Rya Rugs

This is an ever-changing page on my web site.

Tree of Life Design: Melinda Byrd 2012

I was born into a rya rug family.  My grandparents, Angie and Bill Lundgren imported rya kits and supplies from Sweden from 1955-1970s.

I worked as designer and “helper extraordinaire” for Lundgren Rya in the late 1970’s – early 80’s.  The rya business was sold out of the family in the mid-80’s, yet I continued to make ryas and teach with my small inventory of yarn and backings after moving to Maryland and focusing on a different career path, Environmental Education.

In the winter/spring of 2011, I designed and knotted what I thought would be my last rya rug while the local paper, the Carroll County Times documented in photographs and video the entire process for posterity.   It is posted on youtube.com and I invite you all to see it.  Here is the link: http://youtu.be/trl3V5Q2kG4.  Feel free to share this with anybody you think would enjoy it.  The video has been seen by approximately 425,000 people (April 2017).  I have received many requests for materials and instructions.

  • I am writing a  book on Designing and Making Your Off-Loom Rya.  It will be released as a book, then on Kindle soon after.
  • I am a retailer of Rauma (Norway) rya yarns and backings as well as Asborya yarns from Sweden.
  • I “bought back” my grandparents former business, Lundgren Rya, including a huge amount of yarn, backings, 100s of designs, needles, graph paper, etc.  This acquisition took place on October 26, 2013!

I have a unique knowledge and skill in designing and calculating needed materials for making rya rugs.  I offer my services to help you find materials and develop your technique.  I can help you learn to make your own rya rug, or I can match you with a talented knotter who can make it for you.

studio shelves of Rauma2

YARN:  I currently stock about 264 colors in 5 different types of rya yarn. I could probably match any color you need.  I carry the Lundgren yarns (of course), all colors of the Norwegian Rauma ryegarn and prydvevgarn and backing, some Borgs Asborya yarn from Sweden.

My sample cards show all.

Advice:  Start your rya quest by purchasing my Rya Sample Yarn cards.  Click here to see pictures and details about samples in my easy-to-buy Etsy shop.  It is best to make decisions with the yarns and backing samples in your hands.


I still have about 60 colors of the Lundgren rya yarn. Originally there were 91 colors, but there is no color shortage with the Rauma and Asborya yarn in the studio.


We now carry heavy woven wool and linen backings from Rauma in Norway.   Click this link for current prices–>  Rauma Backings Price List 10-17    Rectangular or square backings come hemmed; round backings have securely bound edges.


A wide range of backings to meet just about everyone’s needs.

  • For the budget-minded, a domestically woven acrylic backing on a cotton warp; great for wall-hangings, pillows, and bed coverlets. 25-inch width, any length.  Ask to have it hemmed with a loop-hem for a hanging rod.  $10 per linear foot plus $10 for hemming.  Ask about discounts for purchases over 6 feet in length.

    This is the standard off-loom rya backing

    This is standard wool/linen rya backing

  • Medium-priced, domestically woven linen and orlon and linen and rayon backing hemmed to your desired length.  The orlon feels more like wool, but is lighter weight. The rayon is a heavier backing, smooth to the touch. Great for wall-hangings, pillows, coverlets, and for the floor in low traffic areas. (Supply is very limited)
Surface Knotted heavy backing from Finland

Surface Knotted heavy backing from Finland

  • Finnish backings woven in a surface knotted technique where the knots do not show from the back of the fabric, but the knotting technique is the same.  These are very heavy backings which are not widely known.  I recently knotted a rya wall-hanging on this type of backing and was thrilled with how dense the rya is.
  • If you are interested in where this all is going, please subscribe to my blog and monthly newsletters in the right margin.  It is the best way to be informed of the re-emergence of my rya services.KITS:
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.

I can order for you any kit you wish from Rauma of Norway. Click here to go to their design page, then click on the folders on the left to see more than one hundred designs.  Make note of the design name, number, and size, and email me asking for the price.  I can order for you and have it in about 4 weeks.

I have bolts of various rya backings which I can hem for you, so let me know what you are looking for.  I list ready-to-go backings and yarn selections on My etsy shop.  But here you can download a list of all the available hemmed heavy-duty wool & linen backings I now carry from Rauma in Norway.  Tell me what size you are interested in and I can tell you how much yarn it will require.

I use etsy to show-and-sell my supplies since they are good good at letting me show 5 photos of each item I list as well as allowing for an extensive write-up.  It is convenient for most people to buy through etsy, but never hesitate to contact me directly via email or phone to discuss your needs.  I am an individual (not a major business) and all assistance comes directly from me whether you buy through etsy or through email or by phone.

I’m looking forward to helping you get started on your rya projects!  Cheers!


  1. Knots with LoopsHere is a view of my knotting connected by loops in my recent rya project, Tree of Life.
  2. Class member, Richard, decides to adapt my Tree of Life rya to his favorite color combinations.
  3. ...and here is Richard's adapted rya design. He has made about5 rugs now.
  4. Another student, making her first rya, designed this one from looking up through the leaves of a tree. Jenny decided not to cut her loops for a different texture.
  5. Jo Ann made her very first rya of her own creative Japanese-inspired design. Check out that sky!
  6. Erma got the giggles as she showed off her 6th rya rug. This is a hit -or-miss style where she adlibbed the design as she went along.
  7. Tree of Life as I painted it on graph paper, then squared off the knots, and assigned color combination numbers.
  8. Completed ryaCommissioned rya. Designed by Francesca Gabbiani. Hand-knotted and color blending by Melinda Byrd. 2012.
  9. Rya yarn colors #1 - 32Lundgren Rya yarn spun by Harrisville Designs for my grandparents, the Lundgrens. I still have these colors available for you in 3 oz. 100 yard, 2-ply skeins.
  10. Rya yarn Colors #33 - 64Page 2 of the Lundgren yarns still available.
  11. Rya yarn 65- 89.And page 3 of the Lundgren yarns still available through Byrdcall Studio.