Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival
and Creative Arts
by Melinda Byrd
Newsletter ~Welcome to Summer 2021
The News!
Lundgren Rya Yarn Update
I carry three types of yarn used in rya rug making. Sometimes I find small lots of other vintage rya yarns and offer them at a discount just to move it along. The most frequently requested yarn comes from Rauma in Norway: Ryegarn and Prydvevgarn. I have all (80+) colors of both and reorder nearly every month.

The other yarn I carry is the remainder of Lundgren Rya yarn which my grandparents, Bill and Angie Lundgren, commissioned Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire to spin for them back in 1977-80. There were 91 colors at one time. Now 45 colors remain. Some colors are nearly sold out. See the red lettering on the photo below. The red number is how many skeins remain. All the rest have 30 or more skeins remaining and some of them have 100+ skeins left.

When you buy 5+ Lundgren skeins, the price goes from $10 to $9. It blends beautifully with the Rauma yarns, too. Let me know if you want to replenish your stock of any colors that are in short supply. Easy way to purchase is to go to my website.
Hot off the press!
...And just as some colors are practically sold out as shown above, I have these 7 colors in quantities from 100 - 200+ skeins. I'm hoping to move them to make room for my Rauma Yarn and kits.

If you can use any of these colors in a current or future project, now is a good time to order at 30% off. Discount is only available in my Etsy shop. Click on this link or the photo for details.
Resuming the Rya Sewing Circles
at Byrdcall Studio
During the pandemic, I was busy responding to emails, filling book and supply orders, and sharing rya posts in our Rya Friends FB group. But I did not encourage people to hang out in the studio because . . .well, you know why. But the tide has turned and people are starting to ask when we can open the studio for scheduled drop-ins and Rya Sewing Circles and classes.

Here are some ideas and I would like your feedback. All sessions limited to 5 people who have been vaccinated for the safety of all.

Rya Sewing Circle for local folks to sit with their rya projects and "stitch and bitch." No lesson plan for you, but lots of helping each other out as needed. Relaxing, sharing, and informal. 9 AM - Noon or 1:00 - 4 PM. Your choice. No fee. You don't have to stay for the full 3 hours, but the seat will be saved for you. Drop ins welcome.

Saturday, July 10th
or Tuesday, August 17th.
Registration required.

Getting Started on Your First Rya Project: Sign up for this free one-time session
  • If you bought a kit, and want help getting started;
  • If you have designed a rya and need supplies and encouragement; or
  • If you want me to prepare any kit for you (in advance) to start on in the studio, this would be a good session for you.

For people who want a kit, you'll save shipping cost if you pick it up and sit with us until you are comfortable with your knotting. After this session, you will graduate to the Rya Sewing Circle! 9 AM - Noon or 1:00 - 4 PM. Your choice. No fee.

To pre-order a kit so you can start it that day, look through the kits listed in my Etsy shop, but don't order it through Etsy if you will be coming to the studio, just tell me which one you want to give me a day to prepare it for you.

Thursday, July 22nd
9 - Noon or 1-4:00
Registration required.

Rya Designing Classes will be scheduled at a later date. This will be a series of classes, with full instruction and a classes registration fee. I'll see how the feedback goes for these ideas. (Photo below is from my 2019 class at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD.)

If interested, RSVP to me at

New Location for my Byrdcall Shirts and
Art in Sykesville, Maryland
For the past few months, I've been selling some of my art prints and note cards at The Vine on Main in Sykesville. My friend, Ridia Dearie sells international Fair Trade art and clothing, wine and craft beer, and supports local artists. (Thank you, Ridia.)

This spring she started to carry many of my hand printed and silk screened shirts. I bring her more designs and more variety almost weekly as they have been selling well.

If you are in the area, drop by and say "Hi!" Check out their events calendar for the list of outdoor concerts that bring people together in Sykesville in a safe fresh air environment. Go home with a new shirt!

If you don't live nearby, check out the available shirts in my Etsy shop and I'll mail them right off to you.

Rya Show & Tell
(Thank you for sharing your photos!)
Linda Wastila
"Almost 2 years to finish my first rya rug. This to honor my parents, who loved the ocean at night. Thank you for teaching me the craft at Common Ground and acquainting me with my Swedish and Finnish roots. Peace..."

Linda visited me at the Studio a few weeks ago. She had run out of yarn at the end of her project and just needed a few more strands to complete the top row.

She also bought a whole new kit to keep her hands knotting. Knot on!
Scott Mitsching
New Jersey
Scott is very new to rya. He discovered what I offer in my Etsy shop. I think he will be knotting for a long time to come. Here is the design, ILD from Rauma he is currently working on with other kits in mind for future orders.

He also bought the blue, yellow, and green rya which was listed in my Etsy shop with an interesting story. It was a half-knotted small rya rug that I believe my grandmother and maybe my mother had used to demonstrate knotting at a public event, but it was never finished.

My friend, JoAnn Zaleski, who occasionally helps me in the studio took it home one day with a fistful of similarly-colored yarn and she completed it as a small rya. Scott bought it, folded, stuffed, and stitched it up to be a mighty fine pillow!

He also has joined our Rya Rug Friends group on Facebook along with our current membership of 343 rya fans.

If you would like to join our nice group of rya folks, I welcome you. Click here to join.
Della Curtis
Wichita, KS
Della was the first to buy the Rauma TROLL kit from my studio. And now I know exactly what it looks like with modern photography. She likes to leave the pile in loops. She said, "I am a loop person; saving myself the extra step of cutting. I cut the yarn on my rya pillows, but that didn’t take long."

Like so many people who hunkered down during the pandemic, Della made one rya rug after the other. In total she knotted 7 (seven!) rya rugs to keep herself happy and productive. As far as I am aware, that is a rya record!
Arne Solbak
Lititz, PA
As you may recall from the two photos at the very top of this newsletter, Arne and his wife, Molly, and their daughters Johanna and Martha visited the studio in April. This is the design they were preparing for.

Arne had an image of a viking ship coat of arms design for which he needed a backing and a good supply of yarn to get started with. I gave them graph paper to fit the backing he is using--a large one from Rauma. Martha drew the shield on the graph paper simplifying it for the rya knot works. It will be quite spectacular. I can't wait to see it complete. They always share in the Rya Friends Group and I'll share here too so no one misses the end result. Knot on, Arne!
Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
Chagrin Falls, OH
Cathy was a beginner rya rug maker a year or two ago. Then she designed and made her birch trees rya. (See the April-May Newsletter in the Archives.)

She used the worksheet on p. 284 of my book to calculate how much yarn she would need of every color and sent me her order on an Excel spreadsheet! I was so impressed. This is her abstract rendition of the Last Supper which she is donating to her church's fund-raiser event. Take a close look at her set-up. Brilliant! I bet she has completed it by now. Cathy, post a photo in the Rya Rugs Friends FB Group when you get a chance. Thanks for sharing!
Karen Solstad
Amesbury, MA
I have to share this little story of amazing reconnection for me. Karen and I were neighbors and childhood pals. We lived in Concord, MA at a time when little girls could run and play in the woods and cross streets without supervision. When we were in 4th or 5th grade, Karen's family moved to Marblehead, MA and at the same time, my family moved to another house in Concord.

We saw each other once after that at a sleepover party in Marblehead. I remember Karen's mother opening the door where the girls were supposedly sleeping, and she whispered that if anyone was awake, there was a beautiful display of northern lights. So all giggling girls ran upstairs and outside to see the northern lights. I'll never forget.

Fast forward 55 years!
In June, out of the blue, I received an email from Karen!

She wondered if I would remember her. Ha!
Her Norwegian mother-in-law who sounds like an amazing fiber artist had recently passed away leaving oodles of yarn (much of it hand-dyed) which the family was trying to find homes for.

Here is where the amazing thing happened:

In her words, "My sister-in-law (married to my husband's brother) has started trying Rya rugs- she just took over my mother-in-laws small loom and I saw her last week after a year (pandemic :() and she was telling me about her retirement Rya adventure and she said she had found this wonderful woman on the internet who was incredibly helpful. I said I knew a family who was very involved in Rya rugs in the 60s in Concord . . . Well, I said the name 'Melinda' and Connie said "Oh, Melinda is the name of my Rya Guide! My s-i-l 's name is Constance Johannessenn. Connie was very enthusiastic about you and your help. So small small world!"

Well, it is a small world, and joys of connection like this make my life so rich. I had helped Connie get started on making "Magnetism" one of my early rya designs which needed to have all the colors changed to the Rauma yarns since the Lundgren reds had sold out.

So, to make a long story not-so-long, Karen had hoped that I might take some of the yarn off her hands to sell, but instead she bought a book and is now excited to design her own rya.

She said,
"Hi Melinda!
The book is wonderful- I know now I have to make a rya! 
The last of the furniture and household stuff from my Norwegian mother-in-laws house was sold last weekend - after Lars and his siblings cleaned out what hadn’t sold he came back with another (small thank goodness!) box of wool- look what I found in it! (See photos above with Sellgren Rya kits supplies and plant dyed yarn)
I never knew my mil had made a rya- so the wool is getting organized & put away, and I have to start fantasizing about ideas- 
I will keep in touch- 
All my best! 

Connections ...Connections ... Connections!
Since I'm not teaching Classes yet,
Enjoy these Videos to Learn More about Rya
You may have seen some of these, but maybe not!
From Handcrafted Tradition Videos by Ken Koons
This is the first video which made clear to me the demand for more information to be shared regarding Rya Rugs. The video resulted in me writing THE BOOK.

The Art of Rya Rugs with Melinda Byrd
The second video is a whole hour long, but lots of fun as Ted Zaleski interviews me for the Carroll County Public Library shortly after my book came out.

This interview was live on 5th of December 2020 between Finland and the USA. There was Kässämessut netissä--craft fair held on Facebook. It is about 50 minutes long. Very good conversation, but the sound track is off by a couple of seconds, so it is good to listen to when you are knotting your rya.

Rya Rugs: Design and Make your Own - Vävstuga book preview
Only 2 minutes long, this one is a great book review from Vävstuga in Shelburne, Mass. She really looks through the whole book with viewers. They just bought two more cases of books to sell to their customers.
Mini-Lesson in Knotting Video posted in the Rya Rugs Friends Group on Facebook
I tried to post the link here, but am unable to do so. I am working on a rya rug now and finding it a good tool for sharing techniques with you by video. I bought a camera mount bar so I am free to use my hands and voice to share with you.

I encourage you all to sign up for the private Rya Friends Group--even if you don't "do Facebook." Everyone is so kind and helpful.
A Few Parting Comments
Thanks for reading to the very end, Friends! Your reward is this lovely photo of a cicada on my studio wall.
In case you don't know, the area where I live was extremely populated by the 17-year periodical cicada this spring. This is one of several million that emerged from the earth under our trees over the past 6 weeks. They were fascinating to watch and listen to, but frankly I'm relieved that they are now gone so my dog will stop eating them!

I've taken a 6 week break from using my right hand due to my over-activity in weeding the thistle and wiregrass from my garden beds. Proof that you don't have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. It has cut down on my knotting this spring among many other activities that require two hands.
Wishing you a safe and happy summer.
We have been through a year like no other. Time to appreciate the things in life that we love. I have been enjoying my gardens immensely. Sharing a few photos I took a few minutes ago.

Life is good.

My hectic online world of orders and emails has slowed down a little for the summer, so if I can put a kit together for you, or help you with a project, now would be a good time to catch me.

I'm sure I forgot someone I wanted to shout out to in this newsletter, but if so, please forgive me. Keep those photos coming, friends. You know I like to share them.
Many thanks for your valuable time with me here.
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