Finally, the day has come! I’m so excited to show you guys the second set of embroidery patterns by Little Dorrit & Co. – and give away some free patterns!
I’m sure you won’t be too surprised to hear that nearly all the guesses were correct. We hoped you’d be able to tell who they were – we want these patterns to be able to speak for themselves with as little explanation as possible. So let me introduce you to …
Couple #1: Romeo & Juliet
Encircled by a lush and vibrant rose, Juliet is dressed in her medieval finery and Romeo in a tunic (stitched to resemble brocade, not armour as one commenter suggested!) and they are locked in a loving embrace.
Couple #2: Antony & Cleopatra
Decked in her ancient bling, Cleopatra reaches out to her Mark Antony, joining Egypt and Rome in love affair so epic that Shakespeare committed it to verse.
It’s an exciting day here at Little Dorrit & Co. HQ! In fact, it’s the start of about a week of awesomeness, for us anyway. I’m all a-flutter! Seriously. A-flutter.
Anyway, today we’re announcing a new set of three patterns. We’d hoped to have them up for sale by the end of this week, but we’re running a little late. Since we didn’t make our own deadline, we’ll settle for a sneak peek and a giveaway! Giveaways rock so hard!!!
So if you want some free stuff, here’s the deal: Below are wee glimpses of our new pattern set, based on famous literary couples (one is both literary and historical, just to be fair). Guess who they are – guess just one or all three, whatever you like – in the comments and we’ll randomly pick THREE WINNERS on Monday April 23. If we want to be specific, I’ll close the comments at noon, UK time. On that day, we’ll show you the full patterns, get them up for sale, and offer the THREE WINNERS one free pattern of their choice from the Little Dorrit & Co. etsy shop (which may include one of these new ones, if you like).
Today marks the end … an exciting end, though! Up for sale in the Little Dorrit & Co. etsy shop are the final two Brothers Grimm fairy tale-inspired embroidery patterns. PHEW! We did it. As I’ve explained before, this set is purposely large in order to start off with a good variety of patterns. It’s taken some time to get them all up in the shop, but we got there in the end. And as a reward for reading along as we worked through them, we’ve got a little freebie to share down at the end! (Click through to Flickr for bigger / more photos, as always.)
It’s a funny coincidence that we ended up grouping these two together, because these are the first and last patterns we designed and stitched. Briar Rose was last, and I think I might’ve been ready to move on from the fairy tales, because I didn’t really love it while we were working on it. But now that I’ve had a little time away from it, I’m actually really pleased with in the end.
The tale of ‘Briar Rose’ is basically the story we call ‘Sleeping Beauty’: pretty princess is cursed, pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, falls asleep for 100 years. Luckily, there’s a bed right there, so she manages to be cursed elegantly.
In fact, the entire palace falls asleep. The King and Queen, the kitchen staff, the animals and insects – even the meat on the spit and the fire stop right where they are. The entire palace is surrounded by a thick, thorny hedge, and no one is able get through to save poor Briar Rose. Until the Prince comes along, of course. The plants part and bloom wonderful large roses … and the rest is history, really. I think you know how it ends. (ahem-happilyeverafter-ahem)
We kept the stitching in this one very simple – lots of back stitch and simple lines – because there’s just so much detail in the design. Heavy stitching could easily have been too much. On Rapunzel, the first design we worked on, we worked in more fill stitches and other stitchy detail.
You might think something’s a bit odd with our vision of Rapunzel, but this funny little thing is what started the entire Brothers Grimm project. Yes, those are radishes – in the original story, Rapunzel’s mother steals fresh, juicy radishes from the witch’s garden. She just can’t resist them, which makes the witch angry enough to lock her daughter up nice and tight. Radishes are pretty yummy though, what can I say?
This bizarre detail is what made us see how funny these original stories are, and made us want to illustrate them. Otherwise though, the rest of the story is about what we remember. The Prince is having a little stroll in the woods, a little lonely, and hears Rapunzel’s beautiful whistle. He follows the sound (see? I told you music leads people around in these stories!) and spies the witch climbing up Rapunzel’s long, beautiful hair, giving away the secret way up to the tower.
You can see our fill stitching there – the most notable the couching filling the witch’s cape and Prince’s robe. Using different colors for the long threads and the little tacking stitches give a woven effect that very nicely simulates clothing. We also did some couching action on Rapunzel’s long hair – we used three colors, including some of the gold Anchor Lame – to give the flowing locks some depth.
Also fun is the ‘brick and cross filling’ (as it’s called by one of my vintage embroidery stitch dictionaries) we used to fill in the castle blocks. On the pattern, these blocks are just marked by an outline, so you’re free to fill (or not fill) them in any way you like. We thought this stitch was too perfect to pass up, and used two lighter gray shades to stitch them so they wouldn’t compete too strongly with the other elements of the design.
So there you go – fairy tales all done! And they’re all available for sale in our etsy shop if any take your fancy! Oh, but wait, didn’t I say something about a freebie?! This image isn’t from any particular Grimm tale, but a recurring theme: the sad / lonely Giant. Plus, we thought a Giant might very well be a bit sad, with no one his own size to play with.
The villagers are pretty much just scared of him, but he clearly wants a friend. Poor guy.
The pattern is designed to be about 8″ wide and 8.5″ tall, printed over one A4 page. The PDF is two pages – one of the pattern as you see it (previewed below), the other of its reverse, so it will be easy for you to transfer by whatever method you prefer. Have fun – and, as always, if you stitch one up yourself, we’d love to see how it comes out!
Here we go – three more patterns released today! This is the next-to-last little group of Brothers Grimm patterns – as I mentioned before, we did a rather large set for our first one, to get Little Dorrit & Co. started off right. The last batch will be along soon enough, and will include another little freebie!
But first things first. Today’s releases included some of my favorites of this collection – starting with Little Snow-White, as she was known by the Brothers Grimm. I was surprised to find that the original story is basically the same as the version we all know now. (As always, click through to Flickr for larger / more photos!)
Little Snow-White is seen as a threat by her vain and cruel Stepmother, and banished to the woods. There she meets seven wee little mining men. She takes care of them and they help keep her hidden and safe.
Until the stepmother tries to poison her, in a variety of creative ways, including the infamous poisoned apple. Thinking she is dead, the dwarves mourn and the handsome Prince is so saddened, he wants to take her away so he can always look upon her lost beauty. Although the modern re-telling has the Prince romantically kiss away the poison, metaphorically speaking, the Brothers Grimm were a little more practical. When the Prince lifts her casket, Snow-White is jostled and the piece of apple lodged in her throat is moved, allowing her to breathe again, marry her Prince, and live happily ever after. The main difference is actually in the very ending, an odd detail we couldn’t help but illustrate. The evil Stepmother attends Snow-White’s wedding, but as punishment for her wicked deeds, she is forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance in them until she dies! Geez. Talk about your creative punishments.
We chose to give our Little Snow-White a slightly medieval feel and pose her and her loved ones as if they were ready for their wedding portrait. As far as stitching is concerned, the only thing I could really point out as special is Snow-White’s hair, which we knew had to be dramatic, shiny, and sleek. I used the DMC Satin (for real this time) in black and couched it down with the tiniest stitches I could manage to keep the line as smooth as possible. But when I gave the whole thing a rinse, and this is the trouble with that thread that I referred to the other day, it went all wavy on me. Like Snow-White had just stepped out of the 80s and had crimped her hair. So I did it over, this time using at least twice as many tacking stitches and a disappearing ink pen so that I wouldn’t need to rinse it again. Annoying to do it twice, but I’m so pleased with those smooth curves now.
The Musicians of Bremen might be a less familiar story, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. What’s not to love about a group of musicians who happen to be a Donkey, a Dog, a Rooster, and an old scruffy cat? And the Donkey plays the lute!!!
Because their owners start to think they are a little past their prime, that maybe they’d make a good dinner or two, this group of rag-tag animals travel together to Bremen and embark upon new careers as town-musicians. They get into a little adventure with a robber, but I’ll let you find out about that yourselves.
You’ll notice the little music notes in this pattern and the next, as well as a few others in our Brothers Grimm collection. Music appears surprisingly often in these tales, usually as an indication of where to go or how to find someone. We’ve stitched them the same in every one, couched in Anchor Lame, to be a little thread (no pun intended) that floats through the whole collection.
Lastly, one of my very favorites, the classic story of Hansel & Gretel. These two wee things are left in the spooky woods to fend for themselves when their father and stepmother cannot afford to feed them any longer. Hansel’s a pretty smart boy and uses white pebbles to make a trail leading back home, knowing that the moonlight will reflect on them and make their path easy to see. We made the moon huge and the pebbles bright in silver, contrasting with the blues we used to give the feel of the dark of night.
But, despite their best efforts to get home, they catch the sound of a little bird singing and follow it, only to find themselves at a very tempting, tasty-looking house. The witch is waiting there, ready to cook them up, but they outsmart her in the end and manage to get back to their family. Don’t worry about them.
So there we are – almost to the end of our Brothers Grimm fairy tale-inspired embroidery patterns. They’re all available in the Little Dorrit & Co. etsy shop – and we hope you stick around for that freebie I mentioned, coming up soon!
On our etsy listings, I promised a little tutorial on how to print our larger-scale patterns over two pages, the size they were designed to be stitched. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you stitching them smaller, but the level of small detail in some of them will make that tricky. I laid out the PDF files to have them cover just one page because other layouts didn’t agree with all printers (mine included) for various reasons, and it’s very simple to enlarge them on a home printer if you know which little checkboxes to tick.
First things first, you’ll have to get yourself hooked up with Adobe Reader. It’s free, y’alls! Download it here, and install it and all that jazz. No worries, I’ll wait here …
Ok, when I first planned to do this little screenshot-tutorial, it involved a couple of ticks on the print dialog. Nothing complicated, but you kind of had to know what you were looking for. Then Adobe updated Reader … and it got even simpler! So here you go:
Open the “Little Red-Cap” (or whichever Little Dorrit & Co. larger-scale pattern you’re printing – if you’re not sure, the product listing description will make clear what size each pattern is intended to be) in Adobe Reader. I’m using the newest (as of Jan 17, anyway) version of Reader, as far as I know – version 10.1.2 – on a Mac. If yours looks a little different, the printing method should still be very similar. Ok, so go to File / Print and your print dialog should look a little something like this:
(Click for a larger version if you need it.)
Around the middle of the Print window, you’ll see the heading “Page Sizing & Handling” – this is the only section you really need for enlarging. Chose ‘Poster’, then enter ‘130’ for ‘Tile Scale’, and ‘0.25’ for ‘Overlap’ and that’s it!
The options suit printing over two A4 pages just right. If you’re using a different size paper, you might play around with the number in the ‘Tile Scale’ box to print across two of your sheets, but it should be right around 130%. The overlap doesn’t really need to be a full quarter-inch, but it does ensure that your printer gives you a decent margin and the overlap makes it nice and easy to tape together just so.
As always, please let us know if you have any problems with printing your patterns!