ByrdCall Studio
Ho ho ho!  Here's is my monthly report and it is still the first week of December.  That is a good sign.  I have a huge amount of info and stories to share with you, but I'll try to keep it brief since you probably have a lot on your plate, too.  I sent a puny little newsletter in November, so please enjoy this more substantial one.

In this issue: 
  • T-Shirt Challenges this Holiday season
  • 10 Reasons Why You Should visit during the Carroll County Artists Studio Tour
  • New Rya Wreath Design and Kit
  • Helping to Share the News of a Yet-to-Be Born Baby's Gender
  • Yarn Inventory in the Studio -- Big News for Rya folks!
  • The Therapeutic and Healing Value of making a Rya 
  • Designs shared by YOU!
  • Goal Setting:  Newsletter Subscription Hit 750 -- Can you help me get to 800?
OK, dive right in... In case you haven't guessed, this looks better on a monitor than it does on a smart phone.



Hand-Printed T-shirt Update!

These shirts drying on the tables are mostly from Mistletoe Mart  and emailed orders.
I am working hard to get about 60+ shirts printed for orders I received from the Mistletoe Mart, from emails, and to replenish stock in my baskets.  

Remember I told you that Comfort Colors shirt company was recently purchased by Gildan (a large shirt company)?  I was concerned that Comfort Color shirts might be harder to get.  Well, gee, that has proven true. Not for reasons that I had thought. Comfort Colors are so popular now that they can not keep up with all the orders.  Many colleges and universities use Comfort Color shirts in their Gift Shops.  

Luckily I had stored a bunch in bins in my studio which is helping me fill all these orders, and luckily my shirt distributor is working with me to get the needed shirts for the orders, but I am struggling to get those impossible colors and sizes that are sold out nationwide.  It might be just a half dozen of you and I'll be contacting you soon.  If you told me you would be picking up your shirts (to save on postage) during the studio tour, make sure Dec. 5-6 is on your calendar.  I'm working 14-hour days this week trying to meet that deadline.

Stay tuned.  I think Comfort Colors will be back on track with a vengeance, but probably not until 2016.


10 Reasons You Should Visit Byrdcall Studio during the Studio Tour Dec. 5-6 
These 4 Studio Tour friends 
from 2014 can't be wrong!

  1. I make my special Swiss Cinnamon Crisp Cookies to share with you.  And maybe my amazing Oatmeal raisin cookies, too.
  2. This is the only week-end out of the year that you can drop in without an appointment.
  3. You will see what a real working artist's studio looks like.  (apologies in advance)
  4. You won't find the studio looking better any other day of the year.
  5. You can take advantage of "Buy 3 Shirts at Regular price and receive any silk-screened shirt for FREE!"  (And that includes the Raven in Flight shirts.)
  6. I'm giving you exclusive rights to go through my blank shirts bins to pull out the exact size, color, and style you want, and I will tag it with YOUR name and the design you want, and guarantee it before Christmas.  (Since I'll have it in hand, there is no risk of not being able to find one.)
  7. You can ooh and ahh at my amazing supply of rya yarns and backings, touch them so you will understand what makes them so unique, AND you can learn to make the rya knots on my "Student Practice Rya" as shown in this picture.  No experience required.  No expectation of purchase afterwards.
  8. You can meet my sweet dog, Gypsy.
  9. You can see the things that I would never have room to display in my 10' x 10' booth at any art show.  
  10. Visit because it will make me very happy to share my little studio world with you!!


The Festival of Wreaths is in Progress!
Visit the Carroll Arts Center between  now and 
Sunday, Dec. 6 for last chance to bid on favorites

And in case my contribution is your favorite, feel free to bid it up for a good cause.  Current bid at this moment (12/2/15 at 3 PM) is $125.  That is about the cost of materials alone.  It is made of rya yarn from Norway, Sweden, Finland and USA. 

10 am - 7 pm Daily FREE Admission
"The Festival of Wreaths is one of the most well-attended holiday events in Carroll County. Each year more than 150 theme wreaths are displayed through this week long silent auction and is one of the Arts Council's most significant fundraising events. Visitors experience a wonderland of creativity and generosity as they vote for their favorites and bid on those they would like to take home (or give as gifts!)"

  And if you like that wreath but are not in a competitive mood for fierce bidding, you can make your own.  I just prepared two kits with dozens of reds and greens for you to knot your own.  The kit has everything you need.  $150.   This is a great beginner project and I'll help you get started!



Is it a Boy?  or a Girl?

How did a purchase from Byrdcall Studio help to surprise a couple with the gender of their baby?

Well, this was a first for me!  And the experience really made me smile all day long.  Read all about it in my blog post from last week:


Update on Rya Yarn Inventory:  
More Rya Yarn from Norway, 
Less from USA and Finland

This is very important information for anyone who has my rya sample yarn cards, or anyone who is interested in making a rya. studio. 

My yarn inventory changes monthly.  It is important that you follow these changes if you are counting on ordering yarn as you refer to your sample cards.

If you are not a "rya person" don't bother clicking on this link.  Otherwise: 


The Therapeutic Effects of Rya Rug Making

I have been wanting to write about this for a long time.  But the stories I would use to illustrate this point are generally very personal and I don't feel right sharing them with a general readership.  You see, almost every week--or at least a couple of times each month, someone tells me how much they have benefited from making a rya rug in ways that are healing and therapeutic.  I have never shared these stories, but I think now is the time to start.  

An active rya rug maker from Massachusetts, Lynne, just sent me a picture of her third completed rya. I found it so beautiful, I had to ask about its inspiration and how she did it.  Her response reminded me of so many reports I've heard from others who have suffered a loss or were struggling with a difficult health issue.

Lynne told me, "I'll make a long story short and tell you that my youngest son passed away three years ago at the age of 21, and he is the inspiration for this rug.  His name was Daniel and he loved rainbows.   I don't have a chart [graph] for this and yes I ad-libbed the whole rug.  I don't mark anything I just lay it on the floor periodically and make any design changes that way.  As a matter of fact that is exactly what I did when I changed from blending the colors and swirled the solid colors on the top.  I can easily write up directions for this rug if anyone is interested.  I am still having so much fun making rugs!"

She went on to say, "I have many pictures that Danny colored as a child and he included rainbows in almost every one.  You may use my picture and the story behind my rug as I want people to know how easy it is to make them and how personal they can be.  I could use charts for my rugs but I think it is fun to just start and see where the colors take you.  ... I have one more rug to make for my oldest son and then back to making rugs for the house."

Lynne's story is her own, but her story could be so many others' stories with just a few changes.  One elderly woman who is quite sick and not looking forward to much in her future, finds herself looking forward to getting out of bed each morning just to work on her rya.  Several people with debilitating energy depletion issues have found salvation in working with ryas.  I often hear of people fighting depression who rediscover their optimism while working on a rya.  While probably any hands-on creation of art might have the same effect, I believe that rya is particularly therapeutic because of the visual stimulation from the amazing colors you can create (through blending) and the rapid progression of the design growing daily.  You are practically in a meditative state each time you get on a roll making rya knots.  And meditation is healing.

[If you would like to share how ryas have helped you through a challenging time or how you have kept a loved one's memory very much alive through a rya, email me.  I will save your stories for a future blog where others can comment and share.  It's all about sharing to help one another through difficult times.]


A Few Rya Projects Made by Readers:

I LOVE seeing what you have made with your rya supplies.  Here are two creative pieces made by Angie Michal and hung in a Miami, Florida gallery.  All art had to be exactly 12" x 12".  (The Carroll Arts Center did a show like this last year called "Footworks")  Here is what Angie came up with for her designs.



Reaching a Goal of 800 for 2015?

I started 2015 with a goal-setting manual to help keep me on track.  I can't say that it got me through publishing my rya book in 2015 as I had vowed to myself, but setting goals has kept me on track in other ways.  

A year ago I had a newsletter readership of 500.  I set a goal of hitting 800 by Jan. 1, 2016.  I am currently at exactly 750 subscribers.  If you know someone who would get a smile or ah-ha from my newsletter, please forward it to them and suggest they subscribe.  You can attest to my not over-filling your email box with junk, as I have promised not to do.

My book will not be complete by the end of 2015, but this goal of 800 is attainable with your help.  I'll let you know in January if I made it or not.

For now...

That's all, folks!
Enjoy friends and family and make good memories this holiday season.  I'll try to do the same.


Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio
Woodbine, MD


Save the Dates!

Carroll County Artists Studio Tour
December 5 & 6
10 - 5:00
Drop by Byrdcall Studio or any one of the participating studios in Carroll County to see the studios and stuff we use to make the art we make!

See article in this newsletter as to WHY you might want to 
visit me!

Bring your T-shirt Shopping Lists.

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