Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

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

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Fixing knitting mistakes - Missed a detail in Fair Isle style pattern

This is what happens when you knit in the evening, tired from the days work and watch TV at the same time, you miss out on details.

I knitted this vest for my Papa in the famous Norwegian pattern - Marius. It's knitted in Fair Isle style, and the pattern is not too complicated, but I managed to mix it up several times. OK, that was not the worst, as long as I made all sides the same. But by the time I was finished with the whole project, had sewn it, and worked the arm holes, and neck.....only then did I notice I had missed out on a tiny little detail.

Thankfully the mistake was small, and I was able to 'embroider' the missing blue details. 

Next project, I will certainly pay more attention !

Not a huge mistakes, but for perfectionists this will never do.

Adding the missing details was quickly and easy.

''There, all done. Hope no one notices..... ''

And the finished project.... hope it fits.

Friday, 27 January 2017

''The Bayeux tapestry'', book by Carola Hicks

Picked up at a museum gift shop in Oslo years ago, this reproduction panel is adapted from panel 37-38. William in his ship, crossing the English channel. The one with   the cross flag on the mast was a gift from his wife Matilda.

I’ve been spending the better part of many evenings reading the late Carola Hicks fascinating book on the famous Bayeux tapestry.

It begins by coverings the expected essentials, such as details about the technique used, the wool,  the cloth, the history  it portrays, and the speculations regarding ‘who actually stitched it’. But then the fun begins, as the book takes you through a chronological tale of the persons and events who made this unique, yet unpretentious medieval embroidery world famous.

The Bayeux tapestry is not actually a tapestry, but an embroidery. Stitched with wool on linen, it measures 70 meters and tells the story of the Norman conquest of England, and ending with the battle of Hasting. It is traditionally accredited to the skilled hands of queen Matilda, the wife of William the conqueror….. but no one will ever know for sure. 

After visiting Le Louvre in Paris and seeing amazing, huge, and intricate medieval era tapestry, the Bayeux embroidery in comparison is humble, and simple in its technique. So much so, that in 1885 a group of 37 ladies from the Leek  school of art embroidery did a faithful reproduction of the entire tapestry in just a years’ time.

The art in itself is plain, na├»ve in part, perhaps even grotesque.  But it’s fascination factor stems from its uniqueness, the mystery surrounding the time and purpose for its creation, and its survival through centuries of revolts, revolutions, wars, bombing, greed and neglect.

A visit to Bayeux, is on my list of ‘places to visit’….. And I promise that I will not cut off a piece as a souvenir, such as Charles Stothard did in 1816 when he was sent to France by the society of antiquaries with the assignment of making coloured drawings of the tapestry for their publication Vetusta Monumenta.  His poor wife got the blame for the act of vandalism, but was eventually cleared of all suspicions in her later years.

Here is my version of Carola Hicks 'The Bayeux tapestry', by the Folio society. I would recommend this book as it has a full reproduction of the tapestry with commentary at the end of the book, which you find yourself referring to as you read through the story of the tapestry.

Artist interpretation of queen Matilda and her ladies stitching the tapestry.

Disclaimer: I love Folio Society books, but am not affiliated with the company. The opinions and recommendations in this blog reflect my personal preference.


Here you will find a reproduction of an early French Lacis pattern for three panels of the tapestry. The pattern is monochrome, which makes it perfect for not just cross stitch but also other counted crafts such as: mosaic, beads, filet crochet, knitting, tapestry, or tent stitch on canvas.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

'The saints sweet home', antique sampler

I would like to share with you a recent addition to my (ever growing) collection of antique samplers. This one is very fragile, with the rough linen just about threadbare in places. It feature predominantly the Hymn by David Denham  (1791-1841)

Above is a simple alphabet, upper/lower cases and numerals, and a little man who is holding a shepherds staff.

On the lower part of the sampler are traditional motifs, fruit baskets, flowers in a vase, lions, deer and birds. 

The sampler is not dated, nor signed but dates most certainly from the middle of the 1800’s. The work is not particularly neat, the cross stitch point in every direction, but I doubt it was worked by a young child due to the very fine cross stitch done over one thread for the words of the hymn.

The saints sweet home

Mid scenes of confusion and creature complaints

How sweet to my soul is communion with saints

To find at the banquet of mercy there room

And feel with the presence of Jesus at Home

Sweet bonds that unite all the children of peace

And thrice precious Jesus whose love cannot cease

Though oft from thy presence in sadness I roam

I long to behold thee in glory at home

I sigh from this body of sin to be free

Which hinders my joy and communion with thee

Though now my temptations like billows may foam

All will be peace when I’m with thee at Home

While here in the valley of conflict I stay

Oh give me submission and strength as my day

In all my afflictions to thee would I come

Rejoicing in hope of my glorious Home

Whate’er thou deniest, O give me thy grace

The spirits sure witness and smiles of thy face

Indulge me with patience to wait at thy throne

And find even now a sweet foretaste of home

I long dearest Lord in thy beauties to shine

No more as an exile in sorrow to pine

And in thy fair image arise from the tomb

With glorified millions to praise thee at Home

Details of the shepherd
Classic sampler motifs
A little lion
The Hymn is stitched over 1 thread

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Coloris by DMC

Full range of Coloris threads by DMC

I recently was asked by DMC’s US Product Development office if I wanted to design a cross stitch pattern for them using their new Coloris threads. 

Anyone who knows me is aware that I basically only use DMC threads, apart for when I want to stitch with silk…  which sadly DMC does not have. ( Dream… a full range of silk embroidery floss, that match their classic colour range )

Coloris is very different from the regular variegated embroidery floss, in that it is not limited to a variety of tones from the same colour, it’s made up of four different, yet complimentary colours.  The change is also quite rapid, about every 5-7 stitches you have new colour starting. This makes for quite a dramatic, fun or colourful effect, depending on the colour chosen. 

I received a complimentary set of the 24 different colors, and a piece of white DMC Monaco cotton evenweave, which I  will be using  for the original design plan...   

Coloris is a range of embroidery floss that I would recommend for adding 'interest' to a cross stitch project, or for monochrome patterns... but best of all, I think they are perfect for a modern take on traditional samplers..... the embroidery floss have given me a little idea, and in the near futur I will be sharing a CSA (Cross Stitch Along) with you all. 

For more information about Coloris:

Princess doing a 'quality' check of my new embroidery floss
Softer colors
Bolder colors....
My personal favorites

It’s a little hard to choose favorites, as each embroidery floss is perfects in its own place and usage, but if I had to choose these would be preference: 

-          Columbine gardens 4500
-          Heather 4504
-          Hydrangea 4505
-          Paris 4515
-          Canadian night 4522
-          North wind 4523

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Brente mandler ( Burnt sugar almonds )

Here is a recipe for a quick and easy Christmas treat that is very popular in Norway - Brente mandler. Also known as garrapinyades, caramelised almonds, or burnt sugar almonds.

250 g almonds
100 g sugar
1dl water

- Cook everything together on medium heat. Best to use a cast iron pot, and wooden spoon.
- At first the water will bubble, then the sugar will crystallise, stir continually till the sugar melt again.
- Remove from heat, and spread the caramelised almonds on a sheet of baking paper, use two forks to separate them.
- Wait till they are cooled down, before storing  in an airtight container.
Brente mandler. Caramelised almonds.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Red currant cordial, version 2016

Always sterilise bottles/utensils before use.

One of my Christmas tradition is straining the cordial, tasting and deciding whether or not it is better than last years...

This year I followed a tip from a seller at our local vinmonopolet ( Government owned wine and spirits shops, the only place you can buy alcoholic beverages in Norway that are above 4,75%). She suggested using brown sugar to add a slight 'nutty' taste to the cordial. See post here:

The cordial has now been sitting in the back of the food cupboard for about four months, and it's time to strain it and see how it turned out.

One year I had made it way, way to sweet so this time I had only used 200g of sugar for a liter of alcohol and a kilo of berries.

The colour is nice, the taste is a slight 'tart-berry' taste. I think I will do the same next year, but maybe add a little more sugar to achieve a bit more of a 'sweet' taste, but not too much either as I don't want to make syrup again.

The berries are perfect to use on ice-cream, or in baking.... 

So, here is the 2016 cordial.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Rare, antique birthday greeting cross stitch work.

I was very pleased to find this amazing piece of needlework at an online auction, the quality of the work is amazing and stitched by a very skilled hand.

The piece is dated April 25th, 1896 and dedicated to ‘Dear Rose’.

I presume it was presented to Rose as a birthday gift, and worked by her friend Louie.

The stitches are neatly worked in silk, on very fine cotton fabric. Sadly the lighter colour is so faded that it is almost impossible to see what is written without holding up to the light. When I purchased the embroidery there was a another piece with it, worked in the same delicate stitches, but this time with a thread that had run leaving the finished piece slightly stained pink - probably due to someone at one point having tried to wash it. 

A birthday greeting
To dear Rose

If words could all my wishes say
Oh how my tongue would talk away
I wish this day and many more
May on my dear Friend blessings pour
In truth I wish that thou hadst all
The happiness that could befall
Whatever friends surround thee
No matter what my lot
No friend shall come between us
And make thy name forgot

''Many happy returns''
With love from Louie
April 25th, 1896

Cross stitch over two threads

The match give you an idea of the scale of the tiny stitches

Held up to the light you are able to read the embroidered poem.
Two stitches pieces, probably worked by the same person.

Detail of the second piece, also stitches in near miniature cross stitches.