Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Friday, 13 July 2018

Old books

The most recent addition to my little library of old books.
 Dating from 1895 - 1903
Someone needs to champion the cause of old books ! Vintage, antiques, found in charity shops, attics, forgotten, over-looked, judged by their foxed pages, broken spines and outdated covers. 

In a decade that is dominated by the lures of the smart phone, and wifi  access we too often find ourselves engrossed with staring at our small pocket sized screens, so much so that it has been a long time since I’ve seen an article denouncing the television as the cause of damaged vision, impaired sleep and general time waste. 

My first love will remains the classics, but once in a while just for the joy of discovery I like to read turn of the century (1880’s - 1910) novels. They were written and published by the hundreds, and while many have not ended on the list of classics, nor made their authors rich they are still an interesting look into a time period that ended with the first world war. A time when virtue and manners where the main theme of children and youth literature, and when the world was changing at a speed that scared and intrigued the grown-ups of the time. 

These are found for practically nothing at flea markets and charity shops, they may not have much value per-se, but they make interesting reading.

I haven't read it yet, but I can safely assume that 'A gay charmer - A story for girls' will be a moral story.

Not all artwork of the time was serious, this is one of many fun illustrations in 'The surprising adventures of Baron Munchausen'.

Dedication in 'The Baron Munchausen' - " To Mortimer ( ? ) who easily outdoes the Baron in long shorts " From H. W. L

Since I was small I was taught that when I read a book I should highlight or mark interesting parts then later to transfer them to a notebook for future reading. This is a habit that has stayed with me since my youth, and I have many, many notebooks full of little odds-and-ends, poems, verses, songs and book reviews to show for it. The style has changed, my handwriting not so much, but despite the fact that my taste in literature has fluctuated some, each small book is still a treasured memory capsule of a time period in my life.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Old needlecase, with rare crochet hook - Free pattern

My dear sister Laura who lives in London is always finding treasures, and this time she presented me with a really special find.

She picked up in a charity shop a small version in English of the famous ‘Encyclopedia of needlework’ by Therese De Dillmont. This classic of needlework was available at the time in two format, and four languages.

Along with the little volume came a small leather and silk needlecase, the seller said it had come together and it would be nice to keep them together. Inside the needlecase was a few needles, one of them stamped ‘England’ and a small crochet hook.

The little crochet hook is dark, and has a simple pattern on the handle. It is rather small, and when I used it to crochet a little rosette ( see below for pattern ) I found it a little uncomfortable to use due to its size, but maybe it’s because I hold my crochet into the palm of my hand like a knife and not like a pencil as I have seen others do, especially in older photos. 

These items will go into my little display, and one day in my museum of needlework (Dream…. )

Thank you Laura !

Encyclopedia of needlework by Th. De Dillmont + vintage needlecase

Old leather and silk needlecase with some needles and a very small crochet hook

Old crochet, age un-known but around a 1.25 in size

Replica of a 1909 crochet rosette

Little rosette

Adapted from a 1909 pattern found in 'Irish crochet Technique and projects' by The Priscilla publishing Co

The rosette was worked with the old crochet hook ( approximately a 1.25 ) and DMC perle size 8

- Chain 8, join
- 2 sc, 1 picot (picot: Chain 3, slip into first chain). 3sc, 1 picot x 5. 1 sc, join
- Chain 8, sc into the 3rd sc between the picots x 6, join
- Petal: 2sc, 1dc, 7 tr, 1dc, 2sc
- Cut thread and weave in ends.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Small rose. Free cross stitch pattern - Part 4 Cross stitch and beads

For part 4 I decided to work the rose with seed beads, while stitching the leaves in cross stitch.
To be honest at first I made a mistake by using beads that were just too big, and did not sit properly when stitched tightly together on my 28 ct linen fabric. So I took it all apart, and used Mill Hill seed beads instead.

Mill Hill beads are perfect for adding a little dimension to your stitching, or for working a counted pattern in beads. They come in several sizes, from petit seed beads to larger beads.  If you are planning on adding just a couple beads to your project, the size might not matter too much but for larger areas you need to make sure that the beads take up the actual space of a cross stitch and not more, otherwise you will end up with a distorted embroidery.

I used Wonder Invisible thread for attaching the beads, it’s a bobbin I bought years ago and honestly you use so little of it that it last forever and well worth investing in. You can also use fine fishing wire, or a thread that matches the color of the background, but be aware that beads are heavy and in time can make the embroidery sag so using quality beading thread is recommended.

Rose worked in Mill Hill seed beads

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

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 cross stitch was stitched with 2 threads over two threads on 28 ct linen.
The free pattern can be downloaded here:
 PS: All recommendations are my own preference; I am not sponsored by Mill Hill or the creators of  Wonder Invisble Thread.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

WW 2 spoon found in an old farm house in the Norwegian forest

Like most people I have drawers full of odds and ends, and some items can go unnoticed for a long time.

Last week I opened one such drawer and an old spoon caught my eyes, it’s a little teaspoon that I had picked up from an abandoned farm house in the middle of a Norwegian forest in 1999. I kept it all these years, and it travelled with me back and forth from Norway to Brazil, then back again, later to the Baltics and back again. Eventually it got forgotten in my little vanity table drawer along with some stray hair pins, buttons and some old notebooks.

I had a few minutes to spare, so idly I googled the markings on the handle. It didn’t take long to learn that it was a British military issued WW 2 spoon, a model that would have been carried by soldiers in combat as part of their kit.

We know that the English had come to the rescue of the Norwegians during the war, so this would have belonged to a British soldier who was sent to Norway some 70 years ago. 

In 1999 I spent six months in Norway, staying with a family who would later become my in-laws (though that is another story). The summer months were lovely and I  ended up with time to spare, so  with a forest behind the house just waiting to be explored,  I often took the children out for long walks. We gave original names to the different places we saw, and even drew  a detailed map of our walking tours.

One day we got a little lost and came across a small clearing in the woods, in the center was an old and partially collapsed house. We went in and looked around, there were magazines from the 60’s, a funny old shoe, some trash and not much more of interest. I picked up this little spoon as a souvenir, and we walked back  home making up stories along the way about what happened there and why it had been abandoned. 

We all had quite a vivid imagination in those days, and had we known that we had found a WW2 item we would have had a lot more fun with the stories and hypothesis we came up with.

I think I would like to return to that old place, and if it is still standing to investigate a little more, maybe there is more to find ? 

Yes, I can locate the place again – but don’t ask….. I won’t tell. 

Original WW2 British army Fork. Makers name and war arrow

Photo of the old farm taken in the winter of 2000
Here is a shop that sells similar items with identical markings:,19396