I Now Offer Rya Kits from Norway!

Rauma Ryer Folder11Reinlav-cover copyIf you have been patiently waiting for me to finish my book so I can create more rya kits for you to choose from, you don’t need to wait any longer.  I have been selling all the rya supplies offered by Rauma of Norway for over a year now.  I stock 76 of their 82 colors, and by November 2015, I will carry all 82 colors of their rya yarn (ryegarn) from the indigenous Spaelsau sheep of Norway.  I also carry their heavy wool and linen backings in 26 sizes.  What I did not have until this week, was access to their 125+ prepared kits.  Now I do.  This is huge.

Back in the old days when I worked with my grandparents, there was no internet with which to post photos of rya kits.  So you had to request a catalog which we had to snail mail to you to choose from.  It was a time-consuming and expensive process and hit-or-miss as to whether there were designs you wanted to make within that catalog.

Today, I am simply posting a few of the many designs you will see in the coming weeks. If you see one that you love, call or email me and order it.  I will place the order for your kit which generally will arrive in about one month.   I can send an online invoice to you, so when your kit arrives, I can ship it right off to you.  I will be adding instructions in English for those of you whose Norwegian is a little rusty.  If you are new to the rya process, I will start making the first row of knots for you to copy my process.   If you live within driving distance of my studio, you can pick it up (save shipping) and I will watch you make the knots until you are comfortable with the process–but that is something most people can easily figure out on their own.  The kit will have everything you need in it.  The ease of this kind of transaction will free me up to first finish writing the book, and eventually allow more time for me to teach classes and make up my own kits.  So without further ado . . . . The beginning of my Rauma offerings…Folder #11:

Rauma--Anemone -adjusted price

This rya has two types of yarn: ryegarn and prydvevgarn. The price for this kit is $386.

 

Rauma Ryer Folder11Harmoni copy

 

Rauma Ryer Folder11Kongle copy

Rauma Ryer folder11Leikarring copy

This heart-shaped design rya is knotted with two types of yarn: ryegarn and prydvevgarn. The price of this kit is $540.

 

 

 

 

Rauma Ryer Folder11Spire copy

This kit, Soldans, is made with both ryegarn and prydvev yarn. The kit price is: $386.

This kit, Soldans, is made with both ryegarn and prydvev yarn. The kit price is: $386.

Sommerfugl is available in 80 x 120 cm (31" x 47") for $488.

Sommerfugl is available in 80 x 120 cm (31″ x 47″) for $540.  This kit is composed of both ryegarn and prydvevgarn.

Rauma Ryer Folder11Tre

Available in 40 x 120 cm (16″ x 47″) for $286 or 60 x 110 cm (24″ x 43″) for $350.

Rauma Ryer Folder11Tulipan

Tulipan is available in the Reds as shown or also in Blues. The price for either is $350.

I think that is enough for now…. very soon, I will add more.  Stay tuned and thanks.  By the way, as far as the price of the kits goes … I did some calculations of what the basic materials would cost if bought separately, and in truth, the kit cost is very comparable.  I was surprised at how little mark up was added for the “kit construction.”  I figured some of you were wondering.

One of my most experienced rya customers, Murray, just ordered the first Rauma kit from me.  (He has made many Rauma kits though.)  When I received it and opened it to make sure all was in order, I noticed that the gorgeous yarn colors were a little different from the ones in the catalog.  Some of these catalog photos are old back in the day when the color vibrancy scale was amped up. (Think of the old National Geographics, where the vivid colors were a tab more vivid than reality.)  So you might expect your rya to be a bit more subdued than the photo.  Frankly, the colors in Murray’s kit were stunning, but you should know there is a possibility of a color variance.

And as a final note, those of you who are already designing your own, keep it up!  The kit is a great way to start, but designing your own is a rush!

Share Your Rya Story

Lynne, from Massachusetts has designed and knotted three ryas in the past year. Lynne was a beginner!

Lynne, from Massachusetts has designed and knotted three ryas in the past year. Lynne was a beginner!

I would love to have you share your rya stories with each other and me!   I’m looking for stories to add to the book I am writing about off-loom rya rug designing and making.  You can call me lazy if you like, but I feel rather than me telling you everything I know about rya, you might get more out of reading the book if you meet other people who have discovered rya. So if I think others can relate to what you have to say, or if you have a technique you would like to share or an opinion you would like to express, please share it in the comments below or email it to me at byrdcallstudio@gmail.com.

Nancy from Florida just completed a rya rug started by her mother decades ago.

Nancy from Florida just completed a rya rug started by her mother decades ago.

Anyone can post here (assuming it gets through my spam filter: me)  I will be selecting from these comments ones that would bring home a point to my potential readers of the book.  I will contact those folks and possibly ask for you to elaborate a little more and perhaps submit a photo of some of your rya work or a photo of you or both!  I will not be able to pay you for these comments, but if yours are selected to go in the book, I’ll send you a complimentary copy as soon as it is published.  If you work in a rya business, I’ll promote your rya business in the book.

My goals is to make the books as helpful and motivating as possible.  Sometimes beginners who have just fallen in love with an art can be the most motivational.

Heli MG's Award- winning Eco Fur Convertible Coat. Heli has turned rya into a modern fashion statement.

Heli MG’s Award- winning Eco Fur Convertible Coat. Heli, from Finland, has turned rya into a modern fashion art form.

So whether I know you or not, whether you made rugs for the first time this year or 50 years ago, whether you weave them on looms or on pre-woven backings, if you are completing a rya rug started 50 years ago by a parent, I want to hear your story–how you found supplies, how you discovered rya, challenges, rewards, designing experiences, ideas for the future, helpful hints, anything you would like to share.  Feel free to forward this to anyone with a story to share.

If you are wondering if your story is worth telling, just the fact that you are considering telling it means it is probably worth reading.  This blog is an easy place to start telling your story.  Go ahead; don’t be shy.  You will help give others confidence.  I may or may not be able to use it in the book, but I’d love to see what turns up here and how I can work more fun into the book with your perspectives.

Mia, in Sweden, lucked into finding a whole rya kit at an auction. She basically taught herself how to make it, and it is progressing nicely. Is it done yet, Mia?

Mia, in Sweden, lucked into finding a whole rya kit at an auction. She basically taught herself how to make it, and it is progressing nicely. Is it done yet, Mia?

I hope to have the “stories” in place in my book rough draft by the middle of September, so if you are tempted, please send your stories soon.  Many thanks in advance.     Melinda

I’m Teaching Rya at Common Ground on the Hill this Summer!

Student making color blending choices

As you may know, I have been a regular “student” of the Traditions Weeks at Common Ground on the Hill  since 2000.  If you are not familiar with their programs, take a look at their web site.  It used to be a one-week long residential (and commuter) Arts Camp focusing on the arts in all genres from all cultures. For the past several+ years it has grown into a 2-week camp. During Week II, I am teaching Scandinavian Rya Design where you will design and make your own rya with my guidance. (If you don’t know about rya, watch this 10-minute video I made with the Carroll County Times in 2012.)

I highly recommend taking the whole week off of work or routine if that is possible, and immerse yourself completely in the program. There are 5 periods each day plus meal time and concerts and lectures in the evenings and nights. You will meet people not only from all across the USA, but also the world.  You can also just sign up for one class, but believe me, you will want to stay for more each day.

Byrdcall Studio is filled with colors today.

Students from a previous class create their color combinations that they will knot onto their woven backings.

My class (in Week 2) runs from Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 10 from 9  – 11:45 AM.  We currently have 5 students signed up, but this kind of class is even more fun with a few more because you all will get to see what each other are working on which expands your knowledge of the craft. You don’t need any particular skills or knowledge in fiber arts. I can provide all the supplies you might need since they truly are very hard to find otherwise.)  Click here to see my Workshop Write-up.

ShelvesofyarnFor those of you who live out-of-the -area, what a perfect chance for learning new skills, meeting new people, enjoying (and learning) arts and music from all around the world in a safe and easy environment–McDaniel College campus in Westminster, Maryland.  If this interests you, do not delay.  Classes are filling quickly.  Hope to see you there.  Feel free to share this with anyone who love the arts and sharing and learning with others.

Melinda

1series

This is the beginning of Angie Michal’s very first rya which she designed and knotted.

disc2

Who dun it? Solve the Rya Mystery…

At this point, after hanging out in the rya world for 40-something years, I thought I’d seen it all.  Then my world is rocked, and I’d like your help to figure out this mystery.  After I sent out my last newsletter, I received an email from a woman named Eleanor whose sister has recently passed away leaving an almost untouched rya kit. Perhaps sensing my commitment to keeping the art of rya alive, Eleanor sent me all of her sister’s supplies. There was a graphed design, a threading card, a backing about 2′ wide and 4.5′ long, curved needles, and the most amazingly prepared yarn I’ve ever seen.  Who put this kit together? When?  What country were they from?  Where was their business located?  Why have I never seen this style of rya before?  Let me show you. . .DSCN7119

Here are the details for anyone who wants to ponder this.  The backing is typically Scandinavian with a dark wool thread woven in the weft every ten rows which makes counting the rows easy.2015-05-08 14.27.36 What I’ve never seen before is a dark linen thread in the warp woven to help you keep your place as you use the graph paper.  Brilliant!  Have you ever seen that weaving technique?  Tell me if you have. The other interesting thing about the backing is the knotting rows are closer together than in the typical Scandinavian backing. This is definitely going to be a dense rya.

Yet it is the yarn that really took my breath away.  Who ever put this kit together had high quality yarns and a skeining machine which could simultaneously blend many yarns together at the same time.  They selected various weights of both rya yarn with its rope-like twist and what I believe is dyed linen, and blended 3-6 strands all together on the skein.  So when you go to load your needle, you have the blending all right there at your fingertips.  I’ve never seen this before.  Gorgeous colors too!  Who on earth did this?DSCN7125

The threading card has the name Susan Hammal who I imagine is the designer of the pattern, “Earth & Sky” but could be the creative one who did the labor-intensive preparation of the supplies for a whole line of patterns. Does her name ring a bell?  Google was no help, so it’s been a while since she did this, I bet.   Look at the notes below  DSCN7121

Notice the words, “3/4″ & 1 1/2″ pile.”  I always teach to cut the loops unevenly, but that is quite a dramatic difference in the pile length.  I like it!

Eleanor thought that her sister had purchased the kit in New DSCN7123Jersey.  That is a clue, but still all basic questions unanswered.  There was a “ruler” with the kit to ensure that the knots were made at a uniform loop-length.  (My grandparents never used the rulers, and neither have I, but many people only make rya with a ruler.)

DSCN7129The curve-tip needles were a surprise to me.  A customer once asked me if I carried them, and I had to confess I had never heard of them.  I don’t think they are made anywhere on earth right now.  Please tell me if you have a source for them?  (Sorry, I’m going to keep these.)

While I knotted my recent Fireflower rya kit prototypes, I used the curved tipped needles.  I like using them, but the straight tipped ones really work just as well.

DSCN7120The only weird thing is that the graph doesn’t seem to have logical color blendings next to each other.  It’s too hard to explain, but at a glance I can see that Eleanor’s sister probably was frustrated by what could be a designer’s error.  Maybe you can see on the graph below that color blending #1 (whites) is shown in other areas with the #1 showing which would give no contrast of course and may have been a slip of the pencil when numbering the graph.  If only we had a photo of what the finished rya looks like, we could figure out the intended color scheme. (Oh, I may have just figured it out.)DSCN7124I’d love to find the time to piece this puzzle together.  What clues can you offer?  The red tag says “Norwegian Rya Rugs” but did they come from Norway in this format?  Or do you think Susan bought supplies from Norway, then created her own kits?  Ah, I can hardly sleep at night.

So I am comforted to know that another artist who went before me was doing the same thing I am working hard everyday to share with you.  Her kits were spectacular.  I just wish I knew more.  The blog here is a great way to share info with one another.  Your comment won’t show up immediately, but check back in later to see what others have said.  And a final shot of the gorgeous yarns: DSCN7122

Eleanor, thank you so much for sharing!

Melinda

Rya in a Day!

"Fireflower"

“Fireflower”

OK, I admit, it is only 12″ x 12″, but that is because I made it for the 12th Anniversary of my favorite art people, the Carroll County Arts Council.  The Carroll Arts Center opened the doors to their new home in the old art deco theater at 91 West Main St, Westminster, Maryland 12 years ago.  (I was fortunate to be a member of the Board of Directors back when this excitement was taking place!) They are celebrating with an art exhibition where every piece hanging on the wall will be 12″ x 12″ and sell for $144.00.  What a bargain! The show is called Footworks and will run from April 16 – June 5.  Opening reception is 4/16 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.

1Now for you rya-curious folks (or rya experienced folks) here is what I did.  I hemmed an acrylic rya backing to 12″; no problem.  Then I did something I have never done before.  I cut the backing vertically to 12″.  I’ve always told people not to do that because it would compromise the strength of the rug, but, hey, this is only a 12″ piece.  No one is going to walk on it.  So I zig-zag stitched the edge a few times, and it was a perfect 12″ x 12″ piece.

Then with a laundry marker I drew the rough image of concentric “flower bloom” lines [Theresa Nkonde’s interpretation] or “nebula explosion lines” [Marge Simmons’ interpretation].  By 9 AM I had the drawing complete.  I had no intention of working on it all day.  I gathered a few small partial skeins of random “hot” colors and started knotting at the lower left corner.  My intention was to work for a half hour or so blending the darker colors to the yellow-hot center adlibbing all the way.3

I had yarn orders to fill, I had a book to write, a dog that needed a walk, and a lasagna to make before supper; but throughout the day I kept going back to this little rya just to see how “one more row” would change its appearance.

5

I was addicted, I admit, so I worked feverishly off and on all day.  Why did I use the acrylic backing you ask (instead of wool)?  For one thing, I have a lot of it, and it is the least expensive backing I have. Also, it is white which makes drawing images on it a cinch, and while it is not really a floor-worthy backing, it is great for a wall-hanging or work of art.  And for the first time, I used 4 strands of yarn on the needle instead of 3 to really give it a rich solid feel.  And finally for you really perceptive folks, you might be wondering how it would fit as a 12×12 piece of art when the pile clearly extends beyond the 12×12 backing.  You are so observant!  As I knotted, I pulled the knots just tight enough to bring the width to 11.5 ” and the pile extends out the extra width to make it a perfect 12×12.

6Well, you guessed it, before the sun set, it was complete, and I love it.  So HOT!  I realize I could do the same backing preparation for others and gather similar yarns in small amounts (in some cases just a few strands of certain colors.)  So this will be a high priority for me to make available for others.  I’ll come up with a few color schemes, too.  Stay tuned–or if you can’t wait, just ask me to make a kit for you.  The acrylic backing is really 27 inches wide.  I might suggest keeping it that width so it doesn’t have to be cut.  The over all look would be almost the same.  Just wait and see what I come up with as an offering for those of you who really like this piece.  I call it FIREFLOWER.

Watch it GROW in time-lapsed video–a one day rya.  Click below for a silent 30-second show.

Has anyone else tried drawing a pattern on a backing?  How did it work for you?  It sure makes for a fast knotting project.  Feel free to offer comments below.  Your comment won’t appear immediately, but soon after you post, it will be shared.  Thanks for reading along with me.

Spotlight on Angie Michal and her First Rya Rug

6serieswith dog

I’m a sucker for a furry friend on a rya rug. Pets find them irresistible.

I like to feature other artists now and then.  It gives me something fun to post, without too much work on my part.  Angie from Coral Gables, Florida contacted me in the first week of January this year wanting to make a rya rug.  She had a vision and I helped her by sending her digital images of yarn colors to see what would work best for her.  She did a “custom order” in my Etsy shop of backing and yarn, and the new needle holder, and with no more help from me she created this amazing FIRST rya project!  Here’s Angie’s story:

4seriesThanks Melinda!

First and foremost I want to thank YOU for your enthusiasm and your willingness to help and share.

I got a subscription to Juxtapoz (an art magazine) as a Christmas gift. The first issue I received featured two or three interviews of artists alongside their work.  I enjoyed these ‘talks’ very much – I’m very interested in understanding where a work of art comes from and how it comes to be.  It was in one of these interviews that rya rugs were mentioned and, since I knew nothing about rya rugs, I went to Google to find out.  I came across your name and video and got hooked immediately.

1series

Look at Angie’s set up. See her colored graph paper on the left? Her colors all tagged with numbers to correspond with her graph. And notice the brand new needle holder constructed by my husband in my grandfather’s design. This woman is set to go!

7series

Here is an encaustic wax piece of Angies. Exciting medium to play with!

I am a stay at home mom.  I have four kids, our oldest is in college and our youngest is 7 years old.  I trained as an architect and practiced until our first child was born but I’ve always wanted to be able to express myself in other ways too. I like to be able to work on my projects in the little gaps that I get between all the other things that happen in a busy household.  I worked for a while with soft pastels and I feel very comfortable with the medium.  I recently tried encaustic wax and I love the smell of the wax, looking for interesting papers to use, applying colors in different layers and adding texture.  My pastels are more representational and detailed whilst the encaustic wax allows me to just play. 

When I first thought of what my rya rug would look like, I thought of colors – bright colors.  I had an image of blues and greens, perhaps because we live near the sea, with a bright ball of fire on one end. You were a big help when we started communicating – you ‘got’ my thoughts and helped put the colors together.  I think the whole thing happened because you were there straight away.  And not long after I placed the order my package had arrived! 2series

I went to work on that Saturday as I waited for my teenage son to return home one evening.  I feel there are two distinct phases in my experience of rya making.  The design process, the choosing of colors and picturing what it’s going to look like is full of energy, going back and forth, standing up and looking at it from far and then coming up close and splashing some more color here or there…

3series

I love to see the process of planning color arrangements. Here, I bet Angie was trying to visualize the finished rya by laying hanks of yarn on the bare backing.

The actual making of the rya, for me at least, was like meditating.  Knot after knot you keep completing rows and that is the perfect balance between switching off and being just barely present.  If I had a busy day I would excuse myself, sit at my desk and make a few knots and I was good to go.  It was like magic for my soul!

I am happy to say that I am working on a sketch for the next rug!  Can’t wait!  This one, I think, will be more geometrical.  I am looking at Bridget Riley for a project that I am helping my daughter’s art teacher with and perhaps I’ll let that inspire me…

Thank you for letting me share!                        ~ Angie

 

5seriesAngie, Thank YOU for sharing.  You are very inspiring and your rya is spectacular.  have you named it? Do you know where it will hang or lie?  Comments from others are always welcome.  Feel free to dialogue with Angie here. Cheers, to all!   melinda

New Feature: Rya Artist Spotlight on Judy Nelson-Moore

1Judy

I generally share info about what’s happening in the studio or how I do a certain art technique, or fun art shows coming up.  This month I want to share with you someone who has amazed me beyond words. Judy Nelson-Moore, an accomplished ceramics artist from Santa Fe, had never made a rya rug in her life, but contacted me with an email that started: “After seeing your website, reading your blog and email news, buying a rya backing, and ordering rya yarn samples, I almost feel like I know you!  I hope you will not mind if I send you pictures of the entry rug I plan to make using the backing I bought from you and ask your advice about the yarn.”  Thus began the a relationship across the states, of one artist with another.  Judy shared with me her technique for graphing her design with the help of her extensive computer know-how.  2original imageGraphing with the help of a computer had been something I’d been trying to figure out for months!  She applied logic and figured it out.  She went on to say, “Unfortunately, the ease of doing the designs was almost a liability.  I have about 200 images in my “rya” folder.  It has taken me far too long to decide, but I finally have the selected design.” The design she chose was full of blended shades which could be daunting to most beginners, but I had no doubt she could do it.  3FinalDesignwGraphOverlayShe made a graph overlay and plotted out her course.  Next she had to select colors to make this design come to life. Since she had the sample color card in hand, she selected lots of colors.  I am always happy to help a designer by cutting skeins so they don’t have to buy more than they need just for small areas or highlights.  5YarnFrom MelindaByrdForFirstRYARug_1000

So once Judy gave me her yarn request, I piled it on the studio table and send her a photo to be sure the pile matched her vision of her rya.  The yarn was all Lundgren yarn (my grandparents’) and the backing from Finland if I’m not mistaken.  With the yarn in her hands, she was able to more accurately chart out her progress. 6 RyaRugYarnSwatchColorAreasShe created needle threading combinations and a color chart for herself. Everyone does this differently and it is great fun for me to see how she chose to keep her vision on track.  In essence, this is comparable to the painter’s palette where countless color combinations can be created.  (Other rya artists, how do you create your color combinations?)

At just beyond the halfway point these are some of the most subtle blendings I’ve ever seen in a rya. (And I’ve seen a lot of ryas!)  Look at the strands of yarn on the margins–her way of knowing when to change colors.   She followed the graph very closely up to this point she tells me.

7january judynelsonmoore rya - CopyI can only imagine that half way into the rug, she began to feel like the “captain of the ship” and details of the graph become less important than the feel of blending colors.

8judy nelson-moore with rya (2)A few days ago, I received another email and more photos from Judy.  It read, “Melinda, I finished the Rya Rug I had started knotting in September.  In retrospect, it doesn’t seem so very long, but it has seemed like a long time during the making!  Thank you for being there when I decided to make this rug…couldn’t have done it without you!  I really love the finished rug.  My husband thinks we should hang it on the wall instead of putting it on the floor where our three cats will probably adopt it, but I am fixated on putting it in the entry to replace my grandmother’s rug. “9Completed rya in situ

What do you think, friends?  On the floor or on the wall?

Your choice, Judy. On the wall, it will always look as beautiful as it does today. On the floor, it will still be beautiful, but will gradually show signs of living and household activities.  In this photo, the rya is a great focal point in your hallway gallery.  I think if your three cats have any say in the matter, it will stay on the floor.

 

10Diablo Inspects 1stRya

I am often asked if I find satisfaction working on the computer so much, cyber-connecting with people who I may never meet…such an impersonal way to conduct business.  NOT!  Most of my rya connections are with people who live very far from me.  But with connections like I’ve made with Judy, I can honestly say that I am more than thrilled with life as it is.  Once my how-to rya book is published, I will be able to get out more, meet people, teach classes.  I am really looking forward to that.

Would you like to learn more about Judy Nelson-Moore?  You might even see in her ceramics works designs similar the the rya design she brought forth.  Take a look at her website to see her other works.  http://judynelsonmoore.com/.  I think I would like to see her add on to her Dancing Mud Studio an area called Judy Dances With Wool!

11nextprojectIn Judy’s first email to me, she had just selected her design from many she had created.  Here is another of her designs that I really liked and hope it becomes her next reference for rya #2.

Wouldn’t you just love to see this in wool?   I have already put the bug in her ear that she may have requests for designing assistance from others. We’ll see. Go, Judy, Go!

PS  Judy recently wrote about her experience with the rya project from her perspective.  It has a lot more detail and background info.  Take a look for “the rest of the story.”  http://judynelsonmoore.com/category/other-media/

 

The Yarn Guys Come to Byrdcall Studio

The Yarn Guys

Three Yarn Geeks: Me, Dennis Rinkenberger, and Jeffrey Wall in Byrdcall Studio

One year ago this month, I found The Yarn Guys.  They are the exclusive distributors in North America for the Rauma Wool Factory in Norway which has been producing excellent wool yarns since 1927.  Anyway, I found The Yarn Guys in Illinois in pursuit of the best rya rug yarn available to supplement my rya yarn supplies.   It is spun of fleece from the indigenous Spaelsau sheep of Norway, a tough and hardy breed.

Gorgeous natural grays

Gorgeous natural grays

I have been gradually buying more and more ryegarn (rya yarn) colors from them as well as awesome heavy wool backings.   It has been years since I’ve seen natural grays in rya yarn… Look at the mixed fibers in these skeins.  And the dyed yarn is gorgeous, too.

So it came as quite a nice surprise to get an email from Jeffrey Wall of The Yarn Guys yesterday saying that he and Dennis Rinkenberger–the other Yarn Guy–were heading to a yarn show in New York City and heck, Baltimore is nearly along the way from northwest Illinois, so why not stop by my studio, bring me some Rauma Rya kit catalogs and check out my studio.  We had a great morning together “talking shop.”

Look at this luscious spectrum of colors!

Look at this luscious spectrum of colors!

Why is this so exciting to me? Well, how many people do I come across in real-life-time who even know what rya (rye) is, much less work with the yarns everyday?  So much of my day is on the computer emailing and responding to rya questions, which–don’t get me wrong–I enjoy very much, but face to face with other humans who live and breath this stuff is exhilarating. One of the most exciting things that I learned is that I am the only supplier in the USA at this time for the Rauma rya backings!  That is very cool.  And I am totally sold on the quality. I think that I will soon be on my way to adapting my “hundreds of designs” to fit the Rauma backings.  The other cool thing about meeting these guys today is the fact that they are just learning about rya rug-making now, and I’m hoping that they left feeling like the possibilities are endless…which they are.

… And later in the day, the floor loom that my grandfather, William E. Lundgren, made half a century ago came back home to me today… but that is another story for another day.

Love ya!   Melinda

Rya Lesson #5 with Bill and Emilie…

Bill and Emilie learn the rya knotting process for both left-handed and right-handed stitching.

Bill and Emilie learn the rya knotting process for both left-handed and right-handed stitching.

If you have been following the past four rya designing lessons, you can probably sense the joy I felt when the man who asked me to design this rya for him came to my studio in Maryland (from New Jersey) for a lesson and to bring his supplies home with him.

Over a year ago, Bill discovered me on the internet (as many of you have).  He had made a rya about 40 years ago and was searching for supplies and the perfect design for his second rya.  I helped him search by sending links to web sites with hundreds of rya photos.

Here is the pile gathered for Bill's rya project: Monet's Bridge.

Here is the pile gathered for Bill’s rya project: Monet’s Bridge.

Eventually Bill found a painting by Claude Monet of the bridge over the lily pond which had the colors and feel he was looking for.   He asked me to develop this design so he could create a rya for a wall-hanging.  Since I was getting deep into writing my book on “designing your own rya”, I told him I could, but it would be a while… I just had to get the book done first.  Then months later, I learned the lesson so many writers learn…not to rush the writing process.  So rather than make him wait many more months, I took on the project and started to do these lessons for you at the same time.  I hope some of you have found them to be helpful.

So yesterday, Bill and Emilie and sweet little dachshund, Chance, arrived at Byrdcall Studio to learn (or relearn) the process and everything they will need to do to complete the rug.  While I got Bill (left-handed) and Emilie (right-hand) oriented to the knotting process and graph reading, Chance rooted out and consumed all the feral crickets in Byrdcall Studio!

Bill getting more comfortable by the minute with the knotting process.

Bill getting more comfortable by the minute with the knotting process.

Bill and Emile are now starting on a new adventure and I am re-committing to getting this book written more now than ever.  Writing out these instructions here in the Byrdcall Blog has helped me to formulate some of the techniques I’ll put in the book…and I realized not to start you off with such a complicated design!  The rest of my designing lessons will be a piece of cake compared to this one.  But I am very proud of the design and confident that Bill and Emilie will have a spectacular 4′ x 6′ rya hanging on the wall within a year.

Simple set-up: a table, chair, and a hanging rack for the yarn.

They are ready to take the supplies home and create their own work space… Simply a table, chair, good lighting, and a hanging rack for the yarn.  And off they go!

Thanks for keeping up on the lessons.  Bill has promised to send photos of his progress.  I promise to get the book done, but not in 2014.

Thank you Bill and Emilie for letting me use your project as my on-line demonstration.  It has been FUN.

As always in my blogs, questions and comments are welcome.

Cheers!

Lesson #4 Calculating How Much Rya Yarn You Will Need

Hi, FriendsDSCN6910

In lesson #3, we marked all the color areas on the graph paper with a corresponding yarn blending number which we also tied to our threading card for reference, like a paint by number painting.  (Oh no, don’t glaze over yet!)  To determine the amount of yarn we’ll need, first let’s do it mathematically so we know the ballpark amount.  This technique is really easy, and I can in a moment tell you how much yarn any given backing will require by multiplying the number of knots that can be made across a horizontal row times the number of rows in the rug.

With this Monet’s Bridge design, I have hemmed two (2) 34″ wide rayon and linen backings which each can hold 84 knots across the row.  84 x 2 = 168 knots across the row.  In this backing there are about 21 rows per foot and this is a 4-foot tall rug,  I happened to hem the backing in a way that allows for 82 knotable rows.  So our graph is designed to be 168 knots x 82 rows.  (Calculator, please.)  168 x 82 = 13,776 knots in the entire rya.

With this number, you can figure out lots of information.

  • If you make 150 knots per hour, it will take you 91 hours to knot a rya this size
  • If you make a loop (pile) that is about 1 1/2″ long, you will get about 325 knots from a skein.  13,776 knots divided by 325 knots per skein  = 43 skeins needed for this 4′ x 6 ‘ rya.
  • If you wanted a 2″ long pile, you would get about 300 knots from a skein.  So how many skeins would YOU need to knot a 4′ x 6′ rya?  Calculators welcome.
  • If you don’t like complicated stuff, and you hate math, you could simply say, “OK, my rug needs 43 skeins of yarn, I will order a mixed bag of the colors I need–maybe only 30 skeins, then I’ll see what I run out of, and order more of that at that time.”  I am fine with that.  It gets you started, and by the time you need more yarn, you’ll have a good idea of future needs.

If this doesn’t really interest you, don’t bother reading any further!  But if you are one of the many folks who has asked for this and can not wait for my illustrated book to come out, brace yourself…. here comes the real math with no apologies.

Here is the threading card to show color combinations matched with a number to go on the graph.

Here is the threading card to show color combinations matched with a number to go on the graph.

For each color combination threading you have created on your threading card, count–or estimate–the number of knots in your rug of each of those color combinations.  I usually count by 10’s or square inches on the graph which have 70 knots.

Worksheet for tallying knot counts and math to determine how much of each color Part I.

Worksheet for tallying knot counts and math to determine how much of each color Part I.

 

 

 

Now I agree, that is a lot of counting and numbers.  Now we’ll make sense of them.  The last column on the right (below) tell us how many skeins of each pure color we need to order to make our Monet rug.  Notice only 1/4 skein is needed in certain lesser-used colors.  Lots of 1/2 skeins.  As my grandparents did, I also am happy to split skeins for rya rug makers.  It can save you a lot of money to only buy 1/4 instead of a full skein of every color.

There may be easier ways to do this, but I don't know what they are.  This actually works and doesn't take as long as you probably think it does.

There may be easier ways to do this, but I don’t know what they are. This actually works and doesn’t take as long as you probably think it does.

 

 

Rya Monet yarn pile

I pulled all the yarn from the storage shelves for making this rug.  Here is what the pile of supplies looks like.  So now, all that is left is to have Bill stop by to reacquaint himself with rya rug making, give him a mini-lesson until he feels totally comfortable with the project that will take him about 90+ hours, then home he goes to work on his rya at his leisure.  I can’t wait to see the design become reality.  I’m sure Claude Monet is thrilled too.

PS.  As I was writing this all down for you I was a little mortified that I had chosen such a detailed design with which to explain the yarn calculations.  I’ll go with a more basic design next time.  My book will have it MUCH more basic to start, but this degree of difficulty is good to know if you want to design your own from paintings for example.

Questions?  This is a good place to ask.