I decided to share this letter as a blog because there are so many others out there who might be in the same stages of rya learning as you. Plus, this way, you can all communicate with each other and me by adding comments below. Maybe even people who were not in the class might ask questions or offer ideas, too!
First let me say, I totally loved being your instructor at Stitches United in Hartford, CT last week. I now know that people who handle yarn regularly as knitters or weavers have a more natural tendency to grasp the basic concepts of graphing a rya rug. I can’t wait to see the outcome of your designing work. You were all so diverse in your designs.
But I also know that once you are away from class it is easy to forget something or find that your knots are doing things that you didn’t intend them to do, so let me know how I can help get you back on track if anything goes wrong. Here are some typical questions that arise:
What do you do if you skipped a warp bundle and your knots are not lining up as you expected? It happens to the best of us. Easy to fix. First confirm that the knots you are making now look exactly like the knots you were making in class and have not morphed into some mutant knot. If the knot is fine, but you just skipped a “hole” you can get back on track by either extending another knot to “skip another hole” or use the warp bundle next to the gap twice…overlap a knot. Who would know? Of course you can pull knots out by the head, and replace them where they belong or just change your design slightly. I almost never pull out knots to fix a mistake. If you can get away with fixing a booboo so no one knows it happened, that is an excellent choice.
What if you started making 15-16 knots from each threading, but as you progress, your loops get steadily longer and now, half way through, you realize you are getting 13-14 knots per threading? You might be okay with the amount of yarn given for this class, but you might run out, and that is not a problem, just an inconvenience. Best thing would be to cut back on the loop length gradually, and increase the “turn of your scissors to make a slightly greater variation in the pile length of each knot. No one will know. 😉
Remember the Gray Fireflower design on which you all made your first knots? I just finished that a couple of evenings ago. I really like it. Take a look.
And by the way, remember that horrible-looking chart to help you mathematically calculate the amount of yarn you would need? I did that chart using Gray Fireflower as the example, and I am ecstatic to say that the quantities of yarn I gathered to make that rya came out perfect with about 7-9 strands extra of every color. I knew it should work out, but to do those calculations and a couple weeks later have it come out right on target…just thought I’d confirm with you the the system works!
Now I am adding you all to my e-newsletter mailing list as you all gave me permission to do. I welcome you to send me photos of your rya work and any question you might have. Post your questions and comments below. (You might not see your posting right away, since I have a security measure to keep spammers from posting their ads.) I don’t think you can post pictures in the comments, but I can edit this blog and add your photos as you send them.
Thanks and keep in touch… Melinda Byrd
PS Here is the first photo sent by Grace with her cat design a little more than halfway done! I love your colors, facial features, and whimsicality! (Grace is already planning her next rya.)
And here is Grace’s complete and hanging on the wall! Amazing…
Here is Karen’s all complete. She revised the necklace design at the end (due to shortage of a color she was planning to use) but the outcome is very eye-catching!
And this just in from Julia Horgan, inspired by the drawing of the hydrangea flowers and leaves. Great color blendings.
And this just in from Connie! She had to set it aside for a little while because her life plate became too full–including enjoying the graduation of her son from college! Looking good! Great technique–actually ALL of you have great technique! (In case you forgot, Connie’s inspiration was the calendar page of the fall colors in the aspen grove–zoomed in.) Love it!
And below is Nancy’s–almost done. Remember how Nancy loved the traditional Finnish ryijy from one of my catalogs? She redesigned a smaller version as see here, but she also asked me to order the real kit from Finland which should arrive any day now. We know it will be quite different to knot, but the colors will be spectacular and the yarn finer and softer. (Remember the Finnish skein I showed you in class–how it looked like nice yarn for a sweater?) So stay tuned on Nancy’s report on the new project!
Remember, rya students, feel free to comment below.