Monthly Newsletter ~April 2021
Welcome Visitors!
Remember, I Have BlockPrints.
Before I went almost totally RYA, I printed framable art from my original woodcuts and linocuts as well and using those same blocks to print on "art shirts" for you.

My friend, Jeannette Dowling (p.105 in my book) remembers I have prints for sale and we had a nice visit as she gathered a few items for her family.

Visitors from Bar Harbor, Maine!
I have been so happy to receive calls and emails from people asking if they can stop by the studio to say hello, to see what I have to offer, and to pick up supplies for their next project.

Astri and Philip Brooks from Bar Harbor, Maine recently had their COVID vaccines and had set out to connect with family members across the country. I was honored to be a stop along their way.

Philip took this photo of Astri and me (masks dropped for the photo) looking at this Swedish rya called Påfågelöga (Peacock) I completed for a friend years ago. It has 47 threading combinations!
Philip is currently working on his own design (shown on the left) inspired by colorful wire baskets. When I first saw the picture of his rya, it reminded me of the peacock feathers.

Here is a unique way that Astri helped to organize the yarn threading used in Philip's rya. These threadings decorate the banister of their home! (and no they do not have cats!)
Marjie Completed her First Rya!
In early February this year, Marjie Goodman discovered rya rugs and at the same time discovered that Byrdcall Studio is the place where she can get everything she needs for them. She visited me from Baltimore--just a 30 minute drive--and went home with an Anemone kit from Rauma in Norway.

Last week she made an appointment to pick up her second kit and shared with me the magic of Anemone. She was surprised at my amazement of its beauty, and I reminded her that I lay all the colors of the kits out on my work tables as I pack your kits to mail, but I seldom see the completed works of art. This one is mesmerizing, wouldn't you agree?

Beth Novick Completes Her Second Rya Rug
I met Beth about 10 years ago, before I even dreamed of writing a book on rya. She lives in nearby Brookville, Maryland and is very into everything "midcentury modern." She found me online. She was the first to encourage me to "buy back" the supplies which had belonged to my grandparents, the Lundgrens, and try to jumpstart rya rug making again.

She quickly finished her second rya shown here which she began in February! Last week she went home with an armload of miscellaneous vintage backings and more colorful yarn for designing her own!
"New" Kit Added to
Byrdcall Studio Shop
Gullregn #392 Rauma in 2 Sizes

This gorgeous rya kit has haunted me with its beauty since it was shared on the Rya Rugs Friends Facebook page by the Solbaks of Pennsylvania a month or two ago. Arne Solbak has made more ryas than I can count and this was his first! You may know that I'm a story-lover, so here is the story Molly Solbak shared about this rug.

"This is Arne's first rye of MANY and he made it at sea in 1968. He was a captain on cargo vessels in Asia from Japan to India and stops in between. I met him when I was a passenger on his vessel from Hong Kong to Borneo and back again. I have traveled throughout our marriage with him. He also was Captain on Crowley American vessels from Florida throughout the Caribbean."

[Note: Rye in Norwegian ... Rya in Swedish ... Ryijy in Finnish]

This Norwegian rye rug kit titled "Gullregn" was designed by Aasgerd Lie. It is 60 x 110 cm (23.5" x 43.3") or bigger if you like 80 x 120 cm (31.5" x 47").

The yarn is virgin wool from the Spaelsau sheep in Norway--coarse and resilient. The backing is woven of heavy wool and linen in the traditional manner. I make it easy for you by starting the first row for you and adding detailed instructions which I translated from Norwegian to English. I also am available to give advice through the process if you need it.

Looking for a New Home for a
Nearly Forgotten Rya Design
Some of you may remember Ann Nilsson from conversations in our Rya Friends Facebook Group. She was active in sharing and often commented kindly on others' projects. With this photo, she proudly shared her love of painting in the Norwegian style of Rosmaling on her yarn rack which several of you commented on.

I was so sorry to get word from her husband, Bengt, that she had passed away last year. Her rya was not completed. Bengt was moving from west coast to east coast and downsizing and looking for someone who might want the unfinished rya.

Now here is an interesting thing. When Ann ordered her kit named "NJORD," I had never heard of it before--nor seen a photo of it. But she knew she wanted it from a catalog her mother had. I asked my Rauma distributors about it and they confirmed that they could order it for me. And soon, "Njord" was in Ann's hands. She is working on it in the photo. None of my Rauma catalogs have this rya displayed.

I suggested to Bengt that the 65% completed rya really is a treasure and I would be happy to tell my newsletter readers about it knowing that some of you will jump at the chance to complete this project. A NEW kit sells for $540 plus postage. Bengt would be happy to mail it to you (or possibly hand it to you if you live near Virginia for $300. Knowing how meticulous Ann's painting is, I'll bet she was an awesome rya knotter. She supplemented her kit with one of my wooden needle blocks and extra needles, so that price is fantastic and will bring a smile to an angel named Ann.
Read on . . . . . . . .
What Does Njord look like?
This photo is the actual rya as it came out of its storage box last week. The colors are quite true. Ann complete about 30 inches of the 47" rya.

The threading card is as true to real colors as I can make it. I just took that photo in the studio this afternoon.

The photo with logos is from the old Rauma catalog. The kit has no "hot pinks." It is mostly blues, purples, and greens.
Were you wondering how I posted the catalog image above when I just told you that there were no images for that design in any of the catalogs I own?

When I asked Bengt to send me some pictures, in one of the photos, I could see a Rauma catalog I didn't recognize. It was Ann's mother's catalog! So Bengt kindly sent it to me.
The Fine Print: I told Bengt that I would be willing to field your questions and "screen" inquiries to be sure the person he mails to is able to continue as Ann has started. I will turn over to him a name or two with contact information and he and you can take it from there. I am not going to be involved in the transaction.

But I do have a request for the person who finishes this gorgeous nearly-forgotten rya design. I want you to send me a nicely centered photo with good lighting so I can let others know about this kit. If you happen to run short on a color, you know where to find me.

If you are seriously interested, email me (Melinda) at and tell me a little about your rya experience if I don't already know you. Thank you..
Rya Show & Tell
From Ann Brubaker
from Bethel,OH
Ann is not new to the rya world. Her experience goes back to the midcentury modern days when many others were knotting their Scandinavian designs.

When I acquired a large vintage CUM Rya kit which was partially knotted and needed experienced TLC and a new life, Ann stepped up and made it happen.

Subtle colors are not in Ann's vocabulary, so she cleared the backing of its gray knots and made a few changes. . .

For Ann's birthday, her photographer friend, Helen Clarke, gave her a beautiful and artistic photo of a pond they both enjoyed near Conway, New Hampshire: Whitton Pond. That became the inspiration for this rya which--by the way--also has 47 threading color combinations (like my Peacock) and turned it into a dramatic rya which now hangs on her wall.

Ann says she is inspired by both nature and by the places she visits. Her next rya is from inspiration from an island off the coast of Venice. I can't wait to see what she comes up with. Stay tuned.
The Terzakis Family
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and Oakland, California
This is a story of a family pulling together to complete a unique rya even through loss. John Terzakis' rya rug making has been featured in past blogs and newsletters. His daughter, Elizabeth, from Oakland, CA developed designing skills to keep him knotting which was when John was his happiest.

Upon realizing that this design "Kroton" from Rauma was only 80 x 120 cm, Elizabeth enlarged the design to fit a 140 x 200 cm backing. I sent the supplies to John in NJ and he was well on his way. Tragically and suddenly, COVID-19 took his life.

When Elizabeth was able to travel to be with her mother, Inger, they sat down together and picked up John's needles. Knotting resumed. And when Elizabeth had to go home, Inger continued knotting and knotting. John had a passion for a very long pile. Inger maintained 8 stitches to the yarn length through to the finish. The rya is now complete. Inger laughs when she tells me she can hardly lift it!

Elizabeth will bring it to California. She says, "I am going to have it right next to my workstation so that I can look at it while I am working and take naps on it when I am not."
Read this blog about the Terzakis family from December 2019. Click below.
Marilynn Tammi
from Holland, Michigan
"I have just completed Liekki by Akseli Gallen-Kallela. My husband, who immigrated from Finland when he was 9, bought the kit over 30 years ago (while on a trip to Finland with our daughters) intending to do it himself . . . After I finished a needlepoint Christmas stocking project last May, I found the kit downstairs and began working on it. It is now hanging in our living room(!!!) and it is more beautiful than I expected it to be when I started working on it. "

Congratulations, Marilynn! This is an exceptional ryijy from Finland. You are so lucky to have found it stored safely after 30 years. Now enjoy! This is one of the most beloved ryijy designs of Finland. (see p. 43 in my Rya Book.)
Ursina Hack-MacLellan from South Uist (Scottish Isle Google it!)
Ursina is a creative fiber artist who joined our Rya Friends Facebook page in February this year. Her first post:
"Hi everybody, I live in a remote part of the Hebrides and don't have access to the real deal materials. Have any of you any experience in weaving your own backing? I happen to have a rigid heddle loom 120 cm wide. what thickness of wool would I need to weave this. How close are the tabby weave stripes between the linen threads. also would rug wool be a good substitute to Rya wool? it's probably somewhere between dk and Aran thickness. grateful for any help on this, thank you."

She generated several great conversations with other weavers and was able to create her own goose-in-flight rya with many photographed steps along the way. I love this quote,

"Meanwhile in south Uist the geese are flocking. I can hear them even in my living room, while I am making these Rya knots."
Marjorie Nelson
from Little Falls, Minnesota
Marjorie, another member of the Rya Friends Group, took on a big challenge to help her friend out.

". . . And thank you friends for your responses to my questions about the pattern interpretation and running out of the original yarn. I ordered yarn from Melinda, and you are right, the yarn was close enough to blend in.
I started in the middle of the rug, where my friend left off. The pattern ran off the rya fabric backing.
I don't have a picture of what the rug is supposed to look like, but regardless, my friend loves it and was so happy I finished it for her.
Now to choose another rya project.

Loryn Molina
from Los Angeles, California
Loryn has been a member of the Rya Friends Group since April 26, 2018. Happy Anniversary!

She did a beautiful job on this Rauma kit named Ild in Reds. It is also available in Blues-Greens. Ild means "Flame."

The photo is very professional as well as her rya technique, but what most people are commenting on is her creative hanging technique--on driftwood!
I love it!

People are often asking me the best way to hang a rya, and I answer to the best of my ability, but I strongly feel that the best way is how YOU visualize it.
(See p. 237-240 in the book.

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
from Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Cathy designed this beautiful "birch painting" herself. She had lots of good questions, so I was thankful that she bought my book and really paid attention to the how-to sections. She is thoughtful and analytical and I got a lot of pleasure watching her skills develop!

She also took advantage of the many coaches who are in the Friends Group and always willing to help in decision making for a beginner.

Cathy asked me for a custom-hemmed acrylic backing and used almost exclusively the Lundgren yarn for great savings.

One nice thing about Cathy's approach is there is no other rya in the world exactly like hers.
When complete, I think all of her concerns about whether you could tell they were birch treewere alleviated. Sometimes an image doesn't become clear until you finish it and step back, but in this case... totally birch!?

Knot on, woman!
Friends, this is a longer-than-usual Show & Tell Section.
But what could I do with so many of you
blowing my mind with your creativity?
I had to share. I apologize to everyone I left out.
(Remind me for next time.)
Send Me a Photo of You (or Someone)
Wearing One of My Art Shirts . . .
Many of you know me as the shirt lady. I know it must disappoint you to read my newsletters and not find anything about what's new in T-shirts. This is for you!

I still have possibly hundreds of T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts both hand-printed and silk-screened. I have not printed new shirts for a few years now, but I sell about one each week through my Etsy shop. I would really like to move them faster than that but some of my photos of shirts folded on the table just don't look very appealing. Here's where you come in.

If you have a loved "Melinda Art Shirt," have someone take a picture of you wearing it and of course look like you are having as much fun in it as JoAnn is here--or Ron below. Well that would be a picture I can add to my Etsy T-shirt sales pictures which will help me make more sales hopefully.

And what's in it for you?
Send me a clear digital photo that shows off the artwork, (doing so will mean you are giving me permission to post it in my Etsy shop) and if you click through my Etsy shop and find a shirt you like, tell me what shirt you want, its design, size, color, style, and I'll give you a 25% discount on the cost of that shirt even if it is already reduced in price. The trick has to be listed because I'm not printing any more. So please just ask for a shirt that you SEE LISTED in the dropdown menus. If it isn't listed, I don't have it--probably. Got it?
This will be fun for me--to reconnect with my old T-shirt buddies. If all your shirts are 10 years old and showing age, why not scan through photos you took back then...that will work.

Send photos to me at and in that email tell me what shirt(s) you want. I will send you an online invoice (easy peasy) for the cost of the shirt(s) minus 25% plus $5 postage.

Help me clear my inventory out!
Click here to look at the shirts on hand. Just know that my Etsy listings will be more exciting to look at if you respond. If you don't have a shirt, buy one, put it on, and send a picture, and I'll refund you 25% of the cost of the shirt.
Buy from me directly because it can get a little complicated if you order from the Etsy shop. If you buy a pile of shirts, I'll take 25% of the whole order. This offer is good through May 2021. Then maybe I'll be sold out!

Temporary Hold on International Orders from Byrdcall Studio
Due to the unpredictable speed of delivery and customs protocol in various countries, I've decided to "pause" my international shipping services at this time. It's been challenging enough in the USA since the pandemic began, but I need to reduce the amount of stress from wondering where overseas packages are held up...since I can't do anything about it. I hope my overseas customers forgive me. (DHL deliveries are still available for cases of books.)
So What Now?
A Few Parting Comments
Thanks for reading to the very end, Friends!
Keep sharing with each other and keep creating. We are well on our way into a new year and staying safe from COVID is in our control. I just got my second vaccine last week and it adds a lot to the feeling of optimism. But I am still using good judgement about my proximity to others. I know you are, too.

I hope you are getting out to smell the flowers and get inspired by the good things in life.

Stay safe. Be a friend to your neighbors.
Have a beautiful spring.

Knot on!

Happy Spring!
This is me in my "Vaccine shirt" made a few years ago by my friend and fashion designer, Mimi Hay of Mimi Hay Design.
Stay Safe and Warm and Happy!
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