Ryijy Weaving Workshop (June 2024)
Finnish American Folk School

Ryijy Weaving Workshop (June 2024)

Regular price $250.00

Monday-Friday, June 17-21, 2024
10am-4pm EDT
(Studio access for loom warping Sat-Sun June 15-16)
Instructor: Lisa Wiitala
Class fee: $250
Materials fee: $50*
Registration closes June 8 or when sold out

Learn how to weave a Finnish ryijy rug! With their plush, textured surface made from tufts of yarn, they’re as enjoyable to touch as they are to view. Students will use the traditional loom-woven method to create an approximately 12” square sample of their own design for use as a wall hanging. Topics covered will include design patterns, preparation of materials, color blending, knotting methods, edge treatment and finishing techniques. *Students may use their own yarns or choose from a specifically allocated selection available in the studio for an additional fee of $50. Please bring scissors and reading glasses if you use them. 

This class is open to adult students who can independently warp a floor loom before the class begins. If you have not warped a loom before, or need a refresher, consider taking our Well Dressed Loom workshop on Saturday May 4. The looms used during the ryijy workshop will be made available to registered students on the weekend before the workshop so that you may wind your warp and dress your loom. All students should be ready to begin weaving on Monday morning. Please contact us with questions about preparing for this workshop.

The ryijy goes back centuries. First used as sleeping covers by Vikings and sailors, the earliest were made from plain, undyed wool. Later, they entered homes as bed covers and rugs, often woven to commemorate weddings. As wool became more widely available, they grew in popularity. By the 1900s, rigid design patterns were replaced by more abstract designs as well as a greater variety of yarns, turning them into textile art most often used as wall hangings today.

With a BA in biological sciences and an MA in secondary education, Lisa Wiitala taught high school science for many years before taking up weaving. As a fourth generation Finnish American, she was inspired to learn after acquiring her grandmother’s old floor loom. In keeping with her family history, her initial focus was rag rugs, later making the shift to ryijy. She has demonstrated for events including Heikinpäivä, FinnFest USA, and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Scandinavia Day, and has studied advanced ryijy design and weaving in Finland.

More from this collection