Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Sibyl summer top by Alexandra G

Here is a little review of my latest knitting project. 

I had wavered between starting on a more ‘winter’ type sweater, or cardigan, or a summer top. I’m a slow knitter, so I knew that if I wanted to knit a summer piece I would have to choose one that would knit up pretty quickly and wouldn’t be too fussy.

The design I settled on ( Sibyl ) was actually a suggestion that had come up on a knitting facebook group I follow. I purchased the pattern on Ravelry, and ordered the yarn - A cotton/linen mix by drops. Colour 11 – Beige.

Now, a little about the yarn – Drops Bomull-lin is a slightly dry, thick-ish type of yarn and the different fibers sort of separate easily – I rarely knit with anything other than wool, so I’m not an expert but I can imagine there are better quality linen/cotton mixes that are softer and more pliable, though you will never be able to beat the price of Drops yarn. 

The pattern says to knit two pieces, a front and back which you then sew together. I hate thick seams, so I opted for knitting in the round and then working each lace panel on its own.  I think this was actually a very good idea as the top is close fitting and a thick seam on the side would have been unseemly, bulky and uncomfortable.

Weaving in the loose ends was again a bit of a challenge, as unlike wool, cotton and linen does not eventually felt itself into the knitting – It sticks out, and can easily come apart. When the whole top had been knitted I carefully undid the regular knots, changed to a granny knot  and weaved in  the ends  using this method:

About the patterns – Pretty straight forward, I knitted it in medium as I am a typical medium size (M or Scandinavian 38/EU 40), but though the top is nice and snug I would have preferred it a little looser – so think about that when knitting it is you are full at the bosoms, tall, want some wiggle room, or are a tight knitter, I would then suggest going a size higher.

Knitting in the round was great, and the lace part was not too difficult as long as you pay attention to the little box on the right hand side of the pattern which gives a good tip for matching up the lace strips. But, I would have wished for more detailed instructions for the lace bit as it came out slightly different on each side and was a little fiddly.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry:

Yarn bought here: www.garnbø

Drops cotton/linen mix and the project on my round needles

All done, and lot's of ends to weave in...

Regular knot

Take it apart carefully

Make a granny knot

Make sure it lays nice and flat against the knitting

Weave in following the knitting path

"Hmmmm ! Could have been a little longer, and the bottom rolls up a bit ". But you can get that fixed by wetting the top and ironing it, or blocking.


PS: All recommendations are my own preference; I am not sponsored by the designer, websites, manufacturers.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Antique hemstitch - Tutorial

I had the embroidery from last years 'small rose challenge' sitting on my desk for months, so yesterday being a rainy Sunday I decided it was time to do something about it once and for all.

I thought framing it would be nice, but it was lacking something? So I settled on an antique hemstitch border since it is a little unusual, yet quick and easy to stitch.

It’s really a nice and easy way to finish off an embroidery without having to cross stitch a border around it. Naturally, it only works on linen or even weave - not aida.

I worked it on two pulled threads, over four threads, but you can also work it on more or less threads. But if you want to weave the pulled threads back to form the corner, you need to have an even number such as 2, 6 or 8 threads.

The threads you go over for the little eyelets don’t have to be four like I did, but two, or three. I started on a corner and at the end realized I didn’t have enough threads to work over four all the way, so the last two are over three threads… but you hardly notice it.

You start on the back of your embroidery and work your way around, once you figure it out it goes quite fast and is nice and relaxing. I used a stiff crochet thread, but you can also use regular threads or perle cotton though I might not recommend regular embroidery floss as you want the stitch to hold the tension.

Perfect corners: Pull two threads, one of which you remove completely. Put the remaining thread on a needle and weave it back.

Antique hemstitch step 1: Work on the back of the embroidery. Pass the needle under four threads.

Antique hemstitch step2: Bring the needle over and slip it under two thread.

Antique hemstitch step 3: Pull the thread and tighten a little. Now you should have a nice little open hole.

Always sign and date your work ! It doesn't have to be very large, just a small, discreet date and name is fine. Here I signed my nickname and date with a sewing thread over two linen threads.

Small rose part 1 - Cross stitch
Small rose part 2 - Gobelin stitch
Small rose part 3 - Petit point 
Small rose part 4 - Bead embroidery

The small rose pattern is available as a free instant download on my website, see link below. 
I would like to challenge you to also try out different techniques and styles of embroidery, needlework or other crafts that can be worked from counted patterns. The possibilities are endless, and lot’s of fun. 
Be sure to tag your work with #smallrosechallenge  or #rolanddesigns
The free pattern can be downloaded here:

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Antique embroidery notebook - Dated 1906

I like everyday objects, items that tell a story ! And this is why I’m often just as thrilled to add to my collection odds-&-ends of no value, as I am to find a rare or more costly piece.

This time I want to show you a little notebook I found for just about nothing on an online auction, it’s simple and has no fancy patterns, but I love how it gives a little peak into the ideas and projects a girl (or lady) was working on sometime in 1906.

I still find it hard to call items from the early 20th century antiques as I feel it was just yesterday, but technically antiques are items that are over 100 years  old – so this notebook is officially an antique as it is 113 years old. 

It’s a German notebook with square grid pages, and held together with a sewed string – no staples. Inside someone tried out ideas, and drew counted patterns in pencil and colored crayons. The name Minna and Margret are done in pretty lettering, along with the family name Hövermann. 

I found a Minna Hövermann (1871-1922) who could fit the date, but she seemed to have lived in in Illinois (USA). I don’t know if that was the owner of the notebook, but could be if she had immigrated to the US ? I always love a little detective work, but it would be so much easier if people would have remembered to date, and sign all papers, works of art, sketches, notebooks, needlework piece and so on. 

I don't speak German, so if someone could translate for me what is writen on the front and back of the notebook I would be really interested to know what it says.

Antique German notebook

A little Assisi pattern or a swirl and dragon

That's it...

The back of the notebook

I can't read German, but I figure it means 'Printed in Stuttgart'.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Introducing Lily - our new puppy !


I would like to introduce you to Lily, the new member of our little family.

Lily is a little mixed breed, part Norwegian Buhund, with a little bit of border Collie and Husky on her mothers side; while the father seems to have been a Finnish Hound.

As in most families my kids have been bugging about getting a dog for the longest time, but since we had an aging cat (Princess) I knew it was best to wait and not introduce a new pet just yet.  But last month, sadly, princess crossed the rainbow bridge and to be honest we were all quite heart broken and the only way to mend a broken heart is with a new love.

One day I took Roland with me to visit a litter of puppies, I didn’t promise anything… but as it happens when you visit puppies - we fell in love, and settled on the one with the little white socks. A month long wait was in order until the pups were weaned from their mama, then came the big day. We hadn’t told the kids about when we would pick her up, so it was a surprise when on Friday night my husband went to ‘pick me up from work’ and we returned home with a most wiggly little black and white puppy.  

The first night she slept with us and woke up around 4.30 am, and that was only because my stupid cats had to go in-out, and bug for food in the middle of the night. We then moved the cats bowls to another part of the house, high up on a counter by the utility sink, this way they have privacy and the puppy won’t eat their food. I heard it’s important when introducing a dog into a cat household that the cats have a place to perch themselves away from the dog, a retreat where they can feel safe and observe from a safe vantage point.

Lily is not even 9 weeks old yet, and while it might have been a little early to pick her up at 8 weeks we figured it would be best to introduce her early to our two  cats, and take advantage of all the extra holidays in May to train her and get her adjusted to her forever-home.

With grown up kids and the youngest cat being 5 years old our house had become rather relaxed, we leave things within reach and on the floor. But now puppy is getting into everything ! Slippers are not safe, shoes are not safe, electrical wires are not safe, the laundry basket on the floor is not safe, my low window plants are not safe, the rugs by the door are getting chewed and peed on ! She also had found old bits of trash from under the bed, chewed up Daddy’s headphone, and went pee on the work clothes he had left on the floor.
It’s a phase, and she will eventually learn to control her bladder and give us notice when she needs to use the loo. As for us, we will be spending the next couple months keeping things out of her reach, and learning to read her body language. 

So far Emilie has been a wonderful helper with cleaning up accidents and everyone is helping out with her post nap, post play, post action toilet runs.

As for the cats, well Moumousse is not really interested, and just avoids her. 

But Mr Kitty is being mischievous and taunts her continually. He follows and stares at her, shows-off his freedom of movement in very slow motion while she is held back on the leash and makes sure to give her evil glances every so often, this gets her all tense and she tried to engage him in play or action but he just turns away and slowly walks away, which in turns drives the puppy completely wild. There has been no aggression so far, it’s a bit of a normal cat/dog show of dominance and showing each other what their place is and will be within the house and household, I’m confident that within a short while they will learn to co-habit and ignore each other in peace.

Staring contest with Mr Kitty

Very curious

Lily loves to be carried, I had better enjoy the puppy months before she gets too big.

Lily completely miserable during a practise car ride, she whined and cried as if she was getting murdered !

Moumousse made sure to take a quick nap right where the dog had slept on my bed. Just making sure he was still loved and had rights to the bed.