Melinda Byrd of Byrdcall Studio in Maryland is not only writing a book on Designing and Making a Rya Rug, but also reviving a heritage craft, and sharing stories about the journey. Here’s a followup from meeting her recently at Stitches United held in Hartford, Connecticut.
The video (below) is an overview of her work, design process, family heritage (an ahead-of-its-time niche cottage industry!), plus details of the Rya breed of sheep that produces resilient wool, and more about these hand-knotted rugs.
“I’m so happy that The Yarn Guys convinced me to join them in their booth line up, or I never would have met you all. I really enjoyed my time at Stitches United and feel pretty sure that you did, too,” she wrote in a note after the event. “I had 9 students in my class who are all actively working on Ryas of their own design. I’ll post pictures as I receive them.” Those photos, by the way, are on her Facebook page, which is linked here – the colorful results, her experience told in a pictorial way, and the classes she taught at Stitches United are well worth a visit.
The Yarn Guys – link to their site here, are based in Illinois. “Both of us are avid knitters of Norwegian descent. There is a great knitting tradition, not only in Norway, but throughout the world. We look forward to helping keep these traditions alive and current. Our goal is to provide shops with reliable service, high-quality yarns and patterns, and any assistance that helps ensure their success. As The Yarn Guys, we are proud to be the North American distributors for Rauma yarns and patterns.”
For more about Rya rugmaking, Melinda offers a free newsletter; Byrdcall Studio has an Etsy shop as well.