ByrdCall Studio
Happy July 2017!  Hope you are enjoying the summer so far.  Welcome to my world of Byrdcall Studio.  Family connections run through this newsletter.  Here are some stories I'd like to share with you.

Every day I hear from someone whose mother, father, or grandparent made rya rugs and now they, too, want to learn.  As I work to revive a "forgotten art", it becomes more clear to me every day that my role is to connect people with other people, supplies, and knowledge with which to do this craft.

I n this issue: 
  • A Connection to my Grandparents
  • A Very Cool Finnish Connection
  • Last Call for my class at Common Ground on the Hill.  
  • Rya Helpers step up across the USA. 
  • My Book Progress
  • Frequently asked Questions and...
  • Time with my father
My Grandparents, Angie and Bill Lundgren,
the Founders of Lundgren Rya.
Picture taken in about 1952, just before they began importing Swedish Rya Rug-making supplies.


Just got off the phone... with a Customer of my Grandparents'

The answering machine picked up (because I get 90% telemarketers calling) and I heard a familiar voice.  It was Eleanor in New York.  I grabbed the receiver and apologized for the recording.  She is working on the design for a new rya rug--and she has made many.  We are waiting for her large backing to arrive from Norway.  

She placed an order for two skeins of just about every orangey-red rya yarn I carry in 5 different rya brands. She likes variety and she knows what she is doing.  She told me this morning that she remembers as a young woman buying rya supplies from my grandparents nearly 50 years ago!  

I got chills thinking that this woman talking to me at this moment, was talking to my grandmother on the phone when my grandmother was about the age I am now.  Full circle.  I am also happy to report that Eleanor who is in her mid 80's now has volunteered to help rya newbies in central New York state how to do it.  Everyone has a story.  I love the stories. Hope you do too!  
This is a recent design made by Eleanor.
She bought similar colors today!


Why I Love Doing what I do...
Out of the Blue

...I got this email 2 weeks ago from a lady in Finland.  It feels so good to know my work is affecting people I've never even met...then they amaze me by sharing the work they have done due to my inspiration.  

Hi Melinda Byrd,

I thought I would tell you that you have a part in inspiring me to start sowing rya rugs. My mother sew two rugs when I was small, so it feels nice to take that up after her. The 3/4 finished rug in the picture is going on her wall in her nursing home.
The Petit point  handbag 
made by her grandmother
The pattern is actually made from a cross stitch pattern. My grandmother did a lot of cross stitch in her time, sew for a well known company Haandarbejdets Fremme, but also sometimes for her self. 
This pattern is for a handbag in "petit point"-technique (actually not cross stitch). I just love the colours of the bag and thought it might translate nicely as a rya rug too. And it does. 
When I last year started on smaller projects, I googled everything rya, and saw your site and video. Very inspiring indeed. Finland is a great place for rya rugs. My parents has theirs on the wall. Rugs have been respected and honoured all these years, but have sort of gone out of fashion for the past many decades. But they seem to be doing a gentle come back. After I started, a book has been published, probably much like the one you are in the process of writing. Last autumn one could do a rya rug course in a local evening class (Unfortunately I found out too late). And in the new a group of ladies had together copied an old rug from a famous Finnish painters young nude painting Akseli Gallen-Kallela ( So it seems that the Finnish RYIJY (=rya rug) is doing a come back too

Thus - THANK YOU for the inspiration. I like your work.

Warm regards
Merete Willis
I hope you all just got the same goosebumps I get when I read that.  Merete, you made my day more than I can tell you.  I also found it fascinating that a book very much like the one I am writing was just published in Finland.  It shows that there really is a revival going on.  I am also relieved because the Finnish technique is different from what I am familiar with.  I could never write about how the Finns create rya... (Well I guess I could, but I'd probably have to take a trip to Finland and frankly, the book would never be completed.)  So now I can refer people who want the Finnish technique to the new Finnish book on Ryijy.  Here's a link to it if you are interested (but please buy my book, too!) The New Finnish Ryijy Book

Again  ... the circle of life around the ryijy.


I Can take a couple more 
Students at my 
Rya Class 
Common Ground on the Hill...

But you better move fast. You could still go and register Sunday evening, and class begins Monday morning and runs every morning of the week from 9 - 11:45, July 3-7 in Westminster, Maryland. 

If you aren't familiar with the program, I recommend you
and watch the very interesting and informative 3 1/2 minute video.  


This might become a Regular Column in my Newsletter:
"Where are the Rya Helpers?"
I would love to add a few people to this list every month... People who wouldn't mind on rare occasion to be contacted by someone who needs a "buddy" or mentor for getting started on their rya.  After my first cry-for-help, five people stepped forward.  After the June newsletter, we have 10.  Check out these pink flags on my calendar. We can fill in the country a little more I think. 

Thanks to those of you who have offered to be of assistance if there is a neighbor in need:
  • Kristin in Deland, Florida
  • Marsha (you know Marsha!) in Sun City, Arizona
  • Paul in Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Denise in Snohomish, Washington
  • Robbin--Vancouver/Savory Island, British Columbia area
  • David in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Eleanor in Fleischmanns, New York
  • Laurie in Chatham and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Mia in Stockholm, Sweden area
  • and Marian in The Netherlands
To qualify as a Rya Helper, you just have to be enthusiastic about making ryas, feel confident in your knot making, be a good problem solver, and enjoy people as they learn something new.  You need not be an "expert."

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.  


And the Book?

Despite many things drawing my attention away from the book, we still made some good progress.  I just totally revamped the chapter on calculating how much yarn your backing will need.  Last month I asked if a "Rya Geek" would step forward and give me critique on a technical page.  Thank you, Paul, for the feedback and helpful edits!  

Since it is 90 degrees outside these day, I think I will skip the Open Studio Day and Rya Sewing Circle this month which will give me more time to focus on the book without planning for a group--which means cleaning up the studio and clearing surfaces...which can take a lot of time from focusing on the book.  If you would like special invitation to the next Rya Sewing Circle, please send me an email at 

T H A N K    Y O U !

Rya Geeks email me at


Frequently Asked Questions...

The most commonly asked questions are:  

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

A:  Email me at  If you have my AOL email address, please switch to this gmail address because I will soon be shutting down the AOL account.  If you have a question too complicated to type as an email, then call me at 410-549-4889 and leave a message.  If I don't answer, I will call you back as soon as possible.  Please don't google-message me or facebook-message me because it's hard for me to keep track of all those messages systems.  

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 and leave me a message.  I'll get back to you quickly.

Q:  So how did you get into this whole rya rug thing? 

The Carroll County Times printed a story about my beginnings last month.  In case you missed it, it is a good synopsis of how I got here.
Click here to read more.

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.  These shirts are not listed on etsy, and the only way to buy one is to go to Eclecticity.  Tell Shawn "Melinda sent me."

Off Track Art in Westminster  I just d elivered some of my original block prints mounted on wood for a ready-to-hang piece of art--no framing required.  

The Market Tavern in Sykesville   Ask for my  Art Notecards in a Basket if you don't see them.  Have a beverage on me.  (Just kidding!)  Instead, write a note card to a loved friend while you sit by the window and sip a glass of something.
My Etsy Shop has just about everything for online buying.  When you buy through etsy, you allow me more free time to work on the book since written and verbal correspondence is minimal...Not that I don't love communicating with you, but that is my #1 time consumer in the day.


On a Personal Note ...

On Father's Day, my family and I said final good-byes to my father, Dr. Elmer M. Purcell at his home in Concord, Massachusetts.  He was 92 years old and had led a good life filled with laughter, love, and genuine caring for people.  

I hope to do justice to his legacy of kindness and sharing with others. 

Have a great month of July... And for fun, share something you love...with someone you love.


Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio
Woodbine, MD


Save the Dates!
My Class at
Common Ground on the Hill
July 2 - July 7
See Write-Up
Sign up for 
my rya class!
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