Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Fingerless mitts - Ravelry pattern review

We got a puppy in the spring of 2019, so I am outside on short and longer walks several times a day. Lily is still in the learning process and she pulls on the retractable leash at times, which I found awkward to control with gloved fingers. I looked around for some fingerless mitts and even purchased a couple cute ones, but they were made with thin acrylic yarn and after a couple use they started to lose their shape. I use my hands a lot and have a problem with dry and crackly skin, beside I have Raynaud’s syndrome so I try to use 100% wool gloves as much as possible. The only solution in that case is to knit your own!

I looked around Pinterest; lot’s of amazing and gorgeous ideas, but what I was aiming for was something quick and easy, which would also use up some of the yarn in the big leftovers yarn basket. I turned to Ravelry and found two patterns I liked, saved them in favourites and took a look at the reviews and material required. I settled for the Easy fingerless mitts pattern by Maggie Smith, I had two balls of yarn that would match the gauge but not the right sized needles. I almost went to the shop to buy them, then decided against it.  A stash buster project should not involve a purchase, so instead I used a size smaller needles and knitted the pattern a size bigger – L instead of M.

This made the mitts a little more compact, they fit well and are very comfortable since they cover my hand, but leave the thumb free for controlling the retractable dog leash.

Quick and easy, the project was finished in just a couple evenings. Yes, I would definitely recommend it !

Pattern is free and available here:  Easy Fingerless mitts by Maggie Smith

I knitted the top a little longer, just personal preference.

Fingerless mitts

Disclaimer: All recommendations or opinions are my own preference, and point of view; I am not sponsored or affiliated with the designer, nor Ravelry.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

White chocolate cheese cake

Everyone loves cheese cake; this festive version is the result of several years experimenting and combining recipes to achieve a white chocolate cheese cake that holds its shape and is not overpoweringly sweet.

It all started with a beautiful photo in a cooking magazine, unfortunately the cake was too heavy with  300 g white chocolate it tasted too much like a mix of chocolate and mascarpone, beside it didn’t hold its shape and looked messy when sliced. The next recipe was picked up in one of those free grocery shop leaflets, with Philadelphia cheese and Amarula the cake was nice; but again, too soft and just fell apart when served.

I experimented with adding a sheet of gelatin, then combining the recipes together by reducing the white chocolate, and using only mascarpone. The result was very, very good !

I would have loved to take a better photo, but unfortunately it was eaten up too quickly.

Try it and tell me what you think.


White chocolate cheese cake
( 8 portions )

-          50 g butter
-          150 g Digestives cookies
-          1 ½  dl cream
-          100 g white chocolate
-          500 g mascarpone (room temperature)
-          1 sheet gelatin
-          1 dl icing sugar
-          0,8 dl Amarula cream

- Line a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper.
- Melt butter, crush cookies and mix together. Press mixture into the  tin and place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the cake.
- Soak gelatin for 5 mn in cold water.
- Warm up (don’t boil) the cream, press water out of the gelatin sheet and add to the cream, mix well.
- Take off the heat and add white chocolate.
- When the chocolate is melted, add the rest of the ingredients and pour into tin.
- The cake needs several hours to set, or best overnight.
- Decorate before serving.
- This cake can be made in advance and frozen for up to 2 months.
- Mascarpone can be replaced with another type of white, neutral cream cheese.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Handmade Christmas ornaments - Free patterns

Handmade Christmas ornaments make wonderful gifts for family and friends; they are also popular for charity sales, or raffles (lotteries). 

The perfect way to use up leftover threads and aida/linens, ornaments are easy to adapt to your stash since you need only small amounts of supplies to create them. 

Since 2008 I’ve been designing a small seasonal ornament or motif for Roland-designs, the patterns are varied and include everything from cross stitch to tatting, hemstitch, petit point, Hardanger, beads and more. I try to come up with original ideas, all the while keeping it relatively simple enough so you can be finished in a couple of evening at the most. 

I’m always thrilled to see photos of your embroidery so be sure to send me an email or use the #rolanddesigns tag when showing your work on social media.

The patterns are available as instant download PDF files on the website: Free Christmas patterns

Some of my Christmas ornaments, I wish I still had all of them but some have gone on to new homes.

The 2019 Christmas ornament includes cross stitch, hemstitch and a blanket stitch edge.

In the PDF for the 2019 ornament you will find lots of detailed photos, and clear instructions.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The first book of "Hows"

The first book of  'Hows'

This most interesting little needlework booklet came into my possession, due to the tattered condition it was in, and the fact that it was meant as a self-teaching manual for children I presume it must be a rather rare copy.

It is a rather fascinating peek into what was considered important and basic skills which every girl should learn at the turn of last century.

Button holes, turning a Dutch heel, cross stitch embroidery, basic tailoring, and more.

The booklet is in a very poor state, and my scanner is not much better, so I’m offering the scan of the booklet for just a small contribution fee.

I hope you will find it useful both as an historical educational document, but also as a way to maybe go back to the basics of traditional sewing.

The scan is available here: The first book of Hows - ETSY 

The booklet was tucked inside another cover, with a simple brown cloth cover.

I'm interested in knowing what those 'Frames and boards' were like ?

Note the 'Teacher's note'.