The Finnish Rya is made of knotted wool(with about a 1 – 1.5 inch pile), tied to a handwoven fabric backing. The special rya backing is woven using linen warp and wool weft. The backing is woven with spacing to allow the rya knots to be tied or sewn in.
Some shifting of the weft threads may occur during shipping and handling. The spacing can be gently pushed back into place before starting a row of knots.
The Rya knot is formed around 2 warp threads. The warp threads are the linen yarn threads that run vertically in the fabric.
To make the Rya knots, use 2 or 3 strands of yarn.
Length about 1.5 – 2 yards.
Thread them onto a needle provided with the kit
2 strands creates a rya that will lay fairly flat
3 strands creates a rya that has quite a dense pile
Sufficient yarn is provided for either style of rya.
You may work the knots from either the right or the left of the fabric.
I find it best to start from the bottom of the design and work your way up to the top.
Centre the design on the fabric.
To Sew the Knots
Start from the inside of the group of 2 warp threads
(Working from left to right:
Pull the yarn through and up to the left.
Hold back about an inch of yarn( the length of the wooden ruler provided)
This forms the first part of the knot.
Thread the needle through the next warp thread
from the outside to the inside of this group of 2 warp threads.
Tighten up the loop that has formed around the 2 warp threads.
Wrap the thread around the ruler.
This forms the Rya loop.
Repeat the above procedure for the required number of knots in the design, leaving the knots on the ruler as you work your way across the fabric.
When the ruler fills up, or you are starting a new colour, the ruler can be moved and the process repeated.
When you have a full row of knots, give them a gentle tug to tighten them securely to the backing, before starting the following row.
After you have tied a row of loops, the knots can be cut to form the pile.
Using the ruler as a guide, trim the knots carefully.
Once the Rya project is finished, allow the yarns to settle for a few days, then trim again to get an even pile.
These “Rya Rugs” are designed to be hung on a wall as a piece of art. Using a Rya as floor or area rug is not recommended.
Sadly, over the years I have received many emails from rya rug owners, asking how to repair the hole in their rug that was created by a table or chair leg. A repair is possible sometimes, but this should not have happened. Ryas are traditionally used as a bed covering or a wall hanging. A Rya should be treated as a treasured piece of art, hung on the wall, not on the floor and can last for a lifetime when cared for properly.
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.