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.

 

Lesson #3 in Designing a Rya Rug (with a little help from Monet)

2014-08-05 12.36.56If you are just discovering this mini-lesson out of the blue, go to my previous blogs to get the background story.  In the last lesson, I had painted the special graph paper with a general idea of the color tones I was going for, then with a pencil I “squared off” all color areas so there was no question about which color zone the square was in.2014-08-05 14.03.49

Rya yarn samples-rauma and Lundgren

These are yarn sample cards. There numbers on these cards refer to the pure color of the dyed yarn, not blendings.

Next I used my yarn sample cards to pick out the colors I am going to mix to make the color combinations.  My grandmother always used to say that making a rya rug was like “painting with a needle.”  She was right.  The yarn colors are like the pure paint squeezed from the paint tube onto the palette.

Pure colors are fine, but the magic of rya comes from blending them with each other.  I mean, why wouldn’t you?  You put three strands on a needle to make the knot, so imagine all the color combinations you can get:  all 3 the same color, 2 of one color and one of another color, and all 3 different colors.  Ideally, when you create a threading, you should be able to squint your eyes and see it as one shade, but there are sometimes exceptions to that rule.  (I’ll explain those details in my book.)

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.

So I created the “palette of mixed paints” which I call the “threading card.”  To make a threading card just use a paper hole puncher, punch a line of holes, then number each hole from 1 – 10 or 20 or what ever.  Then like a paint-by-number kit (but a whole lot cooler!) you can assign color numbers to your graph paper.  It is just a guide and you can always adlib.  So look closely at the yarn combinations threading card.  The #1, 2, 3… represents the number that I can easily write on the graph paper.  The three numbers written above that number tell you the ID number of the pure yarn color.  If it is a Lundgren Rya yarn, it is from #1-91.  If it is Norwegian (Rauma) it is a 3-digit number in the 500’s.

I have given a threading number to each color area.  I'm actually not trying to match my painting so much as I am trying to match the colors of Monet's painting--my painting is just a general guide.

I have given a threading number to each color area. I’m actually not trying to match my painting so much as I am trying to match the colors of Monet’s painting–my painting is just a general guide.

DSCN6902

So here is where this lesson ends. Oh yes, these lessons are in real time. Next time we’ll do some calculations. I’ll show you two ways to figure the yarn quantities out.

Next I took on the task of assigning a threading number to every single squared off color area on the entire graph.  OK, I admit, that is a little tedious, but someone has to do it. (You can do it.)  And a design that resembles an abstract Monet is very forgiving and you can’t go wrong…(well, maybe you could, but no one would know–that’s what I mean.)

So what’s left in this lesson series?  How many skeins of all of these colors do I need? Where do we begin this rya?

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Lesson #1 Rya of Monet is Now on its Way!

Getting off square one is always the most difficult part of a job.  Since I promised in my July Newsletter that I would have progress on the designing of a custom “Monet” rya kit order for Bill, I am happy to say it’s happening before I write the August Newsletter.

Bill wants a horizontal rya for a wall hanging behind his bed: 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide approximately.  He wants it to have the general “feel” of Monet’s Bridge over the Water Lily Pond, but not have it look like it’s supposed to BE the painting.  So my goal is to design a colorful abstraction of Monet’s bridge on graph paper with a yarn color chart for him to follow.  Here is my progress of the day:

Monet-cutting backing

I selected the most appropriate backing for the size.  It is 34.5″ wide.  Two stitched side by side will be almost 6′ wide.  Perfect.  So I cut it to be 4′ long with an extra several inches to allow for a hem.  Both pieces have to have the exact same number of knotting rows so they match up when stitched together.  (Notice that my grandmother–founder of Lundgren Rya–is watching over my shoulder.)

Monet-hemming

Then comes the hemming with my sturdy old Singer.  I zigzag the cut edge so it won’t fray as I handle it, then fold two rows over, zigzag them together, then straight stitch twice to be sure the hem is stable and permanently locked closed.Monet-hemmed for rodFor Bill I am making a nice open hem on the top so he can slide a rod for hanging through the tunnel.  It will keep the rya wall hanging nice and straight.Monet-4preparing the graph paperNow both backings are hemmed and ready.  Time to prepare the graph paper.  Luckily, this graph paper was designed for this backing.  There are 84 squares across the bottom of the paper and 84 knots will be made across the bottom of the rya. (Coincidence?) There are 82 rows (see those stripes?) in a 4′ backing.  So watch how I adapt the graph paper…Monet-5-ready for paintingI folded the center margins back so the graph lines match up perfectly.  I also cut the top off the graph paper and folded an inch of paper down for a white border…just for the heck of it. Now the graph paper is ready for the design.  AND I am ready to jump in for the fun part.  Stay tuned.  I’m going to be working on this tomorrow.  Any questions?