ByrdCall Studio
It is still January, so I can still say Happy New Year!

I didn't mean to let most of the month slip by...just too much happening, and the newsletter wouldn't write itself. But I have lots of fun stuff to share with you and today is the day I am sending this out come hell or high water!

I hope you have a few minutes to spend with me. 

I n this issue: 
  • Update on book progress
  • Recipe for my Swiss Cinnamon Crisps
  • Results from my Unity safety pin design shirt sales
  • Making a Norwegian Rauma Rya Kit with friends
  • Rya Sewing Circle offered for new rya rug-makers!
  • What are other people working on???
  • Stitches United Classes for All Fiber Arts enthusiasts in Hartford,Connecticut; April 2017
  • and Other Things...


Update on My Book 
First and foremost, in 2017 you will witness the completion of my book on designing and making off-loom rya rugs. The first half is being laid out as I complete writing the details for the designing section.  It is going to be full of everything you need to know--the who-what-how-where-and-whys of rya rug making because I don't plan to write another book for a while! But I do look forward to making more videos to help people with technique and teaching classes. 

If you've never seen my first video which got this whole ball rolling Click here.  To date it's been viewed about 390,000 times.  The daily emails a nd calls I receive are wonderful, but the progress of the book has slowed down so I can help individuals as much as possible.


Cookie Recipe from Studio Tour
I know, this may not be the best venue for a recipe, but heck!  Why not?

I prepare this recipe every year for the Studio Tour and each year I get about ten requests for the recipe.  It is my favorite since I was a child.  My mother made a family cookbook of all our favorite recipes years ago and gave it to each of her four daughters.  She added my recipe in my 5th grade handwriting, which I share with you for a laugh. (Doe = dough.)  

Wasn't that a fun read?  Basically you make the ball of dough as described, refrigerate, divide dough into quarters and roll out thin on floured surface. Cut into squares with a knife (like a checkerboard), put them on ungreased cookie sheet, paint with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar cinnamon mix.  What I added in my recent years which makes all the difference is slivered or sliced almonds!  Let me know if you actually make these. I guarantee they will be LOVED.


This Design on Shirts has Generated over $600 in Contributions to Nonprofits
You probably read this story in my last newsletter. I printed about 230 long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts with this image.  Over 60 have sold and the buyers have chosen a nonprofit to receive $10 of each shirt sale.  To date (1/25/17) a total of $600 has been sent to the two selected nonprofits:  Mary's Center and Common Ground on the Hill.  The promise of the $10 contribution will continue through February for shirts purchased through my Etsy shop.  If you want one, order soon because I do not plan to print more--just not enough time in the week to do everything.

These shirts will continue to be sold while they last on etsy and by the art shop, Eclecticity, on Main Street in Westminster (across the street from the Library).


As A Designer and Artist, I am Knotting a Rya Kit? Here is why:
I have been designing and making rya rugs since I was in 6th grade, so my venture to start the new year is to make a "kit" rya rug from Norway--and an easy one at that. So, for me, my challenge is to not ad-lib or substitute colors . Why am I holding back on my creativity?  Click here to read the story.

As time slips by, I find myself moving further and further along in this rya.  So it might be complete before we can get together, but that will free me up to help you more. Here's where Ild is at this point (1/25/17):
Ild in Blues and Greens

Interesting Note:  Soon after the above blog post went out, I got an email from the editor of an online magazine in the United Kingdom which is running a story on the colorful and somewhat humorous advertisements of rya rug back in the 1950-70s.  She wanted to help connect people with how they can make a rya today, and found me--and this blog--which she will be adding to her magazine in the February-March issue of Vintage Explorer (VE) Magazine  Too cool ... knot the same rya kits as others around the world are doing at the same time.


Up-coming Rya Sewing Circles and Coaching Session:
Wed., February 8   2-4:00

In an effort to help local folks get started on their rya kits or designs, I am offering a day once a month to open the studio to 3-4 people who want a little hand-holding as they get started or just want company as they are working on their rya projects.  Send me an email if you want to join us.

Also tell me if you have particular needs like evenings only, or weekends only.  If you are serious about attending, I will seriously try to accommodate you and bring  couple of others into the mix for fun.

I already have one person signed up for Feb. 8th, so why not join us.  We will learn from each other.  If you just want to drop in to peek over shoulders to see rya in action, you are welcome as well.  

(Hoping to see Debbie, Marge, Louise, Denis, Heather... and YOU!)

If you order a Kit from Norway, you can pick it up at my studio when it arrives during a Sewing Circle.  Then work on it while others keep you company.  


What have YOU 
Been Up to Lately?
I love it when people send me pictures of their rya works. Here are a few that are very fun to share with you.

From David in Cincinnati:
His leopard-skin clad granddaughter loves peacocks, so he designed this one for her. Looks like she really likes it! Notice the sculptural effect. [I must say, she reminds me of me as a child at my grandparents' house.  -MB]

Angie in Florida has designed several ryas in the past few years.  About her latest rya, she said, "I saw a lot of work by Alexander Calder last year at Art Basel Miami and thought it would translate nicely to a Rya.  It had something of those original Rya patterns from Norway/ Sweden but with brighter colors as opposed to the orange/brown/earth tones of the 70s.  I first had a go with pastels and watercolors until I felt it worked."  I think it works, Angie!  

Here is her latest:

TAPESTRY!  It is NOT all Rya all the time.  I was delighted to be discovered by a remarkable tapestry artist on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay here in Maryland.  Ulrika Leander, originally from Sweden bought a  nice assortment of ryegarn for the tapestry she is working on now.  

Click on the images to go to her web site and then spend some time there to be AMAZED!  

And Kay from New Zealand just completed a very challenging project.  She was trying to recreate a vintage rya rug by mixing vintage yarns with modern day yarns from New Zealand as well as my Norwegian ryegarn and prydvevgarn.  I sent her remnants of old Swedish yarns in response to her requests for a very specific look and feel.  Now she is done!  Follow her process and observations.
In her words:  
"One really neat thing is because its not tight each time the rug is shaken it has a slight and very subtle difference in the way it lays.  I even like this rug when its walked on and messed up (See picture to the left) daughter commented that it reminds her of animal fur when it's messy. 

[But look at how neat and crisp the design is when shaken out and not tussled.  You get the same look of "neatness" when you make shorter loops.  A shorter pile keeps the design more in tact.--MB]

She goes on to say, "I definitely would use the Prydvevgarn in "every" rya rug making.  I like that extra shaggy look that it gives.  In my mind I was wondering what it would look like with rows of Rauma ryegarn (or alternative) and then thinner rows of Prydvevgarn going vertically, and how many Prydvevgarn would I need on the needle, and also what would a rug look like if the Prydvevgarn was cut slightly longer than the Rauma ryegarn, anyway leave that to the future maybe.  

So most of this rug is one Rauma ryegarn thread and one Prydvevgarn with one Rauma ryegarn thread and one Nordiskas half thread mixed in especially in the greys in groups and every 6 or so stitches with the cream, with a few stitches of Rya wool from Sweden and some New Zealand half size mixed with the Frosta gold.  In the end I dyed the blues you sent and used them with the greys and used the vintage Nordiskas blue that i got with the cream as it was a closer match to the original.  I ran out of the dark grey again so I dyed some Nordgarn (no idea what it is but it looks like Rya wool) which came out a bluey grey and used that." 

[I know that is beyond most people's comprehension, but Kay was a beginner a few years ago, and now she has passed me in her knowledge and analytics!]

And Marsha from Arizona just completed yet another rya:  Briksdal (meaning Glacier) is a kit I can get for you from Rauma, Norway. are amazing. (You aren't going "flash" us are you?!)  Believe it or not, but she is working on another rya now...a bigger one called Sombreros!  Marsha is my first customer to make most of these Norwegian rya kits.  I have been fascinated to hear from her that each kit is more vivid in color than the photos show on the

A little confession from me:  Since my computer crashed in a thunderstorm 7/30/16 and I had to buy a new one in August, I have not had the time to figure out the best filing system for downloads.  I'm afraid that some of you have sent me photos which are safely somewhere on this computer, but not where I can locate them when working on a newsletter.  So please forgive me if you have sent nice photos of your projects and they never show up in the bad, not yours. (Feel free to resend.)


A Stitch in Time...
Stitches United in Hartford, CT

Fiberartists!  As of January 5, my class has 8 people enrolled with a 12 student capacity. (And a lady from Florida just called to tell me she had signed up, so there are at least 9 people registered!)

Yes, there is still time to register.  Share with your fiber-friends.  This is going to be a GOOD TIME!   My sister, Laurie, from Massachusetts is coming to help out and take quilting classes.  

Check out this new conference of classes and resources! This is my first year as an instructor for Stitches as they start their new venture Stitches United for all the needle and yarn crafts. I will be teaching no-loom-required rya rug making. Join me at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Read more and check out all the other amazing classes for knitters, crocheters, felters, weavers, and quilters ... and more. Now is the time to sign up.  I understand classes fill quickly.  

Share with others who might want to attend. Thanks!  Isn't it about time that I shared my unique knowledge about off-loom rya rug-making with the world?  When my book is published, that will be a huge step, but this is too.  


Frequently Asked Questions...

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I am going to update this "link section" of the newsletter every month.  So often people lose or delete a newsletter, then want some vital piece of information from it. So starting today, I will included this section in every newsletter to make it easy to locate sources of whatever.

Finding my Work
at 15 E. Main St., Westminster, MD now carries my Unity shirts as well as Today I Will Create shirts.

Off Track Art in Westminster   Art Notecards and various Shirts:  long-sleeved at the moment  


My Etsy Shop has just about everything for online buying.


Stitches United  Hartford, Connecticut; April 27-30, 2017

Common Ground on the Hill, McDaniel College,Westminster, MD.  My class is July 3-7.


That's all for now, my friends.

Pray for Snow
Thanks for staying with me and this newsletter to the very end.  Let me know if you'd like me to report on any particular subjects you are interested in... (assuming I know something about those subjects!)

T hanks for sharing this time with me.

 See you next month!



Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio
Woodbine, MD


Save the Dates!

April 27 - 30, 2017
100's of classes including my 
Rya Rug Making
Register Now.
Archives  of Recent Newsletters

Click on Past Issues