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A Collaborative Rya Project

John Terzakis in New Jersey has made 3 1/2 rya rugs to date.  It is his new passion.

This is the 16″ x16″ kits which John had already made. Click to read more about it.

His daughter, Elizabeth, in California contacted me in January asking if I could redesign the “Fireflower in Grays” design to a larger rya kit for her father to make for her with some additions of cranberry reds.  That really didn’t seem to be too challenging a request, but in the throws of finishing my book, I couldn’t take on a designing job at that time.  Elizabeth had definite ideas for exactly what she was looking for, so I challenged her to do the designing.  When she shared her design on paper with me, I thought, “What a perfect opportunity to try out my worksheet and math formula on a rya-newbie.”  I sent her lots of information directly from the book manuscript so she could do the process that would tell her exactly how much yarn it would need.  In exchange for her doing this work (and helping me tweak the calculations worksheet) I agreed to drawn the design onto the backing for her.  Good trade. At first glance she felt overwhelmed by the process I had emailed to her unexpected, and said her schedule and busy life would not allow her to do it.  But on second thought she gave it a go and found that the process actually worked.  (I did have to make a clarification or two which I have amended in the book–lucky for you all!)  But she gave me a list of yarn needed which was quite exact from my perspective.  She and her mother both put some time into figuring, but I was so impressed that it came out so perfectly.

I, in turn, took her design onto which she had superimposed a grid, and I drew it onto the 80 x 120 cm Rauma backing from Norway for them.  I used strands of dark yarn to “stitch the grid,” then slowly and carefully drew Elizabeth’s deign onto the backing with a Sharpie Laundry marker. When I removed my grid lines, the backing was ready to go. Then I gathered the ryegarn and prydvevgarn exactly as Elizabeth had specified, and shipped the whole kit off to John.

I just found out that he is moving right along–maybe halfway done at this point.  I hope to share a photo of the completed rya here soon.  Since then I have spent hours working on the worksheets and formulas included in the book to make everything even clearer…and then I’m always here for you if you have a question.

Here is the pile of yarn needed as gauged by Elizabeths calculations. I know it is right!

New! Cherry Wood Needle Organizer

I learned a lot from my grandparents as I worked with them in their Lundgren Rya, Inc. office back in the day..  My grandfather in particular was always making things.  He was a true inventor. Rumor has it he had 125 patents to his name, but truth be told, he held many jobs working for mills and factories who actually put the patents in the company’s name.  But in any case, he didn’t feel productive if he wasn’t inventing something.

Here are a couple of the needle organizers he made for the business and probably made some for customers, too.  I was just a kid back then.

But now that I have chosen to pick up the rya ball and run with it, I am reviving the needle organizer. I’ve been selling them on Etsy for a couple of years with very high acclaims from people who buy them.  As I was getting low on my tulip poplar blocks, I asked my husband if he would be willing to prepare 50 more for me.  He loves working with wood and chose to buy some gorgeous cherry wood for this edition of the needle organizers.  So every evening for the past week or two he’s been cutting, planing, sanding, drilling, and apply multiple coats of finish to the cherry block.  They are ready to go, and I am thankful.

The tulip poplar wood is on top and the cherry below. Both are very beautiful wood. The cherry weighs about 3 oz. more than the poplar.

We branded them with the wood branding tool I used back in one of my past lives as a sign carver.  I say if you have a wood brander, use it whenever possible.

So who needs a needle organizer?  Well if you use lots of needle in your work–rya or whatever–you would always have your needles at hand safely and in full view at all times. I can’t tell you have many needles I find between the cushions of my couches on the rare days when I lift the cushions. 

But you can make your own.  There is nothing magical about my wood blocks.  One woman, Arlene Desmarais, (in the class I just finished teaching at Integrace/Fairhaven this month) asked her husband to use the facility’s woodshop to make a block for all the students in my class, and he did!  Everyone received a free block.

Click on image to see current listing on Etsy to learn more or to buy a block.