Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Sunday 14 July 2024

Mud season - Pattern review

After a failed knitting project (too big, too loose) I decided that I needed to build up my self-confidence again by knitting a simple, straight forward and fail proof design. One of my favorite designers is Elizabeth Smith. Her patterns are not only very well written, but she also offers a lot of support in the form of tips and tutorials. I had seen a pattern on her Instagram page that looked interesting and settled on giving it a try.

I felt a little wasteful after I had to give-up on my last project, but not wanting to knit with acrylic I did buy 100% wool yarn, but from a more ‘affordable’ brand.

Arctic Fritidsgarn by Trysil for the Europris was quite nice to work with, no issues with knots or cuts in the yarn, good tension, and as a bonus, Europris members get discounts on wool, so overall a good experience. How it will hold out in the long run is yet to be seen and I will update this blog post once I have worn the sweater for a certain amount of time.

I used less than four months to knit the sweater, but since I don’t knit every day, it is a little hard to say exactly how long it took. The pattern was very easy to follow, and the only thing I did differently was that I used a half size smaller knitting needles then the ones recommended. 5.5 mm for the 6 mm, and 5.00 mm for the 5.5 mm. I knitted the sweater with the waist shaping and despite having bought enough wool for long sleeves, I ended up knitting the short sleeve version.

I knitted the sweater in size medium, used about 8 balls of yarn, in the color taupe – 117

All that was left from the 8 balls of yarn

The fit: 

The sweater is compact, warm, and comfortable. The waist shaping is nice, but not mandatory for a successful fit. The short sleeves on such a chunky sweater are an interesting feature, but I think it might make the sweater more practical. I freeze easily in the winter, but I am also very active and long sleeves do get in my way.  The fact that it was easy and affordable to knit means that I can use it with a good conscience both at work (I work in a school) and around the house while doing chores. 







Sunday 5 May 2024

'Help me to help myself' - Free pattern


A little pattern with a well-known maxim that sums up the essence of the Montessori method.

“We can sum this up in two sentences; the first actually said by a child to his teacher: ‘Help me to do it by myself’. The other is one we gave: ‘Every useless help is an obstacle to development.”

Maria Montessori - Citizen of the World


Sunday 24 March 2024

Book review: Wartime pilgrimage by H.L. Gee

I love reading, always have, and always will, but I fear that reading physical books is becoming more and more obsolete! We swipe, scroll, and skim content. We listen to audio books, and podcasts, and go with the minimalist ideal that we should not own too many books. After all, they just collect dust, their production is not eco-friendly and you can listen to the audio version as many times as you want.

All these are valid arguments, but we must not forget the benefits of holding a book in your hands. The most obvious being the hand-eye-brain coordination that happens when you hold and read a book, not only do you concentrate better on the content, but it also supports the upkeep of your language skills. And although I do regularly listen to audio books, especially when I am taking my dog on her daily walks, in all honesty I still prefer reading from physical books.

For a while now I have considered sharing my own book ratings on the blog, it would be my personal way to honor paper editions, and maybe it will encourage others to also make time for more reading in their own lives. 

So here is my first review:

Wartime pilgrimage         ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️                                                                 

By H.L. Gee

The Epworth press – 1943


The author takes a small vacation/pilgrimage in the English countryside during the second world war, there he meets and interacts with a variety of people.

A short, simple narrative, but with a healthy dose of good, old fashion positivity and a Godly attitude during a difficult time.

Here is a small excerpt from the book.

The author is talking to an old man outside the bombed ruins of his childhood church.

“….His fine old face, lined with care, showed something of the hard struggle he had had, but the steady eyes were those of a man who in good times and bad had tried to run the straight race…… ‘I’m an old man,’ he said at last. ‘I’ve seen all sorts of winters in my time, some hard, some mild. But whatever the weather had been, I’ve never known a springtime without snowdrops.’

…..’And perhaps, after all, God is using Hitler to shake us into a new realization of the truth; and it may be that by smashing some of the secondary things which perhaps we have come to value too highly, Hitler is helping to put first things first.’



My 5 criteria for rating books 

1. Did I read it from cover to cover?

2. Would I recommend it, or give a copy to others?

3. Will it become a part of my permanent library? (Buy my own copy, a hardback version, or would read again?)

4. Is it well written?  

5. Did I personally enjoy it?






Sunday 24 September 2023

Christmas ornament 2023

About a year ago I made a note to myself to use a specific Christmas themed design from my Alpursa vignette album for my next ornament. The pattern is rather small and simple, so I knew it needed a little something more, and I tinkered with the idea of stitching it in tent stitch on canvas, but after a couple tries decided against it.


Hardanger is just so lovely for small, decorative items, and a blanket stitch edge is a nice finishing option. I gave it a couple of tries, then settled for this design.


I stitched my ornament on a small piece of  28ct linen, and with threads I had in my stash - Small ornaments are a great way to use up leftovers. It is also possible to stitch the Christmas tree motif alone, or to work it in Assisi. 


Have fun being creative!


The pattern in PDF format is available as an instant download here:


For photos of the Alpursa album see this blog post:


Video of the album on You Tube:


Roland-designs Christmas ornament 2023

If you stitch one of my patterns, and share a photo on social media, you can tag your work with #rolanddesigns

Sunday 13 August 2023

Quick and easy pita bread

While there are lots of recipes out there, the criteria I use for making it on my blog is that the recipe must be very simple, and only use ingredients which are easily available.

After trying several different pita bread recipes, I settled on this one for the simple reason that it was so quick and easy to make. 

Super easy pita breads


Pita bread


(Makes x6)


25 g yeast

2 dl lukewarm water

1 ss oil

1 ss sugar

½ ts salt

5 dl flour


-       Melt the yeast in the lukewarm water + sugar.

-       Add the oil, then mix in the flour and salt.

-       Knead the dough, then cover, and let rise until double in size.

-       Preheat oven to 250°

-       Divide the dough in six and form into balls, cover and let rest 5-10 minutes.

-       Flatten the balls with your hands until they are about 1/2 cm thick.

-       Bake immediately in the hot oven. They bake fast, about 5-8 minutes, and are ready when they have puffed up evenly and are slightly brown on the top.

-       Let the pitas cool on a rack and serve. They are best served fresh.


Sunday 23 July 2023

Signing your work

When I was a young girl, I had a teacher who told me to always date and sign all my school papers. At the time I didn’t understand fully what he meant, but now that I have lived a good four decades, I have come to realize that I do not always remember when I wrote, (or created) something and this is when the wisdom of my old teacher comes back to memory. You date your papers so that you remember when you wrote them, and you sign them to confirm that it was you who wrote it.


Now this should also apply to items you create, draw, paint or sew. Naturally it is easier to sign a piece of paper than an item, but signing and dating it can make all the difference later, and if nothing else, it will help you keep track of the evolution of your skill.


Earlier on this summer I took a little trip to Scotland to visit my sister, my plane arrived at Aberdeen and there we passed by a little charity book shop where I found a few small treasures including a vintage embroidery book by Mary Thomas.


Inside the book there is a section for ‘Technical and miscellaneous hints’, and to my pleasant surprise I saw a paragraph that expressed beautifully what I have said regarding the importance of signing and dating your embroidery projects.


    “The old custom of signing and dating any elaborate piece of embroidery, with the idea that it should last, has now happily been revived. A signature may seem of no particular consequence to the worker, but it adds greatly to the personal charm and interest of the work, which later may be handed down with pride from generation to generation.”

Mary Thomas 1936

Here I am showing the rose sampler


Details of how I signed my roses project

Close up of the signature on Mine Sampler

Mini sampler on ETSY: Mini Sampler

Free rose pattern on the blog with link to the different parts of the serie:  Small rose

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Easy egg noodle salad

During the summer months when the weather is warm, I try to avoid spending too much time in the kitchen, and for this reason I have several quick-&-easy, use-up-what-is-in-your-fridge recipes that I revisit year after year.

Here is one that I have used often, I think I found it originally in one of those free advertisement recipes from the grocery story, but I have adapted it a bit and generally use it very loosely, more like a suggestion, since I like to use up leftover vegetables from the fridge when I make salads.


Simple,  and summery egg noodle salad


Easy egg noodle salad


400g minced chicken (or pork)

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 red chili – minced

250 g egg noodles

½ cucumber (or 1 sweet red pepper)

2 spring onions

1 celery stick

Fresh coriander



2 tbs sesame seed oil

1 tbs sriracha sauce (or another spicy/chili sauce)

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbs soya sauce


-       Fry meat until done. Add the garlic and chili, fry a minute more, then season with salt and pepper.

-       Cook noodles, then rinse in cold water.

-       Slice all the vegetables very thin.

-       Mix the dressing together.

-       Mix all together and serve