How to Weave a Rya Rug on a floor loom. This rya rug is made of 100% hemp warp and weft. The video demonstrates how to cut the rya pile, tie the rya knots and weave the rug.
The backing for the rug is woven in a tabby weave. The pile for the rya knots is cut to a length of about 3 inches. To prepare the cut pile, wrap the rya yarn around a folded piece of cardboard and cut. After the rug has been woven, trim the rya knots to an even length. Weave about an inch of tabby between each row of rya knots.
Someone recently sent me pictures of a beautiful wool rya rug they had woven. Unfortunately due to wear and tear, the rya has a few holes in it, so they asked me to how repair the rya.
In my opinion, rya rugs should not be used on the floor, rather they should be considered to be works of art and hung as a tapestry on the wall. The weave structure is not strong enough in a rya to withstand floor use and often results in holes in the rug caused by abrasion of table legs or chairs. If you are unfortunate enough to have a rya that has developed a hole, here is how to repair it.
How To Repair a Hole in the Center of a Rya Rug
For the hole in the centre of the rug –
use a strong linen yarn. You may not be able to find an exact match but something similar will work just as well.
Do not trim any of the broken warp threads until you have finished weaving the repair into place – as you will need these for a guide of where to place the repair warp.
Start by sewing the linen warp yarn into the back of the canvas a couple of inches away from the hole
Weave/sew the linen yarn across the width of the rug – weftwise for about an inch or two
then following the first row of warp yarn that is damaged
weave the linen yarn along the warp thread down, weaving in and out between the weft threads, following beside the exisiting warp thread.
This will be like the top of a Z shape. Weaving across the weft first, before weaving down, helps to secure the warp yarn in place so that it doesn’t pull out.
This warp yarn should not show on the surface – except in the section where the hole is.
Then Continue to weave past the hole for another 2 – 3 inches.
Then weave in the second warp row, moving back up and again following the next existing warp yarn.
Continue weaving up and down, following each warp yarn until the hole has been repaired.
Alternate the placement of where you change direction, to avoid creating a bump in the rug.
Once you have rewoven all the warp yarn,
again weave the warp yarn in a horizontal – weftwise direction for a few inches, to lock the yarn into place.
This should be almost invisible from the surface of the rug as the rya shag will cover up the repair.
Now very carefully trim back any bits of broken warp yarn ends that are sticking out. Leave the original warp yarn that has not been damaged in place.
The wool weft backing can now be woven into place.
From the photo, it looks like there are about 8-10 rows of wool weft woven in each section.
Again, if you don’t have any of the original yarn, a good quality wool yarn of a similar weight will work as well.
Following along the existing weft yarn, weave the wool into place, over and under the new warp threads.
Again alternate the beginning and end of the weft yarns so that there isn’t an obvious bump in the repair.
Once the repair has been made, you can add the rya knots into the repaired section. If you don’t have any extra rya yarn left, you can undo a few of the rya knots that use similar colours and remove one of the rya threads from each knot and use these to fix the broken area.
A rya generally uses a lot of yarn so a few knots that are missing a thread or two will go unnoticed. Hole in Binding of Rya Rug
To fix this, it’s a bit like darning a sock.
Using matching wool yarn weave both warp and weft to cover the existing hole.
Finnish Textiles – Rya Rugs
Here are a few examples of rya rugs. The pile for a rya rug or tapestry is woven or sewn onto a wool backing. A rya is traditionally hung on a wall as a tapestry and not used on the floor as it is not durable for floor use.
The sett of the warp and number of weft rows and knots per inch can vary in a rya, depending on the level of detail of the design.
A Rya tapestry is similar in nature to a knotted Persian carpet. It is
comprised of woven rows of weft alternating with rows of knotted yarn. The rya knots are similar to a Ghiordes knot in Persian carpets but are spaced farther apart than those in a Persian carpet and are much larger and longer.
In Norway, ryas have been found dating back to the early 1400’s. They were used as bed coverings, the knotted side being closest to the body providing warmth. In the castles in Sweden, they were used as bedding throughout the 16th
century. The ryas at this time were mainly of solid colours, natural white, grey, black and yellow. In the 17th Century, the rya was no longer considered bedding for the upper nobility, though the servants and lower class still used ryas.
In Finland, the rya developed further with the use of colour and pattern. Decorative ryas date back to the 1700’s. When a young couple married, the rya was used as a prayer rug during the wedding ceremony. The bridal couple would kneel on the rya as they exchanged their wedding vows. The colourful tapestry was then displayed in their home as a reminder of their wedding day and became a family heirloom to be passed on to future generations.
The rya in Finland was larger, made of 1 or 2 pieces, sewn together. Not everyone was a rya weaver as it took skill,
strength and a large loom to weave the heavy tapestry. There were rya weavers, who travelled throughout the villages and towns with their looms. As wedding day plans arose, a rya was commissioned to celebrate the coming event.
Rya designs were usually colourful geometric shapes and florals and quite often had images of the boy and girl to be wed. Also a Tree of Life image signifying the family heritage. The Rya was also dated with the year of the marriage. Different regions of Finland had unique designs and colours specific to the area using the local plants for dyes.
Ryas are still made today, using both traditional and more modern designs. In Finland, schools have rya competitions with children designing their own rya. Ryas can also be sewn onto a prewoven backing.
I often get asked: How do you tie a rya knot on the loom? Here’s how.
Rya Rug Weaving Workshops
I will be offering rya rug weaving workshops where you will learn how to weave a rya rug using a table loom or a floor loom. In this method of rya making, the rya knots are made at the same time as the background cloth is woven.
For more information please visit Scandinavian Weaves Workshop.
I will also add updates about current workshops offered via Twitter.