Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival
and Creative Arts
by Melinda Byrd
Newsletter ~Fall 2021
Note: Sometimes newsletters will "abbreviate" at the half-way point and a message will appear to "click to see the remaining message." If you don't notice it, you might miss some pretty cool stuff, so be sure to read (or scroll) to the end. You'll see goldenrod flowers.
A Blast from the Past!
I'm going to try to make a long story short here. So if this interests you, check out my newsletter from a year ago that tells most of the story. Click here. Scroll nearly to the bottom.

Yarn from my grandparents early days as promoters of the rya craft in the USA entered my life again this week. I am making it available to you. 120 skeins of Bergå yarn from Sweden in 13 different colors. Some I have only 1 skein of and some I have in quantities of 40. If you want to simply email me and tell me what you want, I'll package your order, invoice you (off Etsy), then mail to you. That will save you state sales tax (unless you live in MD). 100g+ skeins @ $10 each until gone.
Big Rya Backing from Sweden!
In addition to the Bergå skeins, I also bought a rare and very large Swedish backing with fringe. (See photo at the top of newsletter.) It measures 170 x 240 cm which is approx. 5.5' wide by 7.8' long. It is in excellent condition, structurally sound, smells great, just like new except for a few slight "scuff marks." Nothing to worry about. I'll send you more photos if you are seriously interested. It costs $450 plus postage. Email me if you are interested. I don't plan to list it on Etsy. Saving this one for readers here (you?).
Rya Sewing Circles
at Byrdcall Studio
It is difficult to plan get togethers in the Studio when there is such a question mark regarding the safety of bringing people together as the pandemic continues. We recently had a fantastic day of Rya Sewing Circle with three fully vaccinated knotters and myself. I can't tell you how happy it made me to sit and shoot the breeze with rya folks and help out where needed.

I'm not picking Fall dates at this time since I will be taking time off this Fall and need some flexibility. But I would like to gather the email addresses of everyone who would like to be invited when the next one is scheduled. 95% of you are not within an hour's drive from me. I'd love to invite anyone who might want to come to knot with others--don't want to miss anyone.

If interested, RSVP to me at
Marc brought along his Fireflower in Grays Kit he had recently purchased. He also was our chief refreshments provider. Thank you, Marc. You are welcome back any time! We learned we had mutual friends we didn't know each other knew.
Beth has been to the studio many times to buy yarn for her upcoming projects. This was the first time she sat and relaxed as she made color selections for the yarn racks. She had made templates for herself for drawing the flowers onto the backing. Great idea it you're making a repeat pattern.
Marc is making his very first knots in this shot--well, actually he had made a rya as a child so he was just reacquainting himself to the technique.
JoAnn occasionally helps me when I am overwhelmed with studio demands. Today was for her time to to work on her own large rya backing. She is making a rya interpretation of this Georgia O'Keeffe painting and figuring out her color blending and process.
Nell Znamierowski
Passed Away in April 2021
Textile Designer, Rya Rug Maker, and Mentor
When I first decided to write a book about designing and making rya rugs, there were very few people I knew who spoke "rya." I was guided to Nell Znamierowski by John "Chick" Colony of Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire. "If anyone could answer my rya questions it would be Nell."

I called Nell occasionally as I dissected my rya knowledge and tried to put all the pieces together in a logical and factual way. She would tell me everything I wanted to know--and more! Our conversations lasted for hours. She had the Finnish perspective which was new to me and that was the puzzle piece I was trying to fit into the mix.
Nell invited me to visit her while I was in New York City to cheer on my college roommate during the New York City Marathon in 2013. Nell and I spent many hours talking "rya" in her upper east side home. She shared her designing techniques and welcomed me to share them in my book. (You can read more about her and see pictures of her designs on pages 39-41.)

A few months before my book went to press, I tried to call Nell to give her the good news, but the phone recording said her number was not in service. I later learned that she was in a healthcare facility and doing poorly.

This week I got the news from a woman who was handling her estate. Nell led a fascinating life. She spent much of her time in Finland studying in the textile world. I wonder if anyone reading this knew her from her rya days. She was a remarkable and sharing person.

Rya Show & Tell
(Thank you for sharing your photos!)
Denise Hall
Snohomish, Washington
"I have finished the rya that I was working on. I attach the picture of the original painting "The Wind" by Hans Hofmann and the rya version. When I started, I was fascinated by this portrayal of the wind as a creature causing chaos. It was then March 2020 and the first few cases of covid were being detected.

Little did I know that this was the beginning of tumultuous times for so many people.

Maybe I should select a more peaceful topic for my next project."
She went on to say, "I first drew it on the backing using the grid method that you describe in your book and a flexible ruler, another tip from your book. There were many transitions and I found this both fun and challenging.

At least I did not get bored with long stretches in the same color. The biggest difficulty was to pick the right color. In places, I re-did three times until I was satisfied with the color combination and I am sure that there are many other interpretations. Maybe another rya maker should come up with a new version. That would be interesting."

Yes, it would, Denise.
Anyone want to accept the challenge?

You can see more of Denise's work and her story on pages 120-121 in my rya book.
David Cook
Rockville, Maryland
David came by Byrdcall Studio last week with his Rauma kit "Stormnatt" 4/5th complete.

Stormy Night was a good name for Hurricane Ida who passed through this area as a tropical storm a week later.

I had never seen this kit made before--only in photos. The brilliance of the colors nearly took my breath away.

David, thanks for sharing!
Arne Solbak
Lititz, Pennsylvania
If you don't know Arne, you must be a newcomer to this newsletter. He has made numerous Rauma rye kits, but this summer Arne designed and made his own.

Check out the most recent newsletter for how this design came to be. And just 4 months later, it is complete and a beautiful original work of art.

Now that his nautical shield is complete he has started on his second self-designed rye using the yarn he has from leftovers from all the kits he has made over the years.

What fun!
For My T-Shirt Fans: The Brookie Revival
A little history here . . .
I was actively carving images in wood and linoleum in the early 2000s and printing them on shirts which I sold at art shows and festivals. About 10 years ago, I decided to totally immerse myself into the rya rug world as I was writing my book, and decided to stop printing shirts cold turkey.

A few weeks ago a fly fisherman friend asked me (begged me?) to print more of the Brookie T-shirts. I tried to say, "No, I don't do shirts any more." But then it dawned on me that I have so many shirts still available, but almost no Brookies, and very few in Men's size Large, I caved in and had about 50 shirts silkscreened with the Brook Trout on high quality--and very rare--Comfort Colors shirts. They have been selling well, so I want to let you all in on the fact that this is a new addition to my Etsy shop, and not to be missed if you love The Brookie.

Let me know if there is a design you are dying to have reemerge in the coming years. I might reprint one design each summer to keep you happy and to not allow my shirt storage to be overwhelmed.
Redfin Focuses of Textile Arts in a Recent Blog--including Rya!
Redfin contacted me to see if I wanted to share a link on rya rug making in their blogpost featuring textiles in your home.

Why Knot?! Here is a link to the posting which has some other great artists and textile resources. Rya people, I have found, are multidimensional craft enthusiasts and are quite likely to enjoy quilting, tapestry weaving, macrame, and other textile arts shared in this blog. Enjoy!

<-- Rya to the left is Bønn from the Rauma collect of designs. Click on image for more information.
And once again,
Thanks for reading all the way to the end.
You all make my mission and work so rewarding. Thank you for your kind correspondence and friendship.

If you are feeling burnt out from all the strife going on all around us, get out in the natural environment and be thankful for the beauty it provides. You might even find inspiration for your next rya rug.
This fall, I will be taking off some time to spend vacation time with my family. My three sisters and spouses will be getting together for the first time since the pandemic started.

I am still working on getting my right arm functional after pulling a tendon this spring. This injury has kept me from knotting on my rya in progress not to mention many other things like biking, kayaking, and weeding the garden.

Keep on keeping on. If you have not already joined the Rya Rug Friends Facebook Group in the Byrdcall Studio page, I welcome you to. Fascinating exchanges of ideas, successes, and challenges take place daily.
Many thanks for your valuable time with me .
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