Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Sunday, 18 September 2022

M.E. Sampler + Free pattern


M.E. Sampler

This colorful sampler is worked mostly in cross stitch, but with some motifs in double cross stitch, and a long cross stitch basket (?) under the main initial. It is undated, though most probably dating from the second half of the 1800’s.

Along with the classic uppercase, and lowercase alphabet and numerals, the sampler also has four decorative border strips and several little motifs which could be used for other projects too. Note the large, yellow bee (bumblebee)

I named it the M.E. sampler, because those were the prominent initials. One more reason to date and sign your needlework, imagine a collector finding your piece a hundred years from now and trying to figure out the date it was made and by whom.

With little fading, the back and the front has just as crisp colors


The pattern is available on ETSY, and the website.


Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Free pattern - A little rooster from the Alpursa collection

Here is a little cross stitch pattern for you from a vintage Alpursa vignette design.

I did not include a color code, as it uses so little threads that it is best to make use of those you already have in your stash. 


Here I've added the little rooster to my spot sampler


Other blog posts about the Alpursa album:

YouTube video where you get to see the complete album:


The Alpursa box and The soldier is available here:

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Four small Norwegian school samplers

The four samplers

As a collector at times, you come across similar, though not entirely identical items, this is the case with four small school samplers I recently acquired. Two of them were stitched eleven years apart by girls sharing a similar last name (Stavern), the other two are practically identical, but were worked four years apart at two different schools.

This makes me wonder if this was the standard form for school samplers of the time, or if the teacher was the same for both young girls, and as for the two near identical samplers, if there also it was the case of the same teacher relocating to a different school? These theories make for some fun speculations.

The samplers are very simple, just an alphabet in different stitches, and a set of numerals. The letter J is missing in three of the samplers, but Helen’s 1905 sampler has both the J, an extra half alphabet in Algerian eye and no numerals, all samplers have the letters Æ, Ø.

The cross stitch and Algerian eyes are stitched in red, the straight Gobelin stitches are white, blue or yellow.  Three of the samplers have a simple blanket stitch around the edge, the last one is stitched within the woven frame of the cloth.

If you want to try your hand at a stitching a historical sampler reproduction, these would make the perfect project. Simple, but with three different stitch types, plus the blanket stitch edge.

Another possibility is to select your favorite version of the alphabet and numerals and create your own sampler, using the colors of your choice. Because of the specialty stitches the samplers must be stitched on an evenweave fabric; look closely at the details photos for ideas of which material to use. 

The samplers are available as a set of 4x here: ETSY, Website

Close up of the details - Note the neat blanket stitch

Close up of the details

The 'Stavern' samplers

Sunday, 3 July 2022

"Sleep well dear guest." - Free pattern

Vintage cross stitched poem


Imagine being invited to spend the night in a simple, but comfortable guest room, antique furniture, some well read books, and on the night stand an old jug filled with freshly picked wild flowers. Hanging on one of the walls is a framed cross stitch embroidery, stitched in colorful wool on a now faded evenweave, it features a serene, peaceful poem……

I don’t know where this vintage embroidery came from, and whether or not it was ever hanging on the wall of a guest room, but I do believe it was at one time framed. I cannot date it exactly, but it came together with another, very similar embroidery featuring the hymn ‘If we could see beyond today’ written by Norman J. Clayton and published in 1931, this leads me to presume that it was stitched sometime after that date, and would thus be a vintage and not an antique embroidery.

A little research let me to find the author of the poem, it was written by Ellen Maria Huntington Gates (1835-1920). It seems our stitcher changed some of the words, as most of the examples I found had a slightly different wording. 


Sleep Sweet

by Ellen M. Huntington Gates

Sleep sweet within this quiet room,
O thou, whoe'er thou art,
And let no mournful yesterdays
Disturb thy peaceful heart.

Nor let tomorrow mar thy rest
With dreams of coming ill:
Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,
His love surrounds thee still.

Forget thyself and all the world,
Put out each garish light:
The stars are shining overhead —
Sleep sweet! Good night! Good night!


Courtesy of the poetry nook -


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

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