Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival
and Creative Arts

by Melinda Byrd
Newsletter ~ Summer 2022
Note: Sometimes newsletters will "abbreviate" at the halfway point. 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 for the garden stroll. ;-)
Update on Supplies
Focusing on the Good News!
Important Information
As of July 20, 2022:
First, there is lots of GOOD NEWS!

1. I am well-stocked in all Rauma Ryegarn and Rauma Prydvevgarn!

2. I have plenty of the remaining 41 vintage Lundgren Rya colors. This was the rya yarn my grandparents commissioned Harrisville Designs to spin.

3. I still have Rauma backings in 16" x 30" (40 x 75 cm) @ $60.60. And I have a bolt which I can cut to any length you want. Take a look at the other backings I have in stock on Etsy.

4. I have plenty of American-Made Acrylic Backings I have BOLTS of it. No worries there. This is my discount rya backing which is soft and white. Read more about it here in my Etsy Shop. And just in case you want a lot of it, Check this out.

5. I can still package up a Designer Package with Book for you, or if you already have a book, a Designer Package without the Book. Click on those links.

6. I just reactivated over a dozen listings for Rya kits on Etsy which use the 24" x 44" backings. The Swedish backing are made to the same specifications, so we'll use that until the Norwegian backings are available. Click here to see them.

7. I still have PLENTY of needles. $5 for a pack of 10. Look at them in my Etsy shop

8. I have many other backing sizes in varying quantities--especially the bigger ones. Read letter regarding BIG kits available below.

9. And the most exciting news of the past month is the fact that Sweden is once again weaving rya backings as they did in the mid century modern days. Jenny Berge, CEO of Svensk Hemslöjd in Stockholm posted this on their Facebook page:

"Hooray! now Ryabotten [rya backing] 60 cm is finally for sale again!
There has been great demand for the rya bot in recent years and unfortunately, our supplier in Norway has not woven it. So now we took the matter into our own hands and manufacture it ourselves at a Swedish weaving outside Borås. It gets a little more expensive but it is very nice and has nice woven city edge [selvedge] instead of overlocked.

Jenny contacted me and asked if I wanted some. "Yes, please!"
So now you have access to as much or as little as you want. I have 25 meters. It is truly splendid. Wool with cotton warp. Read all about it in my Etsy shop listing. Currently it is only in 60 cm or 24" width.
Finnish Backings by
Taito Pirkanmaa Oy
I have a great selection of excellent backings which I buy in bolts and can cut to the length you want. I have plenty in four widths. During the Rauma backing shortage, several people have tried this for the first time with rave reviews. Think about it.

I do not offer kits with these backings, but use them for your own designs They are heavy wool and linen and knots are made on the surface of the backing. In my book, read about them on pages 64-65. Taito Pirkanmaa was kind enough to give me permission to use their step-by-step instructional page (translated into English) for my book.
No Shortage of Rya Books!
This would be a perfect time to buy a book if you haven't bought one yet. It truly gives you the keys to understanding rya rugs in the off-loom technique.
Hardbacks are $49.
Softbacks are $39.
If you are just buying the book, media mail postage is still only $5. That is a good deal for a heavy book.

Do You Want to Make a Large Rya Rug
with a Norwegian Kit?
A long-time rya rug maker contacted me a few weeks ago asking what kits I had available now that are on the "large side." It was a challenging question because I had to go through all my design graphs from Rauma and all my bins of backings to be sure I have on hand the backing required to make each kit I was offering to him. It took most of the day to reply to him, but here I can share the same info with you in case you, too, are wanting to get set up for a big project soon.

"Hi, again, Friend,

I had success in matching 9 of my Rauma graphs with 9 backings that they fit. Here are the possibilities in the larger sizes available today.
Click on the links. [Look at the photos below.] Let me know if you are interested in any of these. I could get any of them ready to go for you within a few days. Some may require more yarn of specific colors than I have on hand, but I can send them within a few weeks if I don't have them.

  1. Bukett.
  2. Kilde in the 140 x 200 size or in grays or two other colors shown on that page.
  3. #784 (Yes, that is its name.) I have it in 140 x 200 cm for $1,142.  Available in the natural white or the black. Feel free to ask for more photos.
  4. Sombreros 140 x 110 cm. $688 
  5. Perlemorsky 120 x 120 cm $660
  6. Barskog. 140 x 120 cm $1,142
  7. Flukt. 140 x 200 $1,142. (I can't seem to locate a photo of this completed rug. I have two color combination choices.) Let me know if YOU have a photo.
  8. Fjell 170 x 130 $958. Picture second row on the right.
  9. Mardola. 170 x 130 cm $958

Let me know if you have a favorite or any questions.
I'd love to get you started on one while we are in the supply lull. I've got LOTS of yarn.

So I offer these to any of you. I know the prices are higher than most of us are used to, but these are serious heirloom quality rugs. If you are putting off a vacation this year, why not make up for it with a rya of impressive size. Contact me if you want more details or if you want to order any of these. Some come in smaller size kits, but sadly those backings are the ones on backorder. In some cases, I only have 1-2 of the large backings. First come; first served.
Bukett 47" x 47" $660
Kilde in Orange
55" x 79" $1,142.00
Kilde in Grays
55" x 79" $1,142.00
55" x 44" $688
47" x 47" $660
#784 on Off-White
55" x 79" $1,142
#784 on Black
55" x 79" $1,142
55" x 79" $1,142
55" x 79" $1,142
Available in two color schemes
I have no photo of completed rya.
67" x 51" $958
New Design:
Mountain Spirit Now Available as a Kit:
You may have seen this design in the last newsletter. I designed it as a wedding gift for my niece, Jenna, and her husband, Dave. I didn't tell them what the design was going to look like, but I asked them about the colors in the room where they wanted to hang it and I gave them size choices.

So happy to say that they are enjoying the Mountain Spirit!

If you would like to also make this rya as a kit, you can be the first. Click on the photo below to see many photos of the kit components in my Etsy shop. I have one kit packed and ready to go with the Rauma backing.
Why not be the first? ;-) Or I guess I should say--second--to make it.
Rya Sewing Circle and
Getting Started with your Rya Design or Kit
For Rya Help and Socializing:
I get many requests for more time with me in the Studio. Here are your next opportunities.

Saturdays, July 30
or September 10
9:00 - Noon or 1- 4:00 PM
(July 30 has 1-2 seats available. Let me know if you'd like to sign up.)
Designers: Come if you are designing a rya and need a little help in making choices and how to get started or have questions that keep you from moving forward. This is not a class, but a coaching session for those with ideas in mind. Bring supplies if you have them or buy them here. Having read through my book will help us speak "rya" better.

Rya Sewing Circle for a chance to knot and socialize with other knotters. Ask for opinions and feedback on your work if requested. Additional supplies available.

The sessions are available to designers and social knotters
These sessions are free. There is no planned class, but I will help you with any questions you have. If I see similar challenges, I will give mini-presentations and demonstrations as needed. I ask that you email me at to register. Tell me your #1 time slot choice and any others you could attend in case I have to juggle class attendance.

Since COVID is still present in our lives, I ask all attendees to be fully vaccinated. Masks are not required (optional). I will accept 4-5 people so you will have a good size table space. If you don't have time to sit for a session, but you want to drop by to pick up supplies, email me and I'll schedule a block of time for you so we don't ever have too many people in the studio. And I would love to see you. Feel free to bring snacks and water bottle.
Two-Day Classes
Several of you are patiently waiting for me to offer a 2-day Class.
I am looking for a classroom I can rent--not too far from decent-but-not-too-expensive hotels for out-of town students. The local libraries have meeting rooms that don't cost too much to rent.

Things I can help students with:
A list of hotels within 30 minutes of the classroom and studio. I can recommend nice restaurants in the area.
A full array of backing sizes from Norway, Sweden, and Finland. There will not be all sizes from all countries. Re-read the Update on Supplies at the top of this newsletter to learn more about the backing options.I have plenty of yarn, needles, graph paper, yarn snips to help you figure out your color combinations, and activities to keep you learning.
I will bring supplies to the classroom, but I want all students to have an opportunity to visit Byrdcall Studio and see a bit of casual rya history. Maybe after the second class, we can caravan to my Studio in Woodbine. Ideas are welcome!

We'll have to keep up-to-date on the fluctuating COVID situation. My hope is to have a big enough classroom space so we all have plenty of room to space out and breathe. I ask for attendees to be fully vaccinated and boosted.

In January, I may be teaching a basic rya workshop online sponsored by the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia. Students can be from ANYWHERE without traveling, hotels, etc. It will be structured for simplicity online with supplies sent in advance. It was very well received last year. I'll announce that in my next newsletter.

I've never done a "poll" with the newsletter before, so let's try this. I don't think your name will be associated with the response. Keep me posted of your ideas by email so I can keep you in the loop.
Would you be interested in a 2-consecutive day rya rug designing and knotting class this Fall??
No, not at this time.
Yes, I'd prefer mid-week days.
Yes, I'd prefer week-end days.
Rya Show & Tell
Faith Mason in California completed Vilje this spring. The kit will be available again when the Norwegian supplies start rolling in again.
A Customer of my Grandparents
Stops by the Studio for More Yarn to Complete her Rya
Joy O'Toole lives down the road only 20 minutes from Byrdcall Studio. She's going for the record of taking the most years to complete her rya from the Bergå (Sweden) line of rya designs bought through my grandparents.

She came to the studio this week with a cardboard box with all her yarn. I recognized my grandfather's handwriting as he often used magic marker to address boxes.

I paused and just gazed at the writing on the box. ("Hi, Grampa!")

Such a nice visit with Joy.
Knot on!
Sometimes ryas take longer than expected because "life happens" along the way. This design, "Attontrask" is designed from all natural (not dyed) wool. When access to Swedish rya yarn ended in the 70s, my grandparents' "Lundgren Yarn" was developed, but included only dyed yarn and natural white. Now that I am buying the Rauma ryegarn from Norway, she can complete her project with wool almost identical to the yarn she bought in the 70s made in Sweden. Joy has also made the choice to make her loops about twice as long as the kit suggested, and therefore will definitely need more yarn than the kit provided. I love it when people march to their own drummer. You can do the same whether you knot your rya in one year or 50 years!
Anni Dennis from Kansas Completed her Rauma Kit named Morgenstemning
This rya rug is 200 x 90 cm, but how big is that compared to a person? "Hey, Honey, would you mind laying down on the floor next to my rug for perspective? Don't block the design." Then the pup decides to photobomb. It is a great photo ... thanks to Anni's husband, Scotty Dennis for cooperating. And that is their 7 month old pup, Nami (which means yummy or candy in Finnish).

Many of us have been drooling over Anni's knotting progress photos in the Rya Rug Friends Facebook Group.

Now she is done; it is hanging on the wall; and she says, "I'm having withdrawal symptoms from rya knotting. This is a serious addiction!"
Zeva from San Rafael, California
Shares her Story
Skogstjärn (Forest star), designed by Gull-Britt Johansson, knotted by Zeva

Kontiki is now hanging at the end of the hallway in our home in Lucas Valley.
It was a pleasure to help Zeva with the yarn she needed to complete "Kontiki." Thank you for sharing this--YOUR rya story.

Grandma’s Rya Rugs
The first photo is the original Rya Rug I made, hanging on the wall of the library of our home as it has been in of all of our homes; the first photo we have found that has the rug on the wall is in our Palo Alto home, with Mike and David likely ages 4 and 2, so maybe 1964. It is named Skogstjärn (Forest star), designed by Gull-Britt Johansson. It is 2.5 feet by 3.5 feet.
The next photo is of the rug I just completed. I likely started this rug about 58 years ago, and it sat in a basket with 16 rows completed until April 4, 2022, when I started to work on it again. After it was finished, Papa designed a hanger for the rug, different from the one he had made for my first rug, as this, at 3 feet by 5 feet, is heavier than the first rug.
It is named Kontiki. In the design, we think we see the Kontiki raft(s), as used by Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 Expedition across the Pacific Ocean. He was demonstrating that the Polynesian Islands could have been settled by Peruvian Indians in pre-Columbian times, using only a balsawood raft. Whether the designer of this rug, Ingegerd Hylten-Cavallius, for Nordiska Industri AB, marketing the rya line under the name Nordiskas Ryor, meant it to be that, we can only guess. She was Norwegian, and this design is apparently from the 1950s or 1960s.
Each row took me about two hours and a half and sometimes more. I developed a system that worked for me—counting out the t-i-n-y boxes of each row in the paper I had, directions all in Swedish, (confirmed by Carolyn,) marking down the numbers in a book, and checking each time that there were 125 knots (250 stitches) in each row (there are 103 rows in all.) I finished Kontiki on June 22, 2022."

Zeva kindly sent me all her Nordiskas rya yarn leftovers. If you are a vintage rya yarn-lover and like these colors, check out this Etsy listing.
Janet Campbell Matthews Wove a Spectacular Rya
One advantage of being a member or our Rya Rugs friends Facebook Group is that we are constantly amazed by what people share there.

"I finally finished and mailed off the rug for my son and daughter-in-law in Maine.

It was inspired by the photo of sunrise at Cadillac Mountain and is about 3x5 feet. I wove the backing on my Baby Wolf loom as I went along, making it in 2 panels which were sewn together."
This is the end of this mid-summer newsletter.
I always love it when you read all the way through. ;-)

Friends, I hope this finds you happy and well. Stay safe and look for joy wherever you can find it. Thanks for sharing your rya stories and photos with me and letting share them with all. I hope I didn't miss anyone--forgive me if I did. Knot on!

Time for a walk in the garden.
~ Melinda
Many thanks for your valuable time with me .
Knot on!

A Couple of Links You Might Enjoy
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