Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Roland-designs news - November 2021


Preserving our needlework heritage

Dear friends of Roland-designs
I can’t believe we are already so far into the autumn; Christmas is just a little over a month away and I feel like this year has just passed by so quickly.

As I mentioned on Instagram I am now busy with study and a full time work (Montessori teacher), and though I do have to dedicate a good portion of my time to my day job I will continue to do reproductions of samplers and antique needlework, but will not be taking custom orders for the foreseeable future.

Tradition true, I have a new Christmas ornament design for you, and as it often goes the yearly ornament is themed after a recent project, so naturally for 2021 it had to be a needle roll.

The pattern is available as a free download on the site, and there is a detailed tutorial with lots of photos on the blog. This is the 14th free Christmas ornament/pattern and I hope that you will enjoy stitching some of the other designs too, there is something for everyone as they cover a variety of techniques and difficulty levels.

Along with the Christmas ornament, I also have a new Norwegian sampler reproduction and a geometrical design (both available on the site, and ETSY)

I want to say a special ‘Thank you!’ to everyone who has been using the #rolanddesigns tag on social media, it is so much fun to see the different ways you have stitched the Roland-designs patterns. So much creativity, and of course, every time you stitch one of these old designs you are keeping our needlework tradition alive.
I want to finish this little newsletter by wishing you all a wonderful end of the year, Merry Christmas and a blessed, happy New Year!

With care,
Virginie Lykins

Christmas ornament 2021
Tutorial + download link here:

Inga Kristensen's sampler

148 x 142 stitches
Available on the website, and ETSY.

Wilk's tapestry

This elegant embroidery pattern is charted from an original print published by J. Wilks, dated May 8th, 1857.

Design Area: 63 stitches deep
Available on the website, and ETSY.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Christmas ornament 2021


The free Christmas ornament pattern for 2021 is a sweet little needleroll.

The pattern is available as a free PDF download here:

This is a pretty little stitched ornament that is perfect for using up leftover linen scraps and those variegated thread I know each of us stitchers have tucked away in our stash, waiting for just that one  ‘perfect’ project.

For the roll shown in the photos I used 28 ct linen, and about one skein of DMC coloris 4519. If you are using 28 ct linen I would suggest having a piece that is at least 18 x 12 cm. For stitching up I used a thin crochet thread (100% mercerized cotton), you’ll want to use a good, sturdy thread for the stitching up as there is a little bit of tension on the linen when you fill the roll with polyester stuffing.

Start by stitching the cross-stitch design, then from the sides count 5 stitches (10 threads) and pull out 2x thread. Now count 10 stiches (20 threads) and cut, finish off by unravelling about 4 threads.

Trim your embroidery to about 0.8cm/1cm, fold and start sewing by weaving your needle between 2x threads – see photo.

I started stitching from the middle as this gave me the chance to finish off the ends the way I wanted, but you can stitch it up as you prefer; take extra time on the ends as this is what will give your ornament a nice, strong finishing touch.

Stuff your little roll, and finish it off with a nice ribbon, or yarn. 


Stiching is finished, threads are pulled in the center, now unravel 4 threads on each sides


Close up of how the sides are stitched together


I stitched a little 'extra support' at the end of the roll to make sure the ends are strong and secure

Saturday, 7 August 2021

Roland-designs news - August 2021


Preserving our needlework heritage

Dear friends of Roland-designs
I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful summer holiday.

This is the second summer that we have had to be tourist in our own country, and despite the fact that I missed being able to visit my family in France, it has also given us the opportunity to explore, discover and enjoy the beautiful nature we have right here where we live.

The holiday has also given me the chance to finish up a couple projects, one of which was the needleroll I talked about in the May newsletter. Needlerolls are quite simply a decorative pin cushion, you can make them out of anything, small projects (those freebies that come with cross stitch magazines), little embroideries you aren’t going to frame, or as a way to use up leftover pieces of linen or aida.

You can find a  detailed tutorial on the blog: Needleroll

I also took the time to make a small video where I discuss the four main reasons why I personally love, and collect samplers.These are my four reasons, but maybe you have different ones and I would love to hear about them. You can comment directly on YouTube,  or send me an email at:

And while we are on the subject of samplers, I am proud to announce that I have a new reproduction for you, this time it’s a German sampler stitched in 1895.
Within the coming weeks it will be back to work and school for us in Norway, and with it comes that time of year when I design and prepare the yearly Christmas ornament. I have a couple ideas and haven’t decide yet…. So, if you have a preference or idea, do take contact and let me know.
Wishing you all a wonderful month of August.
With care
Virginie Lykins

Free pattern and tutorial available here:

Bertha Richter Oltern sampler

146 x 145 stitches
Available on the website, ETSY and Markerist.

About a month ago the Roland-designs website changed server, and while most of the site was unaffected, some features have changed or gone out of synch. I will be slowly working my way through the website, combing it for errors and updating it. Please let me know if you experience any problems, with the site or it’s content.

Friday, 9 July 2021


Simple needleroll

A needleroll is really quite simply a decorative pin-cushion. They are a great way to use up those little embroidery projects that you won’t come around to framing, they make great gifts, and can be stitched and used as prize for charity or fund-raising lotteries.

Any small embroidery project can be made into a needleroll, there are no rules, so you can get quite creative with them. Here is my version of a needleroll with antique hemstitch sides, if you don’t want to do the hemstitch you can simply fray the linen, it will still be just as sweet and attractive.

What makes needlerolls so dainty is the finishing touches, I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time for the stitching together. The needleroll must be stuffed quite firmly to get the nice, sausage shape, so make sure to stitch tight and with a good strong thread in order to avoid it falling apart at the seam later on.

After stitching the cross-stitch pattern, I trimmed the linen to about 4 – 5 centimetres. Linen unravels easily, so I wanted plenty of extra fabric while I worked the hemstitch border.

-          From the pattern count 20 threads and pull 2 threads (or as many as needed to accommodate the size of your ribbon)

-         - Count 20 threads again, and this time pull 3 threads.

-         - Count 10 threads, and pull 1 thread.

Again, this was my personal preference since I had a small piece of linen, you can make the sides longer if you wish.

-      - Fold on the place where you pulled the single thread, you decide how long the edge will be, then trim the fabric leaving enough to have it folded inward too. If you find linen is hard to fold over, you can iron it in place.

-     - You can hem the sides at the same time as you work the hemstitch, or hem it with small invisible stitches, then work the decorative hemstitch.

-       - Work the hemstitch on both sides.

-       -  Now, trim carefully your embroidery to about 1.5 – 2 cm on the top and bottom.

-       - Run a zig-zag stitch along the top and bottom with your sewing machine, or work a quick blanket stitch as I did. This will hold the linen fabric in place and keep it from unravelling.

-       - Fold over and stitch your needleroll together with a solid thread. I used the same mercerised cotton I had used for the hemstitch.

Here you can either turn it inside out and stitch it, then turn it right side up. Or you can fold it over on the right side and carefully stitch it together like I did  - See photo.

A small tip: I sewed it from the middle toward the sides in order to finish off on the sides, this gave me the chance to give a bit more attention to the ends of the needleroll.

-       -Very carefully finish off the ends of the needleroll, invest a few extra minutes and concentrate well to make the ends neat, tidy and sturdy. You can always cheat a little and add a dab of glue to hold the little threads in place.

-     - Now the fun part! Run the ribbon of your choice between the threads where you pulled 2 threads, tighten one end, fill your needleroll with polyester fill, make it nice and compact in order to get a good cylinder, sausage shape. Tighten the other ribbon, make a nice little bow, trim excess ribbon if needed.

Your needleroll is finished !

One side done, and the other showing the pulled threads

Fold over the last pulled thread, trim and tuck the frabric ends before beginning on the hemstitch. You can iron the fold in place, or use pins.

Antique hemstitch over three threads. Step 1

Step 2

When you are done with the hemstitch, trim your embroidery to about 1.5 cm. You can do a quick blanket stitch around the sides to hold the linen in place, or use a sewing machine and zig-zag stitch.

I chose to simply stitch it along the sides, but you can just as well turn the needleroll inside out to stitch it together, then turn it right side out again. Use a good strong thread, like the one you used for the hemstitch.

This is where you have to pay attention and put in the extra minute or two. Here you can see how I finished off the sides of the needleroll, by carefully stitching the hems with invisible stitches. If you are scared it will enravel, you can always add a small drop of glue on the inside... no one will know.

Weave a thin ribbon on the first row of pulled stitches, then stuff with polyester fill. Tighten and finish with a neat bow.


The pattern in colour + black and white is available for free here: Free patterns

Here is a small film showing how I work the antique hemstitch, remember there is nothing wrong with stitching it over 2, 3 or more threads. I'm right handed so I work from left to right, if you are left handed you will get the same result if you stitch it from right to left.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Bertha Richter Oltern sampler

Bertha Richter Oltern sampler

I think this is the first German sampler I’ve ever charted, and what a neat little treasure it is. Dated 1895, and signed Bertha Richter Oltern, it is stitched in vivid blue and red cotton on Penelope canvas, hand hemmed on the top and bottom, neat and tidy with hardly a mistake; for a school sampler the stitching is exemplary!


The backside of the sampler is perfectly neat

Bertha and Richter being very common names I was unable to find any information about the girl who stitched the sampler.

One interesting detail about the sampler is how it is stitched on a canvas that has a reddish (pink) outline. The stitching is precisely worked between the outline with 2x free spaces on all sides. This makes me wonder if the sampler was stitched after a pattern or designed to fit the canvas by the student?

Bertha did not write her age, but the neatness and precision of the stitching leads me to presume that she was perhaps a little older, possibly more than 10 years old.

The sampler is in very good condition for its age, with just a little missing yarn on the lower left-hand side.



Design Area: 146 x 145 stitches

If stitched on 28 ct linen/ 14 ct aida the pattern will measure :

10,43" x 10,36" / 26,4 x 26,3 cm

The pattern is available here: ETSY, Website, Makerist


#rolanddesigns #bertharichterolternsampler