a96d4033-3066-41a9-8126-fd888ed27418 image

Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival

and Creative Arts

by Melinda Byrd

Visit Our Shop

Springtime Greetings from Byrdcall Studio

Hi there, Friends!

As I write this, it isn't quite Spring yet, but it just feels good to say, "Happy Spring!"

If the photo above doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. Jenny Begg named this tie-dyed rya her "Happy Hippy Rug." I have seen so many beautiful ryas created over the past couple of months. Happy to share them with you in this issue.

This issue is fairly long, but it is mostly photos, so feel free to just peruse and not read every word according to your time availability.

Pour yourself a cuppa something and join us for a few minutes to catch up on life in and around the studio.

There is plenty of good news!

~ Melinda

In this Issue:

  • The studio is well-stocked! Phew!
  • I'm working on a new rya rug from a weaving I made at CGOTH.
  • "Magnetism" makes a comeback after 45 years dormant.
  • Rya rugs being made among my Circle of Good Friends
  • Just-completed rya becomes focus of a hooked rugs video! Take a peek.
  • Open Studio Workdays and Class
  • New Kit Listings in the Etsy Shop
  • Sharing with Others featuring: Jenny in Spain
  • And closing comments

"Taking a Line for a Walk" by Jenny Begg from Spain

Note: Be aware that your email my only open the first 1/3 of this newsletter. It might say click if you want to see the whole newsletter. Click, so you don't miss anything.

c6473b40-a0a4-463c-942a-6012d25260d9 image

Melinda Byrd




New Year 2024

November 2023

Late Summer 2023

May-June 2023

Late Winter '23

Holiday Season '22

Fall 2022

Summer 2022

Spring 2022

Feb-March 2022

December-January 2022

November 2021

September-October 2021

July-August 2021

April-May 2021

March 2021

January-February 2021

November 2020

September 2020

August 2020

June-July 2020

May 2020

April 2020

Feb-March 2020

January 2020

December 2019

Oct. - Nov. 2019

September 2019

July - August 2019

May - June 2019

March-April 2019

Jan.-February 2019

Nov-December 2018

Sept-October '18  

July-August 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

Jan.-February 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

FebruaryMarch 2017

January 2017

Supply Update

Meeting the Demand!

In January I had no black rya yarn--now I do! In fact there is no Rauma color I don't have.

I also still have plenty of backing from Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Click on NEW YEAR 2024 newsletter in the archives to read more about what is available or go to my website or Etsy shop. I have KITS!

I have 3 large bins of vintage Swedish yarns.

I still have 34 of the Lundgren Rya yarn colors in stock.

Etsy Shop Link

Rauma Yarn Sample Cards

What I still don't have is Norwegian Rauma color sample cards.

I'm still making the Lundgren Rya Sample Cards for you.

Click on link to Samples Packet on Etsy Shop

Rauma (Norway) is still all out of the Ryegarn and Prydvevgarn sample cards. More will be produced once they catch up on their yarn production and have dyed the out-of-stock colors. So it could be a long wait. (I did receive 7 cards a few weeks ago which was a surprise, but they won't last long.)

My yarn sample package is still available with 5 backing samples, the Lundgren Rya Yarn, and high quality photos of the ryegarn and the prydvevarn, along with pages of helpful information and a large sheet of customized graph paper. It includes a few random strands of ryegarn and prydvevgarn which is helpful for tactile purposes.

Until the Rauma sample cards come in, I am offering to send you actual yarn snips of the colors you are considering--but not sure of due to photocopies not being quite true. I have 7-8" strands of every color. Send me your list of about 10 or so colors you want actual samples of when you order the samples packet--or afterwards and I will mail you at no cost the snips--with my apologies for not having real sample cards.

Here is what they look like. Refer here until the sample cards return.

Rauma Ryegarn:  82 yards (75 M) 3.5 oz. each (100g) 60 strands/skein

Rauma Prydvevgarn 328 yards (300 M) 100 grams (3.53 ounces)

100% Wool - Spelsau (modern); 200 strands/skein when cut

Diné-style Weaving Inspired my Latest Rya

Inspiration for a rya rug

When I am inspired by a painting or photograph with interesting shapes, I feel compelled to create it in the rya medium. When I widened my fiber art horizons by taking Tyrrell Tapaha's Diné Style (Navajo) Weaving class at Common Ground on the Hill Traditions Week last summer, I wasn't looking for a rya design, but months later, it hit me that I just had to make a rya using that design and those colors.

Making it Happen

I picked a backing size: 16" wide by 30" long. I prepared a piece of graph paper with the right number of squares to match the knot spaces on the backing. Then I penciled in the design while looking at my woven design. I decided to give the crow more life in its wings and made a few other changes.

It was/is one of the easiest designs to knot because it has so many horizontal lines. I knotted the bottom third in one day. Yes, my hands were sore the next day, so I have slowed down. You'd think I would know better. I'm loving it. Yes, I will offer it as a kit in my Etsy shop as soon as it is done. Why not take your own idea and turn it into a rya?

Look here on Etsy early March

"Crow Weave"

16" x 30"

Rauma backing and yarn

Melinda Byrd

Magnetism Makes a Comeback after 45 years

Back in the day when I worked for my grandparents at Lundgren Rya (1977-1982) I developed some designs of my own for them to sell as kits. Over a few years after I left, the people who were running the business adapted my design to come in 3 additional colors. This was one of the most popular kits they sold.

This is the actual Magnetism I made 45 years ago! It has been well-used and enjoyed by people and pets that share my space.

Since it was designed for backing woven for my grandparents and not the same dimension as current backings available, I had just forgotten about it as a possible kit for others to make. But why not!? So I found the time to redraw this transitional design on NEW graph paper for available Rauma backings 60 x 100 cm or 24" x 43".

It is available in my Etsy Shop

If you order a Magnetism kit, make it as described on the graph, and send me some usable digital jpg photos, I will thank you by issuing you a credit of 10% of the cost of this kit. $38.60. What a deal! The offer is good for each color it comes in until someone else submits photos first. ;-)

Redrawing a graph is challenging enough, but recalculating all the quantities of yarn required for 4 color combinations seemed daunting, but it wasn't too bad. Remember, I had originally made this rya with all Lundgren yarn and now I was recreating it in all Rauma yarns.

Here's a review if you skimmed over this part (glassy eyed) in my book.

I counted all the graph squares in each color zone--just on one graph since all the graphs are the same.

Then I made photocopies of the chart on p. 284. It lets you plug in numbers you've counted and the yarn color numbers, and allows you to calculate exactly how much of each color with great accuracy.

With a kit, I've done all the calculations for you, so relax.

It is a very hands-on way of doing it. No artificial intelligence involved.

Michelle Eicklebeck from Pleasantville, NY wanted to make her own Magnetism back in eary 2021. I didn't have a graph for her for the size she wanted it (I think it was 80 x 150 cm/32" x 59") so she made her own graph. She counted the knots in each color area on the graph color areas, and did all the math!

I bet it is completed now. She made me realize that it was high time I revised my Magnetism. Thanks, Michelle.

Some of My Good Friends are

Catching Rya Mania

I love the art of rya, but I am well-aware it isn't for everyone. I make a point of talking about other things to my friends lest they see me as an obsessive bore about my own interests--hopefully they don't!

Decades ago my good friend, Richard Soisson, started making ryas. First he made them for his home decor using designs I prepared for him. Over time, many other mutual friends started big rya projects and found that they didn't have time, energy, or interest to finish them. (It happens.)

Richard was always quick to say, "Give it to me, I'll finish it for you!" There were at least four such cases where he got the pleasure of knotting and at least one of those ryas was gifted to him. He recently told me if anyone contacts me about finishing a rug, he would like a shot at finishing it. He is quite good, too!

A few days ago, Richard completed this organic freeform rya. Several years ago his sister, Louise, had started it. She had gathered yarn of various colors and was planning to just play with the colors as she moved along. She completed 9 rows before she put it aside for a move and when the grandchildren started to arrive. Sometimes there really are other things you want to do. She asked Richard if he would finish it for her any way he wanted to. Today (2/29/24) Richard is delivering his work of art to his sister. Once again, Richard to the rescue.

. . . And Deb just finished her Beautiful Rya

About two years ago, my good friend, Deb Dugan, told me that she was thinking of making a rya rug. This made me very happy since she is a very good artist. I couldn't wait to see what she came up with for her design. After developing many ideas, she created this surf/mountains/sun/ and sky design on her tablet. (I think it's called a tablet). Hesitant to draw with a marker on her beautiful backing, she began to play with lines on her backing using yarn to layout the design.

Soon she was marking the flow of the lines on the backing with a Sharpie marker.

(Something YOU could try on your next project.)

That same day she picked out colors which she would mix to cover the lower 2/3 of her rya.

By the time Deb reached the sky, she had learned that as an artist there is no more need to focus on the line--we all know artists don't like to stay within lines. The sky was mostly ad libbed and spontaneous like a true glowing sky. This was her very first rya rug! Great job, Deb.

Hookers' Tea Time focuses on a Rya Rug

Kathleen Talkington from Greeley, CO just completed this Rauma kit called ILD. We'd been in touch on occasion and I knew she was passionate about her fiber art. I shared with her how whip-stitching the edges of a rya is a great finishing touch. A few days later she shared this picture with all four edges beautifully whipped. The very next day, she attended a Tea Time for Hookers with a special guest from Ribbon Candy Hooking: Deanna David!

As you may recall from recent newsletters or visits to my website, Deanna came to my studio last year and made two substantial videos on rya rug making with me.

You don't have to be into hooking rugs to enjoy this video. Deanna always makes the interactions fun and interesting. Pressed for time and just want to see the rya part? Go to the 19 through 36-minute markers on the video.

Click to see video

It's a fun video. I'm humbled by the positive words spoken and hope I can live up to the accolades. The ryas speak for themselves. Follow Deanna at her Ribbon Candy Hooking website, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

Studio Work Days coming up.

Open Studio

on Saturday, March 30th

from 9 AM - 1 PM


Friday, April 5 from 9-1:00

Open Studio can be whatever you want it to be. If you have a project in the works, bring it and work on it. If you have questions, bring them.

Here is a new idea: Look through the kits in my Etsy Shop. If one really grabs you, email me, and I will prepare a kit for you to pickup (save shipping) and I'll help you get started so you have confidence before you leave the studio.

I have 3 large bins of discount vintage Swedish yarns which you can explore and buy by the weight rather than the skein.

I don't ask for a fee, but I do ask for you to email me to let me know you are coming and when. If no one registers, the studio will be closed, so just let me know. If I need to prepare a kit or hem a backing for you, I'd like to do that before you arrive since that takes all my focused attention. I'll email my address to you when you respond by email.

I welcome past attendees (you know who you are) and look forward to new folks. We have fun and learn a lot from each other. I have every supply you might need and am happy to loan my paints to people who are in the designing process.

If more than 5 people express interest, I'll add an afternoon session or add another day.

Several years ago, Barb Neel graphed her sketchbook drawing. This later became an absolutely beautiful rya rug.

Rya Classes at

Common Ground on the Hill

July 7 - 14, 2024

(Register online in the Spring.)

If you are interested in a full week of intensive, but basic classroom learning (Monday - Friday mornings), I'll be teaching again at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD where you can stay in a dorm room or snatch a local hotel room if you prefer. You also can register for a full array of classes in the traditional arts of the world in music, dance, traditional arts and not-so-traditional arts. Pencil it in on your calendar.

Check out their website for more info.

Show & Tell ~ Sharing with Others

Meet an Avid Rya Rug Maker from Spain:

I knew that Jenny Begg (Jenny-in-Spain) was no stranger to rya rug making. I asked her if she would tell me a little about her background, and I learned a lot about her life that I had not expected. Rather than edit for length, I have decided to share exactly what she shared with me. Imagine!

"Childhood in war torn United Kingdom, subsequent boarding school in Kent, and being good at Art chose to train as an Architect. Seven years later and with my ARIBA I sailed across the sea to America. San Francisco was my destination and there I worked for three amazing years for John Carl Warnecke with such projects as Asilomar, Stanford University, University of Southern California, Wells Fargo Bank, and more. Winter weekends were for skiing, Mammoth Mountain, Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, Heavenly Valley.

Having saved enough money, PanAm did a round the world ticket for $300, one had to keep moving forward and it lasted a year. Magic !!

"So the winter of 1963/64 I set out for the UK going westwards. Hawaii, Japan for a month, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, India, Nepal for a month and Christmas, back to India, Delhi, Agra, north to Afghanistan (very special), west again to Iran and Isfahan, beautiful, Istanbul briefly, Syria and Damascus, south to Jordan, Jerusalem and Petra, then Cairo and pyramids, tombs, Tutankhamen and the Nile, travelling by train in Egypt, Athens, Rome and home.

How fortunate I have been, and blessed in so many ways.

"Back in London, work, marriage, daughters, my husband and I moved to Zurich for 3 years so he could train at the C G Jung Institute in Zurich. This is where I first encountered Rya rugs, at the sock factory importing Norwegian wools and Rya Kits.

Blissful knotting in the Swiss mountains. Back to London where architecture and family occupied all my time.

"My first rug took 18 years to complete, but now in the High Sierras of Southern Spain, I had time for more tranquil occupations and reverted to my love of Rya designs and knotting.

"My sock factory in Switzerland was closing down, and I found Paivi Suomi in the UK. She provided me with kit designs based on Mark Rothko paintings, and then, with the help of the new Internet, I found Melinda Byrd at Byrdcall, who has been my strong support and help for what, 25 years or more. Thank you Melinda !!

"Because of my need to keep knotting I needed more economic materials, my husband suggested hessian/jute backing, I was doubtful but eventually tried it and found it perfect for my freer designs, knotting sideways, in circles, upside down as well. And because I am disabled the local Chinese Emporium (they are all over Spain) provided my yarns. Hence I just keep going, though aches and pains in my arms slow me down now.)

"Working with wool is one of life's great delights, even my sceptical old school friends are now knitting (squares!)

Thank you for reading this.  

Jenny in Spain"

Jenny's Second Rya

Jenny's rug at the top of the stairs

First Paivi Suomi kit--with inspiration from Mark Rothko.

Another Rothko design kit from Paivi prepared with natural dyes. Check out her website.

Kitchen Rya

First Rya she made: Yellow Rya

The Sea Design

Blending Colours

Original watercolor for the Taking a Line for a Walk Design

Taking a Line for a Walk in the rya format -- the reverse. See top surface at heading of newsletter.

And finally . . .Therapy Rugs. (We all could do well to make a few of these!)

Your copy should New Rya Kit Listings this Winter

I'm always so happy when people send me photos of their rya projects because the vintage photos never do a kit justice. Thanks to Anni Dennis for the photo of Soldans and Peggy Moore for the new picture of Kroton.


80 x 120 cm (31.5" x 47")


This kit has everything you need to make this very high quality product from Norway designed by T. Kosonen-Buvik. This rya rug can be hung or placed on the floor.


40 x 120 cm (16" x 71")


Your choice of three color combinations.

Designed by T. Kosonen-Buvik. I just received my first graphs last month. Looking for someone who will make one and send me a photo. This photo shown is the face of a vintage design catalog.


60 x 110 cm (24" x 43")


Designed by T. Kosonen-Buvik.

This is possibly the most colorful kit I carry. This photo was submitted by Anni Dennis from Olathe, Kansas.


80 x 120 cm (31.5" x47")


This design was made by T. Kovenon-Buvik in Norway.

Be the first to order this kit from Byrdcall and please send me afresh, modern-shot photo. See the details in the Etsy listing. Click on any of these photographs for details.

Have You Heard about my Book?

(A shameless promotion)

I still have lots of books to send out. I self-published so no one else is pushing them for me. Unless you do. And I thank you.

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. Share with anyone who might appreciate the book. Thank you. Click here.

And a Few Closing Words

A few thoughts have entered my mind as I was writing this newsletter which do not warrant a full section of the newsletter. I will add them here.

  1. I think I am caught up on connecting with everyone who was waiting on a rya kit which I could not provide during the 1.5 year backing shortage from Norway. I will officially take you all off my to-do list. If you are still unresolved in your needs, contact me again, as I believe I am caught up. I still don't have the backings for the Morgenstemning design.
  2. If you give me a phone call and I can't answer the phone, please leave some sort of a message so I know you are a real person...I get so many spam phone calls I tend to hit "Block this caller" everytime I suspect it is a junk call. I'd hate to block a real person trying to reach me.
  3. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking I have forgotten to get back to someone regarding an order or a rya question. If you have been wondering if I've forgotten your request--it is possible that I have (I am getting older, you know), so step up and remind me gently. Hopefully nothing has slipped, but I still worry.

Finally I hope you will consider coming to Byrdcall Studio for informal Open Studio Day. I'd really love to gather with real people and share rya stories, tips, and tricks.

Thanks for being such lovely people to spend time working with.

~ Melinda

Peggy Moore's dog has been patiently waiting for her to complete Kroton for a most comfy naptime.

Beth Novick's sweet kitty hides in the yarn rack forest.

logo image

PO Box 162

Woodbine, MD 21797