Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Monday, 10 September 2018

Shades of Eire by drops designs - Part 2

And so I finished my knitted shawl this week, and am quite happy with the result. There was just enough dark wool to finish the project, and some white and medium brown.

The lace bit was easy enough, though I find diagrams a little hard to follow. Maybe it’s just me, but when I work a lace pattern I like to repeat in my head the order of stitches so I prefer written instructions versus diagrams. 

A little mistake in the picot edge was that the pattern did not tell you to pass the last K stitch on the right needle back onto the left needle before starting a new picot. 

The  pattern should read:
K first stitch, then slide it back onto the left needle.
Slip right needle between the two first stitches on the left needle, do a YO, pull it through and put it on the left needle, repeat x2 more times.
Now you have 3 new stitches on the left needle. Cast off 6 stitches, then place last stitch back on the left needle.
Repeat until you have no more stitches. Bind off.
Cast off – Knit two stitches then slip the first one over the last one.

Overall I like Drops wool for the fact that they are affordable, easy to get ahold of and often on sale. The quality is better than most cheaper yarn and there is a lot of colors to choose from in all the range. But as for Drops patterns, this is not the first time I use their patterns for knit/crochet and each time I find them a little frustrating to follow. I think they could be written in a clearer format, maybe simplified a little ? 

For example this pattern uses a lot the sentence ‘1 edge st in garter st’, when they could have simply said Knit or Purl.

All done ! Shades of Eire by Drops designs

So this is all the yarn that was left.... if I had worked the short rows I might not have had enough dark brown yarn.

Here you can see a little the size/length

Disclaimer: All recommendations or opinions are my own preference, and point of view; I am not sponsored or affiliated with Drops designs.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Cookie recipe from 1868

I’m working on re-charting some patterns from an 1868 French magazine called ‘La mode illustrĂ©e’, at the end of the weekly edition there are some recipes and I thought it would be fun to give them a try.

Typical of the time period the instructions are rather vague, and leave a bit to the discretion of the lady of the house and the cooking facilities she had. Most household still used wood burners which could be unpredictable, gas stoves would not make it into most homes before the 1880’s, but it would be another 40-50 years before electric stoves would become the centerpiece of the modern kitchen.

Here is the direct translation of the recipe:

 Tea cakes – 50 grams of nice flour, 50 grams of sugar, one egg, of which the white will be beat into snow. Grease a paper which you will put on a metal plaque, place the dough dumplings which you will have shaped as a circle or oval, cook it in the oven of stove or under a country oven.

So I gave it a try like this:

Makes 6 cookies

- Beat the white of the egg until stiff
- Cream 50g of sugar and the egg yolk
- Add 50 g of flour
- Fold in egg white
- Drop on cooking sheet and bake at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until the corners start to get brown)
- Cool on cooking rack and store in an airtight container.

I tried this recipe three times. In one batch added a little bit of vanilla sugar, while another I baked at 160 degrees for about 18-20 minutes; the results were the same as when I baked them at 180 degrees.

If you try this recipe or a variation let me know how yours turned out. 

Tea cakes (cookies) from an 1868 recipe

The original recipe - In French

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Shades of Eire by drops designs - Part 1

Shades of Eire

My latest knitting project is a three color shawl called ‘Shades of Eire’ by drops designs. I was attracted to the overall simple design, with the rows of lace at the bottom. 

But green being not exactly my color I decided to use more earthy tones, so replacing the green and olives alpaca yarn with:
0100 off white
2020 light camel mix
0607 light brown mix

When I looked over the pattern I was a little confused about the purl lines, turns out they are short rows not just a decorative change of stitch – I checked up online a little and found another blogger who said it gave the shawl a bit of a funny shape, something the original (and only photo) on the drops website did not show. So I decided to omit those short rows and simplified the pattern a little thus: 


Row 1-4 as indicated in original pattern = 9 stitches

Edge. Slip first stitch on each row.

Row 5. K1, YO, K1, YO, K until middle marker. YO, slide marker, K middle stitch, slide marker, YO, K until last 2 stitches. YO, K1, YO, K1 

Row 6. Purl all stitches

Color 1 - Rows 1 – 4. Then  15 repeats of pattern ( rows 5 + 6 )  = 99 stitches
Color 2 - 18 repeats of pattern ( rows 5 + 6 ) = 207 stitches
Color 3 - 18 repeats of pattern ( rows 5 + 6 ) = 315 stitches
Color 4 – Last row, now only in the solid dark color: K1, YO, K until middle marker. YO, slide marker, K middle stitch, slide marker, YO, K until last stitch. YO, K1 = 319 stitches ( 159 on each sides of the markers and 1 in the middle )

Now you can begin the lace pattern as indicated in the original design.

This simple increase works well for shawls and can be repeated at will to make a longer/larger shawl.

Drops Alpaca

Almost done with the easy part of the shawl, next the lace border

Disclaimer: All recommendations or opinions are my own preference, and point of view; I am not sponsored or affiliated with Drops designs.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Small rose. Free cross stitch pattern - Part 5 Stitching paper and half cross stitch

Continuing with the small rose challenge, I decided to try the pattern on perforated paper in half cross stitch.  I have a very small, and treasured stash of Tokens and trifles cards and the pattern was fortunately just the right size.

Tokens and trifles was a small company that offered the most amazing Victorian era inspired punch paper cards for embroidery; it was a great loss to the stitching community when they had to close in 2015. The founder of the company wrote a moving blog post explaining the difficulties small companies face with getting loans, and enough demand to stay open. Take this to heart, and try to support as much as possible small entrepreneurs, artisans and artists. As it is often said in the artists circles – If everyone who visited a gallery or market stand and admired the work of the artist bought even just one postcard each, that artist might be able to continue their work. How many beautiful contributions to the world we will never know of because an artist, or artisan was not able to support themselves by their craft ?

Well, back to the embroidery, have you ever stitched on paper ?  I think it’s quite nice and easy, but you do need to pay attention to not bend the paper, and of course you can’t wash the item so you must work with clean, and dry hands – something that has been difficult this summer due to the heat wave in Northern Europe, my hands were getting so warm and sweaty that I did not do any embroidery the whole months of July, instead I started a new knitting project – more on that later.

Small rose worked on stitching card in half cross stitch with one strand of embroidery floss

The back of the card

The front

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:
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During the holiday month I took the time to pull out all my boxes of embroidery patterns, samplers and other research materials then organize them once and for all! It is not a dream solution, but those cardboard boxes will have to do until I have a studio of my own for work and storage. 

Many of my patterns are in pretty good conditions for their age, but paper items that are over 100-150 years old need to be handled with care and stored away from moisture, dust, light and of course should not be stored under too much weight or touching anything plastic. The antique samplers even more so, as antique textile items require delicate handling, or best no touching at all. 

Sorted and labled ! These boxes contain my middle sized patterns and antique samplers, smaller items are in other boxes and the very large ones are actually stored at present under my bed !