Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival
and Creative Arts
by Melinda Byrd
Newsletter of the Holiday Season 2022
Note: Sometimes newsletters will "abbreviate" at the half-way point and a message will appear to "click to see the remaining message." If you don't notice it, you might miss half the newsletter so be sure to read (or scroll) to the end.
Finally Breathing after October Ordeal
On Oct 9th, while on vacation at the beach, I woke up to my cell phone quietly "pinging" a chime every two seconds. I was receiving thousands of orders from my website shop for--of all things--rya tapestry needles. All orders had bogus names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. A credit card fraudster was using a computerized "card testing" device which was placing thousands of orders throughout the night in order to determine which stolen credit cards were active and which were not. Out of 9,500+ orders, 188 orders were placed on active credit cards.

I temporarily closed my website shop immediately. The rest of vacation and the months to follow have been filled with working with authorities to refund the victims, hours on the phone (on hold), and talking with people who couldn't really tell me anything useful, except someone would get back to me--and most often they did not. Now almost 2 months later, things are truly settling out. I've had to pay thousands to have my BankCard company refund everyone and I've received daily "chargebacks" where I had to scroll through 188 credit card numbers to match up the chargeback with the refunds. (No fun for a dyslexic!) It has been one of the hardest periods I've gone through with my work.

Happily, I have a new shop credit card processor (PayPal) with ReCaptcha fraud protection where you must check the "I am not a computer" box.

Everything is processing smoothly now on my website. The Etsy shop was not involved at all. I invoice customers through Quickbooks which is great and safe. None of my customers had any risk through the ordeal. I feel like I aged about 10 years and started to wonder why I do this.

Then the first weekend of November, 4 students came to my studio for a two-day class, and I remembered why I do what I do. It is worth it. YOU make it worthwhile.

Thanks for listening. All is well. My rant is over.
Rya Class at Byrdcall Studio in November
When you invite people to sign up for a rya class, you never know if you'll be inundated or have no registrations. Will they be able to progress at the same speed? Will they get along? Will we accomplish our goals in the allocated time? These are all questions that race through my brain in planning a class.

Nov. 5th at 9 AM four of the nicest people walked in the door of Byrdcall Studio which is located in my backyard in case you didn't know. Two came from Georgia and two came from North Carolina. Everyone had a different style of design in mind and they were ready to get started. Four different ways to approach a design were used. My studio is big enough to provide ample room for four to spread out and have a little elbow room. The first day was nonstop (except for a 30 minute lunch break). By the end of the day most designs were well under way. Some yarn calculations were already made.

Day 2 was fast and actively getting each person started knotting on their project. I had no afternoon plans, so when a couple folks needed a little more time, it was no problem to keep going until the job was done. Everyone left with excellent quantities of yarn calculated and in hand. Some had knotted several rows and some were on the first row of knotting, but confident for progress when they got home.

I look forward to seeing and sharing updates as they are shared with me. Enjoy this photo-tour of the weekend!

So happy to say that everyone got along, all projects were developed during the 2-day period, the studio had a very comfortable feel for four people to be working at once and sharing supplies. Next time I will make it a two full-day class since we needed a couple more hours, but you never know! I really enjoyed these rya friends more than I can say. As I alluded to in the first story, I really needed to reconnect with why I do what I do, and they brought me back to the pure joy of sharing rya with others. Maybe the next newsletter will have pictures of their finished projects.
Knot on, Jason, Alex, Evelina, and Ann!
Update on the Rya Backing Situation
I had an early Christmas present when my Rauma supplies arrived a couple of weeks ago . . . a 15 meter bolt of 16" wide (40 cm) backing was packed among the yarns. None had been woven for nearly a year!

Before you get too excited, I am still waiting for the 60 cm (24") and 80 cm (31.5") wide backings. Rumor has it that it that we could see them in February 2023.
Swedish Backing: We still have the 60 cm (24") wide bolt.
In case you missed it, Svensk Hemslöjd in Sweden bailed us out of having no 24" backing this summer. It has been very highly acclaimed by those who have used it.

It is available in any length you request via Etsy.

The Finnish backings made by Pirkanmaa--these are the ones that are knotted on the surface of the backing--have been very popular. I think people were hesitant to try something new, but once they started knotting on these backings, they fell in love with them. And you can use lighter weight yarn, like prydvevgarn or less rya yarn for savings.
USA Backing -- nearly gone.
And finally the Lundgren backings woven in the USA of acrylic and cotton linen. When I bought back my grandparents' rya business from the woman who had purchased it in the 80's, I found that she had 27" wide acrylic backing woven in NY. I bought four very heavy bolts. I thought it would last forever. Now I'm down to the last few yards of it. While not for the wool-loving purist, this backing has been popular for its price and its softness. Great for wall-hangings. Well, its days are numbered.
Future USA-woven Wool and Linen backings:
In the Fall Newsletter, you may have noticed a "call for weavers" who were interested in weaving rya rug backings for sale or for the learning experience. There are many of you here who expressed interest. I forwarded weaving patterns, and instructions to the ten or so people who contacted me. The instructions and patterns were sent to me by weavers who had already figured it out or had good books on Nordic weaving techniques.

Just a week or two later, I was on vacation and experienced the fraudulent cyber attack, so my efforts towards coordinating weavers and figuring out logistics for how it would all work was out the window and gone with the wind for the time being.

The challenge would be whether or not an individual weaver could weave and sell a backing at a price that the buyer would be happy to pay. The backings I sell now were woven in mills where the cost is reduced due to the mechanization of the process. Is there a weaver among us who would like to be the "point person" to gather and share info with other weavers at least to keep the backing weaving skill alive if not for retail sales. Maybe a weavers' cooperative could pool orders and coordinate weavers. I would love one of our weaving rya friends to step forward and say, "Put me down as the contact person." I'm afraid if no one is interested in coordinating, it will fall by the wayside if left to me alone. I am realizing that I am one tired woman who better not take on any more challenges.

If anyone is weaving a backing and wants to share it with our readership, send me a photo, the details, and a price, and I can share in the newsletter. The buyer can contact you directly.

As a different line of approach, does anyone have contacts with small mills that might be able to create quality wool and linen backings?
The Studio Is Well-Stocked with Most Items
It is Not too late to get holiday orders in
Order early... I'm up-to-date as of this writing
I'm Happy to Announce:

I am well-stocked in every single color of the Rauma Ryegarn.

Easy to buy on my website or Etsy.
(Etsy charges state sales tax.)

I have every color of the Rauma Prydvevgarn.

Easy to buy on my website or Etsy.
(Etsy charges state sales tax.)
I have Oodles of Rya Backings
True, I'm waiting for some popular sizes from Norway, but I still have so much to choose from--especially if you are designing your own. I keep updating my Etsy shop where it is easy to describe them and sell them. Click to see more.

Plenty of Vintage yarn from Sweden and Lundgrens (USA)
It is difficult to sell vintage yarns without tags on them to define a company or color number. When people contact me looking for certain color ranges or lesser prices, I try to help them find their colors among these bins. Most are still available. Scroll down to see photos of these yarns laid out.

And I still have quite a bit of most of the Lundgren vintage yarns...43 colors remain. Click to see what is on hand.
Buy a Book!
As you can see I still have both hardbacks ($49) and softbacks ($39). It still costs $5 for media mail. I ship in a sturdy box. What a great gift, too! See other locations below for where to purchase books

And YES, I still have T-shirts which make great stocking stuffers
Someday I won't, but they are still moving gradually on Etsy. In fact that is the best way to see what is available.

For people who haven't known me long, before I immersed in rya, I hand-printed my original blockprints onto quality T-shirts and did shows at festivals and holiday Marts. If you need SMALL shirts for men or women, I have many. But check out this link on Etsy.
Support Retailers who Sell my Work
Rudolph Girls: Independent Bookstore in Westminster, MD
This month Rudolph Girls started carrying my rya book. They are located at 15 E. Main Street, Suite 112, in Westminster MD. If you haven't been there, take the time to check them out. Tell them I sent you. Click to learn more about them
The Vine on Main is a Sykesville, MD landmark. It is located by the railroad tracks on Main St. They sell carefully selected wines, beers, fair trade clothing and gifts, and support local artists like me. The Vine has about 70 of my art T-shirts for sale. They are my top sellers of t-shirts all year long. Check them out. Tell them I sent you! Check out The Vine on Main.
Vavstuga Weaving School is located in Shelburne, Massachusetts. They are a resource you should know about if you don't already. I often refer my weaving customers to them for supplies I don't carry. Tell them I sent you. Go to their website to see all the helpful items they offer for a fiber artist.
I'm Knotting a Vintage Swedish Rya Kit!
I spend all my time helping people get their rya supplies together, packing up kits, and counting skeins of yarn. I never think I have time to make a rya these days. While I was on vacation in October, a woman from Houston called me asking if someone could complete her rya rug she had started 30 years ago.

Her 80+ year old hands were not up to the task. This is not uncommon. I usually pass a rug completion job to others, but when I saw and felt this rya rug, I was intrigued and then hooked!

I have never knotted with Nordiskas yarns. That is one of the many popular rya companies that closed in the 1970-early 80s. Look at the yarn organizer below. I've never seen anything like that. The needle is threaded with a heavy strand and two medium weight strands.

I'm getting great pleasure from working on this rya. Over the years, people have told me how working on their rya helped them through hard times; the loss of a loved one or depression. This rya has helped pull me through the dark days of dealing with the fraudulent activity on my website I've been dealing with. I was truly comforted by the colors and the progress and nice music playing in the background.
Look at this "Yarn Kaddy" by Merribee. Vintage? Do any of you use such a thing. What a great way to organize yarn combinations.
Vintage Rya Yarn Still available
I am leaving these photos below from the last issue. I usually like to keep everything fresh, but this is a great way you can decide if you want any of these colors at the vintage yarn price of $10/skein or $10/100 grams if cut or balled yarn.

I have arranged the yarn by general color arrays layed out in three rows: top, middle and bottom. Most of the yarn has no tags on it, so I don't know color numbers for most. Rya designers can look at these groupings as squirts of paint on a pallette. If you are in a blending mood, you can ask me to gather the "right side of the middle row in the Red-Yellows Array photo, for example. I will gather that grouping and shoot a photo for you to see more closely and price it either by the skein, or by weight if there are cut skeins involved--and there are lots of cut skeins. It is a great opportunity to increase your color selections within your own yarn stashes. Once you like what you see, tell me to send it, and I'll send you an online invoice and get your order right off to you.

I will soon be listing small color groupings on Etsy. I wanted to give YOU first dibs.
FYI: The black is now gone.
The blues are now gone.
I have loads of shades of white as well.
These can not be ordered through Etsy nor my website at this time. Email me or call me to talk me through finding you what you want.
Rya Show & Tell
(Thank you for sharing your photos!)
Genny James
Westminster, Colorado
See her big photo at the top of this newsletter. And this is hot-off-the-press today! Looks like Genny is adding a "shooting star" burst almost every day!

Today: Genny just shared a write-up with me about her learning process and techniques with designing and making this rya. It covers many subjects you may be wondering about. We decided to share it as a blog post in the future months. So stay tuned.
Barbara Carlson
E. Lansing , Michigan

Barbara is very comfortable with knotting beautiful rya rugs. These two she recently shared on the Rya Rugs Friends Facebook group. The pile length she uses is perfect for allowing the lines and designs to come through clearly. Knot on, Barbara!
This design is called GRY Norwegian for "dawn." It is designed by Aasgerd Lie with Rauma. This beautiful design comes in blue-grays as shown, rust-greens, or reds-purples. See more in the Etsy listing for Gry.
Currently available.
Here is TULIPAN from the Rauma collection of designs by Bi Magnus. I believe Barbara is the first of my customers to make it in BLUES. It is available in reds, too. Barbara, I'd love to use your photo to show what it looks like in blues. Check out the link in my Etsy shop. Currently available.
Jeanne Jacobson
Kennett Square, PA
Jeanne is a rya dare devil. She challenges herself with exciting colors and designs she has made or adapted from her grandchildren's art!

No fear! She jumps right in and has a party with the colors. LOVE IT!
Marc Wernick
Baltimore, Maryland

He has been coming to the studio over the past few months to get started on this colorful design he was inspired by. We drew it on the backing and selected color combinations. He's getting quite good at the math. Kudos!

He is well on his way and now has all the yarn he will need to complete it--we hope!
Brenda Barton
Van, Texas
Brenda is no stranger to making rya rugs. She shared her progress in making Kontrapunkt in these mustardy colors which I have never seen before. It's coming along beautifully. Thanks for sharing. Check out the other colors available in the Kontrapunkt design in my Etsy Shop.
I hope I didn't miss anyone. Sometimes photos don't load in the WordPress system for some reason or they only go in sideways. And of course there is always the possibility for human error (mine?) or I forget. Let me know if I missed you and there's always the next newsletter.
Closing Comments
And once again,
Thanks for reading all the way to the end.
You all make my mission and work so rewarding. Thank you for your kind correspondence and friendship.

I usually end my newsletter with colorful garden photos. This fall, my husband and I hired a team of "pond builders" to install a small pond with flowing water behind our back porch--in front of Byrdcall Studio.

In the spring we will surround the pond with plants that are good for the birds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife. So stay tuned.
As always, stay happy and well, and seeing the beauty around you.
Enjoy your loved ones as we celebrate the holidays.
Many thanks for your spending your valuable time with me .
Knot on!
A Couple of Links that Might Come in Handy
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