A Rya Challenge for the New Year

img_0289Happy New Year!  I think we stay young when we do things we have never done before on a regular basis.  If nothing else, it definitely keeps life more interesting.  So that will be one of my driving forces during 2017.

I have been designing and making rya rugs since I was in 6th grade, so my new thing to start the new year is to make a “kit” rya rug from Norway–and an easy one at that. So, for me, my challenge is to not ad-lib or substitute colors.  Why am I holding back on my creativity? img_0267The reason is I have been selling the Rauma Rye (Norwegian for rya; pronounced the same) kits for over a year now and I have never made one.  Most design-kits have been available for decades, if there ever were any “bugs” surely they would have been worked out by now.  I ask my customers after they tell me they have completed a rye kit if they had enough of every color.  Usually the answer is yes, and I have to wonder when they don’t if it is because they made the pile a little too long. img_5967 So now I am putting myself to the test.  I am also putting Rauma to the test. It is coming through with flying colors. Many of my questions are now answered.

The neat thing is: I am totally LOVING making the kit called “ILD” which means “Fire” in Norwegian.  I have seen a photo of a completed Ild in gradations from black-purples-reds-orange-yellows.  But Ild is also offered as a kit in these cool blues-greens, but I didn’t know what they would look like together.

Two evenings ago I started knotting Ild while watch a Netflix movie (Sully, starring Tom Hanks). So sitting on the couch with my rya in my lap, I knotted the bottom 6″ within two hours while watching a riveting movie.  Now, two days later I am almost half way done and I can’t stop! The color combinations are amazing.  This is a great “starter kit.”  It is small 16″ wide by 32″ tall. It is totally symmetrical.  Reasonably priced at $206 for all supplies.  And now it is the only kit of all my Norwegian offerings that is personally “test-driven” by me.  (aside from my own designs!)img_0265

Now I have a fun offer for you. I would like to offer a small rya sewing circle of 3-4 people who want to come to my studio here in Woodbine, Maryland to start on their own Ild kit or any other rya project you would like to make. I’d be happy to set you up with these colors, or the red one, or we could do any color transition you want to do such as browns-rusts-yellows or purples through pinks.  I can personally teach you in a small group setting.  If you can’t come to my studio, You can still buy a kit and I will mail it to you. Click here to see the blue-green option or Click here to see the red-yellow option I’ll start the first few knots for you.  And for January and February, we can do an email progress-sharing report for all Ild makers, and in spring I will post a picture of everyone with their completed rya in what ever colors you chose to make them.  Contact me if you would be interested in starting with this kit this winter.  Let me know your general time availability. Weekdays, or weekend, mornings or afternoons.  Note:  I have just set aside Wed., Feb. 8 from 2-4:00 as a rya sewing circle day.  The first 4 people to contact me will be included in this sharing afternoon together.  Email me at byrdcallstudio@gmail.com.

img_0277All that to say, I AM LOVING THIS RYA EXPERIENCE!  And want to experience it with YOU! Throughout 2017 I plan to shine a spot light on various designs or ways of designing.  Keep me posted if you don’t want to miss a Rya Sewing Circle aimed at giving you confidence and a good healthy start on your project.

If you live anywhere near Connecticut, don’t forget to check out the STITCHES UNITED Conference in Hartford the last week-end in April.  I’ll be teaching there, and there is still time to register for my class. ILD and about 4-5 or my own designs will be on display in the Hartford Convention Center.

Feel free to comment below about other class types you would be interested to have me schedule in 2017.  Completing the book is my #1 priority, but a little class fun really makes my day!

Drop-In for a Visit at Byrdcall Studio–Tuesday, August 23 Noon- 6PM

It is funny, every now and then, I get an email from someone who says, “I don’t understand it:  I have searched your newsletter for the location of your shop and I don’t see it listed anywhere.  Where are you located, and what are your hours?”

The truth is I do not have a storefront and I do not have scheduled hours of operation. I have a backyard studio where I do all my work. Most of my orders for rya supplies, hand-printed shirts, and other art come from email requests from my website and my etsy shop. I do not have–or plan to open–a store front for daily drop in business.  I always welcome requests for appointment and LOVE to meet people at the studio, but only by appointment.

This summer, I am trying something new.  Once a month, I have been offering Byrdcall Studio Drop-in Days where no appointment is necessary.  This is an experiment.  Let me know how this could work better for you.  Here are the Drop-in dates: Thursday, June 23; Wednesday, July 20th; and Tuesday, August 23rd.  Feel free to drop in between 12 noon and 6 PM.  My address is 1103 Hoods Mill Road, Woodbine, Maryland. Park in the driveway.  Walk up the gravel drive and enter through the gate (Please close it behind you to keep the dogs in).  The studio is the nice wooden building in the back.  Call for directions if you don’t have GPS. 410-615-2473.

Why might you want to visit?  To buy a T-shirt, to get a help starting on a rya kit you have bought, to see what the rya rugs are all about, to buy a woodcut print for a special gift, to see my yarn selection, to try your hand at knotting on the “practice” rya rug, to help me prepare yarn sample cards, or just to see the studio–or ME!

Note  In July I contacted several people who were working on their first ryas or about to start them.  They came to the studio and had a Rya Sewing Circle which was so  much fun for all of us!  Let’s do that again in August!

Comment below if you have suggestions for making Drop-In days work better for you. I’ll decide if we continue them after August. Or I could do two a month if lots of people come.


Studio Elves Hard at Work


Jennie, JoAnn, and Karen each took on 10 color cards to load with yarn.


JoAnn became very skillful at making skeins from big hanks of yarn with this antique skeining machine.

I held my first of many studio workshop days in Byrdcall Studio this week.  The goal was to familiarize helpful (and interested) friends in some of the day-to-day operations in the studio as they relate to my new rya rug design and supply “division.”  The other goal was to have fun with some awesome women folk who volunteered to help me get this “show on the road” as we made yarn sample cards and spun skeins from hanks of dyed rya yarn.  The less time I personally spend making yarn sample cards, the more time I have to work on my book on making rya rugs.

After a grueling three hours in the sweatshop, we enjoyed a variety of salads, bread, and guac&chips (by Karen) under the patio umbrella.  I believe everyone had a good time and I am very well supplied with sample yarn cards for a few weeks (hopefully).  Soon we will be putting together kits, organizing yarn displays, hemming backings for orders, and having more fun.  I have a few other people on my “helper list” who could not make it this week.  If you would like to help out some day, please let me know.  Thanks.

And very sincere thanks to these three women who caught on quickly and made my day a wonderful day!


Karen and Jennie put finishing touches on the sample cards.