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 Centre 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 existing 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.
Rya Rugs – You Tube
Rya Rug Tapestry Books
The Ryijy-Rug Lives On Finnish Ryijy-Rugs 1778 – 2008. Book by Tuomas Sopanen, Leena Willberg