New Price Break on Vintage Swedish Frostagarn

I purchased many boxes of the Borgs Swedish yarn called Frosta over a year ago from an estate sale on the west coast.  It was produced in the mid-century modern period and is no longer made. I have listed it in my etsy shop, and sales have been brisk at $8/100gram with 110 Meter on the skein. Generally yarn of this caliber ranges from $10-16/skein

As of this blog-posting, I will be reducing the price for larger orders to help move the yarn to fiberartists who are on budget or just looking for a good deal.  It is currently the lowest priced yarn I carry, and frankly I need the space for newer yarns coming in.

If you are buying 1-14 skeins, the price is $8.  Notice the price drops significantly as you buy greater quantities.  If you want to order for a group of friends, why not bring the price down to $5/skein.  There will be no delay in shipment because it is on on premises right now.

A color sample card is included in my Samples package sold on etsy. The colors are limited to two basic color ranges: HOT pinks, oranges, and yellows ….

and COOLER natural greens, browns and golds.

They can be used with other Frostagarns or mix them with Rauma, Lundgren, or Asborya (currently made by Borgs selling at $13-16/sk.)   You can mix and match colors as you choose. Any quantity, as long as it is still available or any Frostagarn color, just send me a list of what you want and I will send you an online invoice.  Or if you’d rather purchase through etsy, send me an etsy message telling me what you want, and I will do a special listing just for you.  Very easy.

Here are the price breaks:

1 – 14 skeins @ $8.00/skein

15 – 25 skeins @ $7.00

26 – 49 skeins @ $6.00

50+ skeins @ $5.00

Here is a close-up shot of a totally Frostagarn-made rya.  It has a coarse feel as most rya yarns do.  The twist is looser than other rya yarns, but the twist is maintained when the loops are cut.  I made sample swatches of rya rugs (like the photo below) using every type of rya yarn I carry, and was very pleasantly surprised at how nice the Frostagarn functioned solo on a backing.  I have been adding maybe 10-20%  Frostagarn to most my kits I offer along with a mix of the Lundgren, Rauma ryegarn and prydvevgarn, and Asborya.

By comparison (for those in the know), the same company, Borgs in Sweden made Frostagarn as they still make the Asborya today which sells for $13-$16.  The older yarn has the more characteristic coarse rope-like twist than the new which is definitely more on the soft side.

 

VE Magazine features Mid-Century Modern Ryas and my Efforts to Revive the Almost-lost Art of the Rya Rug

Rya Rug-making…Yesterday and Today. This early ad is from one of my old C.U.M. Rya catalogs from Denmark.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the editor of VE Magazine (stands for VintagExplorer) based in the United Kingdom.  VE is available both in print and online with subscriptions from all around the world.  She was working on an article featuring the history of mid-century modern rya rugs and some of the unique advertisements that were created to put this art form on the map.  You have to see them to believe it!  Click here to go directly to the Rya Rugs article.  If you are a fan of all things vintage, treat yourself to a trip back in time.  Let me know if any of you remember the advertisements.  I recall my grandmother saying, “That’s ridiculous.  Who would put a rya rug in the beach sand?”  But the image lasted for decades for me.

The article also contains rare information about the history of the Nordic ryas to which I can attest there is very little written.  I was thrilled to see the history is very similar to what I have assembled for the history chapter in my book on designing and making the off-loom rya. (Phew!  So I know it is all TRUE!) She wanted to conclude her story with an optimistic word about making a rya rug today…and she found me.  Of course I gave her all the info and photos she needed to complete the story.  The off-loom art of rya rug-making has a new ally of support and outreach to the world.  So exciting to have others sharing the story.

Louise working on her first rya of her own design at the February 2017 Rya Sewing Circle at Byrdcall Studio. Denis is starting on his third rya of the past 12 months!

I think it is really cool that she has put the challenge out to the VE readers to make a rya rug.  A kit is a great way to get started, or start designing your own.

I keep adding to my kits-on-hand inventory from Rauma of Norway each month.  I also have a few of my earlier designs listed on etsy. Why not check out my etsy shop?

If you would like to share your latest rya project, or even a vintage one, post on Pinterest or Instagram with hashtags #vintagexplorermag, #ryarugs, or #midcentury.  Be proud to share in any social media you choose and in real life, too, like as a fiberart in the County Fair!  If there is no category for “Rya Rugs” request a new category for an old craft.   The more we get our ryas “out there” the more people will realize it isn’t just an art of the past.

While your interest is peaked, why not check out these links:  www.vintagexplorer.co.uk and www.mantiquexplorer.co.uk

If you remember these ads, tell us.  If you care to comment about this blog, feel free to do so below.  You may not see your comment immediately, but check it out later and see what others have said.  Thanks!  Knot on!

Perfectly manicured hands demonstrate the rya knotting technique in another promotional photo by C.U.M. Rya of Denmark in 1960s-70s..

 

Online Viewing of Rauma Rya Kits Currently Available

img_5967

This one is named “ILD” which translates as “Fire.” I have a small kit for $206. which measures 16″ x 35″.

Once a month, I order rya yarn, backings, and rya kits from Norway.  The kits are a relatively new addition to my offerings.  In my last order, I purchased four kits which had no one waiting to receive them meaning that they are available at this moment.

  1. ILD (In reds as shown and in Blue-Greens.)
  2. Gry
  3. Vinter
  4. Anemone (My best seller in recent months)

Here is a new way for you to view what is available in kits from Norway (as opposed to viewing my past blogs where I have listed individual designs.) Click on this link to go directly to Rauma’s web site in Norway.  http://www.raumaull.no/produkter/ryer

This is Gry. I have it immediately available in these colors, but can also order it in purple-reds or gray-blues.

This is Gry. I have it immediately available in these colors, but can also order it in purple-reds or gray-blues. It costs $350. 24″ x 43″

Then click to download the various catalogs to see all the available kits.  I believe I can get any one of them for you.  Send me an email asking for the price of a particular kit.  Please use the order #number along with the name of the kit and the size you are interested in.  I’ll get back to you with a price.  The kits come in three different price ranges depending on how many strands of yarn are used on the needle and if the rya has a sculptural effect or not.  I can tell you the cost without you knowing the details.  😉

vinter-photo

“Vinter” is available now. You can guess what that translates to in English. The kit is 24″ x 43″ and costs $350.

anemone-copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking that if local folks ordered (or bought) kits, I would organize mini-classes of 3-4 students at Byrdcall Studio for a little class (maybe two hours) in getting started on your kit.  (Free of charge.) I’ll probably keep doing this for years to come, too.  I might as well start now.  I’d be looking for a minimum of three students, so let me put you on my future mini-class list.

Since these blogs are interactive, let me ask you:

If I offered a half-day mini-class on getting started on a Wreath Rya Wall-hanging this Fall, would you be interested?   See Wreath Rya in my Etsy Shop

headband-with-rya-knotsWould you be interested in a mini-class in designing your own rya with other beginners?  I’m thinking of offering classes with themes.  For example a rya class for quilt-makers to incorporate their quilt designs into ryas… and a class for visual artists to turn their abstract paintings into rya rugs.  Stay tuned and let me know if something interests you.  I’ll put you on the list to contact when that class happens.

Have you ever made rya knots on clothing?  Hats and mittens in particular?  If you have, tell me about it, or better yet, send me some pictures.

You can take a plain crocheted head band and turn it into a fun art piece.

And another random question:  If you have made ryas before, and hang them on your wall, HOW do you hang them?  What is your technique?  Yes, I am writing this part of the book now and would love to learn from YOU.

That is all for now.  I have a lot more blog posts in mind which you may be seeing sooner rather than later… and a newsletter should be out in a week or so.

Thanks so much for your interest.  Stay tuned. … Melinda

PS  Feel free to comment below.  I love to read your comments.  You might not see it immediately, but there is a delay in posting to stop spammers.  Thanks!

 

 

 

You’re on the Map!

I’ve been spending quality time writing my rya book lately!  Yeah!  But I did an impulsive “just for fun” thing a couple of weeks ago.  I ordered a nice paper map of the United States.  My husband helped me out by cutting a cork board to fit it, and we mounted it on the wall of my office.  I love it!  Then I took all the folders from my “Rya Customers” file (Yes, real paper folders) and typed out the name and town of every person I’ve helped with rya supplies in the past year–maybe a little longer.  Then I cut the name labels into thin strips and tacked each one up on the map.  You guys are all over the place!   (Apologies to my non-USA rya friends around the world…)map of usa

Why did I do that?  Well, for fun.  Girls just gotta have fun.  But in a practical way this helps to keep me focused on who you are and where you are.  There are some very helpful benefits provided by being able to SEE where you all live in this country as a whole:

  1.  I don’t have to rely on my poor aching memory. (“What was that lady’s name from Tucson, AZ?”)
  2.  In future years (after the book is done) I may travel to teach classes in off-loom rya rug making.  It would be so helpful to be able to see at a glance how may of you living within a reasonable drive of where I might teach.  Then I can let you know, and you can let your friends know.
  3. And a third fascinating idea I’ve been playing with in my head for about a week now. A man from San Francisco left a comment on the Youtube video page asking if there were any rya groups in his area that he might get together with to get back into making ryas with company.  Hmm.

That last one really hit home with me.  I can’t travel the world now to teach, but what if little pockets of rya knotting groups started here and there across the country?  With the map, I could clearly see where you live near other rya rug makers.  You could share techniques and teach each other.  How would this work?  It is still a little sketchy in my brain right now, but when we have a greater density of rya folks in specific DSCN7158areas, I could help by sending an email to let’s say 6-8 people within an hour drive of each other.  I would say, “Hey, do any of you have a favorite free meeting place like a side room in your library, coffee shop, arts center, a church recreation room–any friendly public place where you could carry in your tote bag full of your projects.  I would also ask you if it was OK to share your email address with who ever offered to coordinate a little get together.

If you say “Yes, give them my email address!” well, the rest is up to you all to work out the best day and time.  Do you think this pl_DSC0033an has merit?  I think we need to wait a little longer for the density of rya artists to fill in on the map, but I think it could be doable within a year or two.  Imagine groups of fascinating rya artists and beginners getting together once a month (or season) to help each other out and answer the many questions swirling in your heads.)

This could become a RyaMatch.com (don’t click on that–no such thing).  Or it could be a Rya-bee.  Think of the confidence a beginner would have to be surrounded by sharing rya folks…. Please share your ideas and comments below.

Thanks, Melinda

Rya Yarn Supply at Byrdcall Studio Update

This is an important blog for anyone who is interested in my rya yarn supplies.  (If not, you won’t hurt my feelings if you skip this message.)  If you have my sample yarn cards, go get them and follow along with me.

pinksreds2The BIG NEWS is that I now carry every single color– 82 in all–of the Rauma Ryegarn from Norway.  I started slowly, but a year later my shelves are stocked with 5 or more of every color.  I reorder monthly so if you need more than I have, I can get what you need within 4-6 weeks. And I can send you what I have immediately to get you started asap.

These are the 82 Rauma Ryagarn color I have on hand.

These are the 82 Rauma Ryegarn colors I have on hand.  100 g skein. 2-ply.  75 M.    $16/skein.  Yarn sample card is $5.

soldout Lundgren copy

 

OK, Now pull out your Lundgren Rya yarn sample cards.  The yarn in the long skinny picture is sold out, but I have all the other Lundgren colors. (See at the bottom of this posting below)

This is the yarn that my grandparents had spun for them of New Zealand fleece by Harrisville Designs of Harrisville, NH.  No more of this yarn is being produced in the states. I still have thousands of skeins, but not in these colors.  If you are desperate for one of these sold out colors, feel free to ask me about it.  I may have a cut skein somewhere that I can offer you.  And I can definitely make a suggestion as to a substitute.

If you have your Lundgren Yarn sample card in hand, I suggest that you put an X through the sold out color numbers rather than removing the yarn.  If you leave the sold out yarn in the card, you can refer to that color when communicating with me.

If you don’t have a Lundgren Rya yarn sample card, I would recommend that you order my full line of rya samples.  I make this available for immediate sale at my etsy shop.  Click here to read more or to make a purchase.

The samples I send you include not only the yarn, but a variety of backing swatches to choose from as well as a detailed description and price list.

The next BIG NEWS of this blog is that I have now sold out of all of my Finnish Vuorelma yarn.  I only had about 8 colors in stock before they declared bankruptcy a year ago.  Very sadly this is one more Scandinavian Rya supply company that has succumbed to economical woes and lack of sales of rya supplies. (My guess.)  So if your yarn card has Vuorelma yarn on it, X them out.

And finally, I still have a solid supply of Asborya rya yarn from Sweden.  It takes me quite a bit longer to receive these Swedish yarns, but many of you love their softness.  In the yarn sample cards that I send via my etsy shop, I enclose a card of Asborya yarn samples.  As far as I know, no one else sells Asborya yarn samples.  They can be viewed online, or you can get the actual yarn to feel along with my rya samples.

Pirkanmaan Kotityo Oy Rya yarn samples - reduced

Pirkanmaan Kotityo Oy Rya yarn samples. Click on image to zoom in for detail.

I have bought rya backings from another Finnish supply company, Pirkanmaan Kotityo Oy.  I intend to purchase more of their backings and yarns soon.  This would be ideal for those making rya wall-hangings.  Here is what their yarn sample card looks like.  Heavenly colors.  A lighter weight yarn … so you can add more strands on the needle for endless possibilities for blending.  Acquiring more of their yarn will be a goal of mine for 2016.  Tell me below which colors you would be most interested in buying–no pressure or commitment!

Friends, this has been a long blog, so I appreciate your patience.  I just want to keep you informed of the status of your favorite yarns.  Please share with any other rya folks you know.  They will appreciate knowing what is available.

PS  For clarity, there is still plenty of Lundgren Rya yarn.  See image below. (Note: #91 sold out.)lundgren sample cards 12-2-15 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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