Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

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




Sunday, 9 May 2021

Roland-designs news - May 2021


Preserving our needlework heritage

Dear friends of Roland-designs

It’s spring and with it comes the spring showers! I won’t complain as the ground does need a good watering, so I’ll use this rainy Sunday to send you the latest news from Roland-designs.
The past couple months I have worked on charting samplers from 1803 to 1859, the little girl who stitched the earliest sampler would have been born around 1795 – Just thinking about it and touching the fabric and threads she touched makes me feel linked in a way to our distant past. Time passed and since then we have improved our lives in so many ways, yet we still share the same interest and skills for needlework. I hope that in stitching reproductions of these samplers you will also feel a connection with our humanity and heritage.
We are still living in very uncertain times, but we won’t let that stop us from enjoying the moment and indulging in lots of creative pursuits. At present I am working on something I had never stitched before – a needleroll. I made a mock-up and have now started on the stitching; it will be a free pattern and I’ll announce on my social media when it is available.
If you have any thoughts on samplers, antique samplers, and stitching of reproductions I would love to hear from you. You can write me directly at:
Have a wonderful Sunday.
With care
Virginie Lykins

Ann Blanchard sampler 1803
Eliza Islip sampler 1853
Mary Ann Batty sampler 1859
The samplers are available on the website and ETSY

An updated version of this pattern is available on ETSY and the website.

You can also read about my original blog post about the pattern here: