Hameenlinna 1711 Rya RugRYA RUG Weaving

Rya Rug – Hameenlinna 1711

Finnish Folk Rya – Hämeenlinna 1711

152 cm x 188 cm
Warp: Hemp
Weft: Woolen
# Threads between Pile rows: 12
Rya Pile Length: 1.5 cm
# Threads per Knot: 6
Owner Galerie Horhammer, Helsinki
Deposited in Finnish National Museum

Hameenlinna 1711 Rya Rug
Hameenlinna 1711 Rya Rug

Now that I am slowly recovering from my surgery and freedom of movement is returning to my right arm, I have started to weave again. My love for Rya Rugs lives on and I am starting to make Rya Rug kits again. The rya kits will be for sale at my other website: Paivatar.com

Over the years, I have collected some wonderful resource books about the ryijy of Finland (now mostly out of print). I thought it would be fun to make a few reproductions of these works of art. I have sourced beautiful organic wool yarns and now have a good supply of natural plant dyes that I can use for these kits.

This Hameenlinna Ryijy – 1711 is one of the Coloured Plates that are featured in the Ryiyu Rugs of Finland book, 1926.
What struck me, when examining the image is the colours in this ryijy.
It clearly shows the natural plant colours that were in use in the 1700’s and are still used throughout the world today.

The red and the navy blue (Indigo) were used predominantly in this rug, which demonstrates that these colours were in abundant supply.
Indigo was traded throughout the world, and imported by ship to Finland.

Red Madder was grown locally in Finland and throughout the world, and still is.
Yellow was also woven in this rug. Yellows are most likely grown locally using flower blossoms and leaves.
The rya seems to also small bits of lighter blue, which could be Woad, that can be grown locally of Finland.
The other shades of colour are most likely produced by using over-dye techniques, where the primary colour is dyed and then the yarn is dipped into another dyebath.
Oranges shades are produced by dyeing with red madder and then dipped into a yellow dye bath.
Pink shades would be lighter shades of red madder as the dyebath exhausts.
Greens are dyed by first dyeing the wool in an Indigo vat and then dipping into a yellow dye bath.

It is interesting to note that the warp was hemp – not linen (flax). This indicates that hemp was also grown locally and handspun into yarn.

The weft between the rows of pile used 12 threads, indicating that this was a finely spun weft yarn, possibly of a fingering weight.
The number of threads per knot in the pile was 6. Again, I think it may have been a fine fingering weight.
The yarns would most likely have been handspun.

When rya rugs were and are constructed on a loom, the rows of pile are knotted during the weaving process. Ghiordes type of knots are tied (much as in a Persian carpet along the row of weft.
The pile yarns that are used are cut into small lengths, ready for tying into the rug. As there are many different shades and colours in this rug, I think that many of the yarns may have been made from leftover bits of knitting stash. Saved and put aside for making the rya. – Recycling – Nothing is wasted.
The larger sections of red and Indigo were probably dyed specially for this rug.

This Rya was a wedding rya, made for the bride and groom for their wedding day. The year of the wedding – 1711 – is knotted into the rya, along with their initials.
An image of 2 love birds is also knotted into the rya rug.


The Ryijy Rug Lives On – Finnish Ryijy Rugs 1778 – 2008, Tuomas Sopanen, Leena Willberg 2008, ISBN 978-952-92-3719-7
The Riyjy Rugs of Finland, U.T. Sirelius, Otava Publishing Company, 1926

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