Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Visit to Florence

I wanted to share with my readers a few photos from our little trip to Florence. My dear maman came to watch the children, so my husband and I were able to escape a couple days for a well deserved holiday.

Florence is one of the most visited cities and Italy, and July might just be one of the warmest and busiest months. The first day we visited the Galleria Uffizi. A beautiful museum, and well worth waiting the 40 minutes in the line - despite our having arrived right around opening time.

We had planned on seeing as much as possible, but the long lines in the hot Italian sun did not appeal too much – So we explored on our own, rested then went out in the evening to see the Ponte Vecchio and eat Gelato.

The next day we took a long walk along the Viale Galileo, the sun was not too high yet and the view was beautiful.

There is so much to see in the historical center of Florence, statues, replicas, beautiful buildings, etc… but the best time is definitely early in the morning before the town comes alive with crowds of tourist, and crazy traffic. 

The evenings are lovely, a little cooler but with still a lot to see and experience. Our second evening we sat on the Ponte Vecchio, listening to a street musician while the sun set….no photos, some things just need to be experienced not documented !

The Duomo

Statue of Dante Alighieri

Even if you don't manage to see all the museums, there is plenty of art, and replicas to enjoy around town

Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is very crowded during the day, but early in the morning before the shop opens it's so charming with  the small gold sellers stalls all secured up with metal bars, padlocks and decorative iron works.

View from the Ponte Vecchio

View of Florence from the Viale Galileo

More views from the Viale Galileo

Ponte Vecchio to the left, and Palazzo Vecchio to the right

Piazzale Michelangelo

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Gamle Norge - R.T.Pritchett

Gamle Norge, 1879
‘Gamle Norge’ is an account written in the 1870’s by an English gentlemen who travelled in Norway to see and experience the ‘old ways’. 

Purposely avoiding spending too much time in the big cities he travelled through the countryside, visiting remote villages, glaciers, went reindeer hunting and often slept beneath the stars. 

My copy was printed in 1879, and was a lucky find in an old bookstore in Tønsberg.

The book is written in a charming and engaging manner, you feel the excitement of the traveller as he describes the peasants, their traditions, dwellings, and simple way of life. 

Much has changed in Norway, but one thing that will never change is the spirit of the traveller, and these lamentations written in the Victoria era still ring true today. 

“In these days of express trains, fish torpedoes going twenty knots an hour, telegrams, and instantaneous photographs, people will not give sufficient time to do anything with steady enjoyment. Skurry and scuttle are too prominent by far”

“..Still we made the best of it, and came to the conclusion that one of the charms of travel is the variety of situation; and then, after all, with pleasant companions, anything short of bad accidents is only the kind of thing which the true traveller must expect, and almost seeks.”


Original blog post from 2012:

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Goeggingen. Antique German cross stitch/embroidery patterns

I'm always on the look out for original, rare or beautiful needlework patterns. And about a month ago I acquired some cute little leaflets with simple, but sweet  designs. 

These were the first of that kind in my collection, so I did a little research to find out more. Most of the information online was in German, so with the help of translating apps I pieced together the story of the factory where those patterns came from. 

If anyone has any more information, or corrections please so let me know.

The story:
In 1855 Elsässer Eusebius Schiffmacher founded a twine company in Augsburg's old town, by  1860’s the business had grown  so much that the company relocated to Göggingen.

In the 1870’s it was renamed "Zwirnerei und Nähfadenfabrik Göggingen AG" (ZNFG),  and became one of the fourth largest textile company in the region, eventually focusing on the production of sewing threads.
1870 it provided employment for 178 workers.

As the company grew, so did the number of persons employed. The ZNFG company had the philosophy that they should care for their workers, they did so by building living quarters for their employees and their family, and in time built a kindergarten, school, bathing and washing house, and even a fire station. 

By 1912, the company had grown to 1481 workers. 

In the 1950’s the company had a merge, and became  "Ackermann Göggingen AG"

Slowly the factory was modernized, and with more merges, and take-overs the company is now part of the AMANN Group, and called"Ackermann Nähgarne GmbH &. Co. "


''I just love antique patterns, don't you ?''

Three leaflets from 1904

The three designs are from leaflet 5, 10 and 13
 The patterns are available here: Website, ETSY

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Highland hunter - Berlin woolwork chart for cross stitch, or needlepoint

Here are a few photos to show the process behind re-charting an original Berlin woolwork pattern.

I've been collecting antique needlework charts for nearly 10 years now, and am slowly working my way through my growing assortment, re-charting the designs and making them available as modern cross stitch patterns for the needlework enthusiasts. 

From the beginning I decided that despite the time consuming effort required for charting old patterns, and the high demands for originals I would keep the price of the re-charted patterns low. The motivation behind Roland-designs is to preserve our needlework heritage, by creating faithful replicas accessible to as many as possible. 

If I could find a sponsor who would cover the cost of production, I would be more than happy to offer the patterns free of charge. In time I would like to open a museum dedicated to needle art, with courses and workshops focused on keeping traditional needlework, fancy work, and all manner of skilled craft alive and relevant for future generations. 

Highland hunter - Original handpainted, Berlin woolwork pattern from the 1800's

I like to use the laptop, and sit by a sunny window when I choose the colors for new patterns. My present office lacks a bit natural light, and since I live in  Norway where there can be long periods of time with minimum sun  I tend to switch back and forth between my desktop and laptop.

Original Henrich Kuehn design. Signed patterns are really the best, as it gives you a bit more information regarding the company, person, or time period behing a pattern.

A little peek into how the pattern looks in black and white symbols, and colours with symbols.

Highland hunter is available here: website, etsy

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ung Husflid - Holmestrand

Norway's Husflidlag is an association founded in 1910 to preserve and promote traditional crafts, and culture.

They offer courses for children, and both my daughters have attended at some time the past couple years.

Last week Rosaline and I went to one of their evening meetings where the topic was specifically directed toward the children’s courses.  The children and teens got to display the items they made, and we had cake and coffee while a lady demonstrated  ideas, and techniques geared specifically toward younger crafters. 

In the room there was some very attractive woven pictures, I haven’t done much weaving apart for school projects when I was little and these looked so pretty that it is something I will just have to try one day….

Check out their website:

Beautiful woven picture

A little peak at the technique
Rosaline next to the display

This little bag has been used quite a bit. It's always nice when you send your child to a course, and they come back with something they can actually use.....