ByrdCall Studio

Hi, Friends, 

Sure, time is ticking by, yet many good things have been happening in my world--hopefully yours, too. Jump in to this not-too-long newsletter to see what's happening here.

In this Issue:
  • 9 Students learned rya rug design and knotting at Common Ground on the Hill
  • THE BOOK Status Report
  • Byrdcall Studio now offers rya backing from Finland!
  • 158 Rya Rug Friends Group ~ why not join?
  • Mentors Available and Needed
  • Large Vintage Rya Kit Needs a Home (Half Price Yarn!)
  • Pictures of your recent rya work for sharing time
  • Frequently asked Questions and ... Wishes for a great summer!


9 NEW Rya Rug Designers Complete my Rya Class at Common Ground

I don't think anything brings me more joy in life than to watch students turn a design idea from thoughts in their heads (or pictures in their hands) to 3-dimensional rya rugs.

I watch them sketch ideas, make graphs or draw on the backing. I watch them work through the math with a calculator ... blend many shades of yarn as a painter mixes paints, to create the exact color blendings they want ... then off they go making the knots which become the rya rug!  Next thing you know, we have a happy rya sewing circle!

Kristen King made her graphed design from a photo 
of her favorite vacation spot at sunset. 
See finished piece below.

Sheila Herbst searches through 
the approx. 250 colors available to create 
her many-shades of muted sunflower colors.

Scroll through some of my favorite pictures below.  At the end of the photo-series, see some of the completed ryas with more photos to come in the near future.
Barbara Neel at work on a design inspiration she had sketched years ago.  I understand she is almost done.

Then the new students become teachers. 
Linda  Wastila shares her new skill with a curious youngster.

Kristen King's Completed Sunset Rya

Ellen Hurwitz's "Moon from Alumni Hall"
(completed 2018)

Natalie Kartalia's Sunflower

Sheila Herbst's Sunflower

My grandparents who helped spread the rya handcraft in the USA in the 1950-70s were Angie and Bill Lundgren.  
Meet my new friend and rya student, 
Buffy Lundgren--now Buffy Illum.

Stay tuned for more photos in the up-coming newsletters.


Status Update on 
my  Rya Rug-Making 
Book Adventure
I've never written a book before. Surprised?  Ha ha! So it is quite eye opening to me that I think things can be done very fast only to find out--in real life--things move a little more slowly. But you already know that. 

I have good news to report. Yesterday (8/3/19) the very last photos illustrating technique were shot, and within days will be placed in their waiting pages of the book. I'll give the document one last review and hopefully there will be no glaring booboos. Two very patient and generous final editors will also take turns to make sure it is understandable to both novice and experienced rya rug makers. Then Holly, the indexer, will work her magic, and then there will be no more will go to press. 

Interestingly, in my most recent summer class at Common Ground, some of my students suggested an improvement to one of the charts you will find in the book. I've already made those changes, so good thing the book wasn't already published.  But truthfully, there will always be tweaks and improvements which can simply be clarified in newsletters, blogs, and in the NEXT edition!


NEW at Byrdcall Studio:
Ryijy Supplies from Finland Including Backings
Cut to Length for You

Ryijy (Finland) = Rya (Sweden) = Rye (Norway) The ryijy backings are called:  Ryijynpohjakangas. You see, I am learning Finnish very slowly.  One month or so ago, I purchased backing in 10-meter bolts from two Finnish companies to expand my offerings to you. I am willing to sell them in any length you request. All are wool and linen and woven in Finland.

From Taito  Pirkanmaa Oy I have four choices of width:

25 cm (9.8")         $14.00/foot      $46/meter
42 cm (16.5")       $24.50/foot      $80/meter
80 cm (31.5")       $46.00/foot      $150/meter
120 cm (47.24")   $75.00/foot      $245/meter

These backing are heavy. They are woven of wool and linen  with knotting made on the surface of the backing. Order about 6" longer than your desired finished length to account for hemming top and bottom. I'll send you instructions for choices of how to secure the ends.

From Wetterhoff Oy, I have 35 cm (14") width which I can hem to any length you request. If you use the Norwegian or Swedish-weight yarn, you may use fewer strands on your needle (like 2). I'm not selling any Finnish yarn at this time since they have so many colors and my space in Byrdcall Studio is limited. If you have access to the lighter-weight Finnish ryijy yarn (Ryijylanka) these backings are a good place to use them.  You might want to try out the thin Rauma Prydvevgarn in these backings. Byrdcall Studio has all their colors. You could use 3-4 strands on your needle. You can experiment.

35 cm (13.8")         $15.50/foot      $50/meter

And here is a Ryijy Kit from Wetterhoff Oy ready to go!

(Google Translate says "Starbridge in Red")
Design by Annukka Mikkola

81 x 81 cm
32" x 32"
$420 for complete kit 
with all you need.

This is the first Finnish kit I have purchased. It has all the supplies you need including instructions in English, and I will include addition instructions to clarify techniques that you may not be familiar with. If somebody local in Maryland buys it, I'll give you a free personal lesson if you stop by to pick it up.


158 Members the 
"Rya Rug
Friends Group"
as of 8/5/19
I am loving this addition to the Rya Rug Revival.  In fact, it allows me to focus on getting my book done while you pose questions to one another and get great responses from your peers. In fact, I don't even have the "alert sound" turned on when someone posts a comment or photo because it would draw my attention away from my book writing (and that is the last thing I need in the final homestretch). I am just delighted every time I check out the Group, people are talking rya, sharing tips, and asking questions. There is a lot of brilliance in this group...keep sharing!  I'll throw in my 2-cents on occasion.   ;-)

If you are intrigued by rya rugs, the only good reason NOT to join is if you are not a Facebook person.  If you are a member of Facebook (even if you never use Facebook) you can request to join this Group.  If you subscribe to my newsletter, you definitely should check this out. 

To join, go to my Byrdcall Studio Facebook page and go to GROUPS.

Click JOIN GROUP and you will be asked about your rya interest (to filter out spammers or those without any interest). You can answer in any way you want.  Then you can comment and share with each other.  Even if you just click on "like" when you see rya rugs that you like...that will make someone smile. To join, just  Click .  Consider this a  personal invitation! No product promotions, please.


Find a Mentor, or Be One!
21 Mentors in USA, Canada, Mexico, and Europe

Eventually you will see a pink tag in your neighborhood--or at least in your state  Anybody else want a pink tag on the map? 
This is to assist someone who feel stuck in their rya work. Maybe they forgot how to make the knot. It happens. Rya help could be in the next town...or maybe the next state.  I'm keeping track of everyone who is willing to assist a beginner get started with a kit or a design.  I gladly share the mentor's contact info with the person who needs help (but I do not post their phone numbers or addresses to ensure their internet privacy).  

Thanks to those of you who have offered to be of assistance if there is a neighbor in need:

If you told me you'd be a mentor and you are not on this list, PLEASE remind me, because my busy brain may have overlooked adding you to this precious list! ;-)
  • Holly in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jackie in Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Kristin in Deland, Florida
  • Tina in San José, California
  • Kris in Paynesville, Minnesota 
  • John in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
  • Janet in Monmouth County, New Jersey
  • Inger in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Marsha in Sun City, Arizona
  • Madeline, south of Tucson
  • Paul in Tucson, Arizona
  • Denise in Snohomish, Washington
  • Robbin--Vancouver/Savory Is., British Columbia 
  • David in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Eleanor in Fleischmanns, New York
  • Laurie in Chatham and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Angie is near Mexico City
  • Polly in Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • Mia in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Marie in Scunthorpe/North England
  • and Marian in The Netherlands
You need NOT be an expert. All you have to do to change from a little white tag to a bright pink tag is be willing to help someone in your area get started.  I will contact you to make the connection...and no mentor to date has had more than one contact, so you are not going to be swamped!  Email me today.

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.


A Rare Find: Vintage Kit 
Looking for a Home
If you recall in our last newsletter, I was looking for a home for this vintage Rauma rya kit named "Uvær." It was purchased by a woman in the 1960s or 70s; it was stored somewhere for a long time; and the backing went missing! Eventually the ownership passed to the daughter of the woman who bought it, and she found me.

So I bought it this spring at a very good price. Since the last newsletter, I found the time to inventory all the yarn and supplies in the kit and found it to be in great condition. I added small amounts to be sure there's plenty. And I have calculated the price which is a huge savings over the kit if you were to order it "new" today. (New, it would be $1,142.)

I tallied all the yarn at retail price and divided it in half. The new backing is at regular price. All together the price for this refurbished kit is $740. plus shipping to you from Maryland.

Decades ago, the woman who originally bought the kit prepared dozens of zip-lock bags full of the threadings ready-to-be-knotted. She has done loads of work for you. 

There are actually some miscellaneous zip-lock bags of yarn beyond what is required for the rug, and I'll just include them all (free) because you will surely get use from miscellaneous. 

Here are Photos and Details.

140 x 200 cm (55" x 79") kit from Rauma of Norway called "Uvær" which translates in English to storm or severe weather.

All together it contains 47 3/4 skeins all confirmed by me.

The design is not complicated and suitable for beginner or advanced rya rug maker. The yarn is of exceptional quality--guaranteed.

Please let me know if you are interested and I can calculate what the shipping will be to your home. The first person to "lay claim" to this updated vintage kit--receives it!

If you happen to recall that in the last newsletter I mentioned having another vintage "good deal," you have a good memory, but it did sell last month so I won't mention it here.  ;-)


Photos Shared by You!

It is so much fun for me to receive your photos of your work. When I've supplied you or coached you, I feel like your success is mine.  Let's all revel in the fun of seeing what others have created. Keep those photos coming, friends--and if you can add your name to the filename, that helps me find it when I'm creating a newsletter.
Mary Jane Lloyd from East Lansing, MI completed this Rauma rye kit named Origo #781. I had the pleasure of her visit to my studio in early June to pick up this kit as well as another which will be her next project!

Karina Wetherbee from Lafayette, CO completed this rya 
of her own design. Read her story about it in 
the Rya Rug Friends FB Group.

One of my most prolific rya rug making friends, 
David McKenrick   from Cincinnati 
has just completed this--his 31st rya rug. 
This is a BIG one.  Read more in our Rya Rug Friends Group.

Carol Solinger from Odenton, MD is no stranger to designing her own rya rugs. Here is her most recent rya. 
See more in the Rya Rugs Friends Group.


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 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 do not google-message me or facebook-message me because it's hard for me to keep track of all those messages systems.  (I have completed disconnected from the AOL email address I had so make sure you don't have that one recorded anywhere.)

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 please leave me a message. 

Q:  So how did you get into this whole rya rug thing? 
This is such a frequently asked question, I'm leaving this link here because it is nicely put into a nutshell. Credit to Lyndi McNulty and  The Carroll County Times.

Finding my Work

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.

Other Ways to Keep Up-to-Date:

Like my Facebook page:   Byrdcall Studio

Join the Facebook Group Rya Rug Friends  for all the latest in rya!

On Instagram, follow me at:   byrdcallstudio

And as always, feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you think might enjoy it.


Enjoy Your Summer!
Wishing you a great summer! 

And to ALL of you . . . you are the best for reading all the way to the end!



Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio
Woodbine, MD


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