dialog going. The Facebook Rya Rug Friends Group has been filling that void very nicely over the past year or two. The not-so-fun thing has been the spam )mostly from Russia) I was receiving sometimes hourly... comments and weblinks which I always marked as spam so no one would see those comments.

Finally last week I contacted my website designer and manager and asked what I could do about the spam. He told me I was his only customer who allowed the comments and the only way to (affordably) get rid of the spam was to not allow comments. So we shut down the comment aspect of the Byrdcall Blog. I thought you should know the "rest of the story."

I have been wanting to tell you detailed interesting blog stuff, but have held back due to the spam it would generate, but NOW I hope to be freer to share more with you all. And we can do more of feedback thing on the Facebook friends group which doesn't allow spammers due to being a "closed group." Not that we are snobby, but just looking for conversations with like minded people.
Rya as Therapy
It is a recurring theme I hear about how working on a rya can be therapeutic in remarkable ways. In past years, I've shared some of your stories (with your permission) regarding ways that rya rug making has pulled you through tough times. If you have a story to share along these lines, kindly send me an email with a "short story" . . . maybe a couple of paragraphs and a photo of you, your rya, or (best choice) you and your rya. If you want to be anonymous, I can work with that, too. My email address is
And at Last You have reached the End!
I always love it when you read all the way through. ;-)
I feel like a new year 2022 will have to be better than the insecurity of what 2020 and 2021 have brought us. I try to remember that it is how we look at things that make them bad or good. This situation just IS. So here's wishing you a positive outlook for the holiday season and the coming new year.

I will do my best to be all I can be as your support person in the rya world and connect you to the fascinating people I meet.

Here is my little teaser that I won't comment on for another month or two, but wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have beautiful rya rug backings woven here in the USA? Keep positive energy flowing in that direction.
See you next month if not sooner!
~ Melinda
Many thanks for your valuable time with me .
Knot on!

A Couple of Links You Might Enjoy
A couple of links here that I know are enjoyed by many of you. Special "Shout out" to the Rya Rugs Friends on Facebook. The Group always welcomes new members.

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