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Byrdcall Studio, LLC

Rya Rug Revival

and Creative Arts

by Melinda Byrd

Visit Our Shop

Greetings from Byrdcall Studio

Hi there, Friends!

This started out as a fairly small monthly newsletter, but in the past week it has grown into something you may want to fill your mug for, sit down and enjoy. I think its always better on a full viewing screen.

Relax and come along for the ride.

I'm already making a list of subjects for the NEXT newsletter since this one is full enough. Hope to send it out in early June. If you have pictures and stories to share, send them before June. Hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them.

And there is plenty of good news!

~ Melinda

Read what this issue has to offer you:

In this Issue:

  • Rya Supplies Update!
  • Notice a new email address?
  • I've completed my Crow Weave Rya and it is available as a kit!
  • HOP ART! At Carroll Art Center
  • Mural Mosaic across the globe!
  • Ain't That A Frame--my work available in a local Gallery
  • Graph paper easily available
  • Open Studio ~ Sat., May 25th
  • Weeklong Rya Class half Full.
  • Sharing Time: Great Info!!!
  • Play Time with Yarn Scraps
  • And closing comments

Note: Be aware that your email may 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.

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Melinda Byrd




March 2024

New Year 2024

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Late Summer 2023

May-June 2023

Late Winter '23

Holiday Season '22

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November 2021

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FebruaryMarch 2017

January 2017

Supply Update

This month I have all supplies you might need with a few exceptions!

Things are GOOD in the supply department. I can prepare and send ANY kit you see in my Etsy shop.

We are well-stocked with all colors of Rauma Ryegarn and Prydvevgarn (except for one color)

We have woven backings from Rauma in Norway, and Wetterhoff and Taito Pirkanmaa in Finland.

We still have 34 of the Lundgren Rya yarn colors in stock many at reduced prices in the Etsy shop.

Etsy Shop Link

Rauma Yarn Sample Cards

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

I'm making the Lundgren Rya Sample Cards for you--and they are lovely!

Until I receive more sample cards from Norway, I will attach these two pictures to every newsletter so you can refer to this anytime you want to see these.

Click on link to Samples Packet on Etsy Shop

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

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

Check out my NEW email address

In the interest of online security for which we are very grateful, my newsletter-sending company, Constant Contact, has joined forces with other security agencies and now requires that all the emails/newsletters be sent from domain addresses not everyday email address like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Comcast, etc. It keeps senders more accountable. I'm fine with that.

You may have noticed on this newsletter, it says it is from Info@Byrdcallstudio.com. Up until now it has said from Byrdcallstudio@gmail.com. Both emails work just fine. The info@byrdcallstudio.com email comes right into my gmail box, so it is very convenient. Nothing on your part has to change. Both addresses are valid and will be received.

Completed "Crow Weave" Rya

and now it is a KIT

Inspiration for a rya rug

From a dine' style weaving I made in a class at Common Ground on the Hill last summer, I later transformed it into a rya design.

You can read more about it in the last newsletter. (See archives above.)

Now I have completed this rya and have made a nice colorful graph to go with the new kit for this design. Check it out in my Etsy shop to see more photos.

Visit the Hop Art! Exhibition

at the Carroll County Arts Center

The Carroll County Arts Center is located at 91 W Main St, Westminster, MD

Visit their website to see what is coming up on their events calendar. I recommend you check it out.

I am thrilled to be featured in this exhibition of beer-related art.

Mostly it is a unique showing originals of the works of Ralph Steadman, a wild artist whose work is found on the labels of Flying Dog Brewery beers here in Maryland and all over the world as well. The exhibit also features the work of other local artists, like myself and Lyndi McNulty who created "Chat Noire."

I served on the Board of Directors of the Center for a couple of terms since I jumped with both feet into the world of ART in 2000.

The Hop Art! exhibition will be in place through June 22nd. Stop by.

I know my homebrewing buddies will want to see Steadman's work--and mine, too, of course.

Opening Reception at the Art Center was on May 2nd.

No, Ralph Steadman was not there, but just about all the other artists dropped by. A few of my best buddies came by to view the exhibit.

Here I am with my linocut print, "Hops" with my friend and the former director of the Carroll County Arts Center, Sandy Oxx.

She came all the way from Florida to be here. Well actually a pickleball "incident" forced her home for medical attention.

Friends and Family Involved in Art

through Mural Mosaic Projects

My friend, Chad, serves as chair of the Sykesville Historic District Commission. My husband and I tend to consider ourselves Sykesville residents--not Woodbine residents--since Sykesville is (going back to my Massachusetts days) "wicked cool." In fact it has been given the official title as "The Coolest Small Town in America" in 2016 by Budget Travel magazine. A few years earlier, it had been nothing special. Things changed. That's another story. . .

So Chad and the Historical District commission were reviewing a request for a mosaic mural to be installed on the side of an historic building. They learned about the project and gave the organizers the go ahead! Chad was left with an artist package for the mosaic. He passed it on to me! A small canvas--literally 6 inches square with a designated paint palette, brushes, and directions.

My 6" Canvas Mosaic Piece

My packet was for a predominantly BLUE tile so it will fit into the bigger picture as part of the sky most likely. I could paint whatever I wanted. It was a fun afternoon project. Children can do this.

So why am I telling you this? Because you and your friends, families, artists or nonartists can have an art party and be part of a bigger work of art with people from all over the world. It is quite impressive. I will give you these links so you can explore. My bumper sticker reads, "Art Will Save You." It is true. And this is a connection to others through ART. A public service announcement.

Learn more at Muralmosaic.com

. . . Byrdcall Woodcuts and Linocuts

at Ain't That a Frame . . .

Before I recommitted my life to rya rug making, I was very active as a painter and printmaker. I did about 8 week-end shows each year where I got my paintings, prints, and hand-printed shirts out in the art market through outdoor shows, holiday shows, and exhibitions. Since I started writing my book back in about 2013, I stopped doing shows because they kept me from focusing on my writing. My woodcuts, linocuts, and paintings went into bins in the studio. Ain't that a shame?

Yes, but no longer! Lou Chang of Gallery 99 ~ Ain't That a Frame recently accepted about 100+ pieces of my art work from notecards to original small floorcloths; just about all of my woodcuts and linocuts, and much more.

I am truly honored to be among the quality artists featured in this fine gallery and framing studio. I know many of you remember me from the days when we met annually at various shows. I miss our visits and the ambiance of the art shows. But now you can pick up my original artwork at your leisure whenever you want and even get it framed on location if you choose.

Gallery 99 ~ Ain't That a Frame is a 15-second walk from the Carroll County Arts Center. It is 99 W. Main Street, Westminster, MD. Definitely worth a trip.

Here are three random block prints you may remember! They await you!

The Woolie


Three Fireflies


Kitty Waits


Graph Paper Available to Help You Design

Reviving My Old Graph Paper

Would you believe in about 1979, I used a ballpoint pen and a Flair marker to draw the graph paper my grandparents needed for the backings they had woven here in the USA? We printed about 1,000 copies of a wide and a narrow sheet.

When I "bought back" the Lundgren business after about 30 years out of the family, I got most of those sheets of graph paper. They have yellowed a little, but they are fine otherwise. I just started listing them on Etsy and they are selling like hotcakes at $1/sheet. Take a look.

Link to Etsy Graph paper Listing

Three sizes of graph paper are available.

The narrow old sheet has 68 knots across the row.

The wider old sheet has 84 knots across the row

and the NEW card stock sheet holds 100 knots across the row. You can always adapt the graph paper to any size you need. Cut and paste, and feel free to photocopy. Feel free to ask me what about how many knot any particular backing holds in a row.

I think most people who are buying it are weavers!

Just so you know, I add a free new cardstock sheet in with each order for my samples package.

Open Studio Work Day coming up.

Open Studio

on Saturday, May 25th, 2024

from 9 AM - 1 PM

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.

The graduating class of 2023 with their works in progress.

If interested in class THIS summer, now would be a great time to check out the website and sign up for some classes.

Rya Classes at

Common Ground on the Hill

July 7 - 14, 2024

Registration is currently underway!

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.

Check out their website for more info.

Show & Tell ~ Sharing with Others

Sally Rianhard

"I was weaving a Rya based on my daughter's painting back in March of last year. I finished weaving it on my loom and put it in our Connecticut Guild Show. It was fun. Now I am going to do another small one. 

Here is a photo of the rug hanging in the Connecticut Biennial. I should have hung it differently, as suggested by a judge--with a flat rod instead of a round one. But it was a learning process."


Here is Sally's rya in progress on the loom.

A Rya Craft Project!

Our rya friend, David McKenrick from Cincinnati, got me started on these a few weeks ago! It's fun and you can give it a try if you have rya yarn scraps (or other wool scraps).

If you have snips 3" or more, you can make a knot from it, but if your rug is done and your birds have their nesting supplies, have a little fun and stuff a sock. If you don't have rya yarn snips, I have a trash bag full and will gladly send you a generous supply. Check out this link.

A 6 oz. bag of Rya Yarn Scraps!

David shared, "Push them down in the end of a cotton sock, tie off and run through the washer and dryer a couple of times with a normal load of wash. Still haven’t thought of an idea of what to do with the resulting balls???" Any suggestions?

They are a little like Nerf balls and loads of fun to throw to a loved one. If your kitty starts to shred it, just put it back in a sock and it will ball again in the washer and dryer.

I am taking a felting class in the afternoons at Common Ground on the Hill this summer. Join me and we'll both know more about felting! Click here to read more abut the class.

Barbara Brown

Auburndale, MA

I was thrilled to be contacted by Barbara who is primarily a traditional rug hooker. She discovered rya rug making through one of the videos I did with Deana David of Ribbon Candy Hooking. She immediately bought some supplies from me and start her rya experimental period.

She said, "Loved the newsletter-- and the supplies I got with my Etsy Xmas gift certificate. I am sending pix of the 3 small things I've made since hearing about you and Rya thru Ribbon Candy Hooking last summer. I don't count or graph but draw outline sketch on backing."

I think she has done an amazing job of teaching herself and hope she finds equal time for hooking and rya since she clearly loves both! Thanks for sharing your story, Barbara.

"This is my own 'design' for which I drew rows of circles and triangles and quickly learned how they actually look when "rya'd."

"This one is inspired by a Paul Klee leaf painting. It is the 3rd I made and not very close to what I intended tho not awful." It's all part of the learning process--and I like it ~ Melinda

This was my 2nd project. This is from a free pattern from Rug Hooking Magazine. I call it Fraktur Flower but have checked and think it's a pattern called Thistle from Ruckman Hill Farm. I like this one best. I now look at designs with an eye to what might work in rya (not just my 1st love, hooking). Too bad I can't expand available time to spend equal time on both, but retirement is approaching. I was so happy to see you credited on the Ribbon Candy video--- you deserve it and more. Thx."

Christine Price

from Aiken, SC

"The Hopeanharmaa rya I’m working on was purchased in Helsinki during a trip to visit family in Finland in 1987. 

My mother was going to make it for me but never got around to it. I brought it home from Maryland after my mother passed away in 2019. I retired a year ago from the SC school system and thought to myself, If I was ever going to try to make the rug, now is the time. 

The pressure was really on when my oldest son got engaged. I wanted them to stand on the rug during the exchanging of their vows this September. Thought it would be a fitting way to honor my parents and our Finnish and Swedish heritage."

"The rya on the wall was given to me for my 16th birthday by my parents."

Christine surprised me this week with these pictures and her story. So happy for her--and her son and his fianceé.

David McKenrick

Cincinnati, OH

"My first round Rya and it’s not blue." Lately he's been going through his Blue period, so this colorful rya is a step out of the norm in shape and color for David.

"I chose the colors and the general design and then kind of made it up as I went along. I used up some partial skeins of yarn.

Started 03/31/2024, finished yesterday."

Yesterday was May 5, so that is only 5 weeks in the making. Holy cow!

David stands on the front porch with his freshly completed rya!

Here is the beginning:

I love sharing the process and not just the final outcome. David likes to share in that way, too.

He drew his design onto the backing ad libbing as he went along. Then started knotting on the lines. Many of you have asked me if you can do that, and while I don't like to tell anyone what to do, I usually discourage working in the middle of a backing as opposed to working along the rows. It is challenging to make knots under the knots above because the pile gets in the way. David clearly was not bothered by this. His design developed like a sketch!

Take a close look at the back of his backing.

Sometimes the outline is a single knot, and sometimes it is multiple knots when the angle of the line is nearly parallel to the rows. The other technique David uses that many of us don't know about is his addition of a knot in between the rows! Yes, you can do that when you want a slope to not have that pixelated look to it like a staircase. What a great lesson in doing what you want to do with a rya backing.

The end result is stunning.

What Anni Langsam did with a Rya Non-Kit

Anni lives in Kirkland, WA. She recently bought a bag of miscellaneous vintage and not-so-vintage rya yarns from me in what I call a non-kit grab bag. See cloudy image below to get an idea of what she started with. From the colors, she was inspisred by this tropical beach scene and designed her own rya!

Here is Anni's end result. It is a rya that in many ways is more sunset beachy than the photo she was inspired by. When my husband was glancing at the newsletter in progress and saw her rya, all he could say was, "Oh wow!"

This started with a Non-Kit on Etsy

Anni bought this color grouping I called Beach Party.

I gather a little of this and a little of that in the vintage yarns I have on hand to make a non-kit. In my Etsy shop I list about 6 groups of color at a time to see if anyone is "moved" by those colors for making a rya rug. The non-kit includes a pack of needles and a 16 x 17" or so Norwegian or Finnish rya backing. The rest is up to the artist. I have been amazed by the creations people have made with non-kits. Check them out.

Check out the Non-Kits on Etsy

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

Well, that is enough for now. Thank you for reading all the way to the end! Keep on knotting or doing whatever artwork makes you feel wonderful.

I'll leave you with a few photos for my yard stroll yesterday.

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

~ Melinda

Goldfish swirling in the pond by the Arrowhead with a big green frog

Red Buckeye in full bloom

5 Bluebird babies hatched on Mother's Day!

Spiderwort flowers in bloom

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PO Box 162

Woodbine, MD 21797