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!