fairy tales

Little Snow-White, The Musicians of Bremen, and Hansel & Gretel

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

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.

Little Snow-White

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.

Little Snow-White

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!!!

The Musicians of Bremen

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.

The Musicians of Bremen

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.

Hansel & Gretel

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.

Hansel & Gretel

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.

Hansel & Gretel

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!

Cinderella, Thumbling, and The Tree of Golden Apples

Today I have a few new embroidery patterns to show off, brought to you by our wee Little Dorrit & Co design team! Whoop! (Click through to Flickr or visit the shop for more / larger photos.)

Cinderella

First up is our vision of the famous Cinderella – a little different than the image that immediately comes to mind, but we think she’s just as pretty. The original tale is, let’s just be honest, a bit bloodier than the version we’re used to. It’s a little weird. But that’s why we love these Grimm tales and found that they make such wonderful embroidered illustrations – they’re all a little on the weird side, some downright bizarre, but some are just so over-the-top that they’re very funny as well. Anyway, in the original story, Cinderella is just as loved by her Prince as in any version, and who can blame him? She’s quite fetching!

Cinderella

We put her in a dramatic, ornate Elizabethan gown because … well, why not?! We couldn’t resist the chance to put all that gold in her dress, all 1600s-stylee. Other than the gold (again, Anchor Lame, can’t go wrong with it!) in her skirt’s border section and her crown, we stuck with your basic embroidery stitches on this one. The floral fill of her skirt adds enough detail without crowding it with too much stitchy clutter. Best to keep it a little simpler and let the design do the work on this one.

Thumbling

We stitched our little Thumbling similarly, keeping it mostly simple. Thumbling is a very little guy who goes on a big adventure. He’s so tiny that he makes a sword out of a sewing needle and hides in a thimble. He is a tailor’s son, after all. This time I used the silver Anchor Lame (I swear we don’t get advertising bucks from Anchor or nothin’, I really just love it that much) to outline the thimble, and some simple lighter grays (in regular DMC stranded cotton) to stitch the markings on the thimble.

Thumbling

One cute stitchery thing in Thumbling, which was all Chrissy’s, is the way she tied his shoes with real tiny one-strand bows. So cute! We didn’t in this case, but sometimes you have to tack down the little loops so they don’t just twist and bunch up.

Tree Of Golden Apples

Now this one might really be my favorite, and I’ve thought about hanging it in my bedroom eventually. This is The Tree of Golden Apples, which is an image that re-appears throughout the Brothers Grimm tales. Again, we kept ours simple in just a few different threads and only couching and stem stitch.

Tree Of Golden Apples

The trunk / bark was a little experiment though, we tried the Anchor Marlitt floss for the first time — and loved it! (Correction made there: I thought it was DMC Satin, but just found my own notes. Whoops. I think we looked at both but the Marlitt had the right color and was shinier, though I could remember that wrong.) I find that you really need to couch it with more stitches than you do with the Lame thread, especially if you plan to wash your piece when you’ve finished. It kind of relaxes and becomes a bit bumpy. You can see it a little here, which is fine, but it did cause us a little aggravation elsewhere (more on that another day!). Other than that little note though, I found it to be a lovely floss – though I can’t vouch for actually stitching with it, I only used it as the main thread for couching.

There’s, again, more to come soon, and all these patterns are available at the Little Dorrit & Co. etsy shop now. And I should mention that we did so many in this set so we could work on our style together in one clump, and so we’d have something substantial to start our wee business with. We won’t always be working on sets of 9 patterns at a time! So, I will be back soon to show you some more as I get the rest photographed — and I think there will be a freebie coming along soon as well!

Little Red-Cap & Rumpelstiltskin (or, Little Dorrit & Co. open for business!)

Well, here it is! The beginning of a new venture, which has been going on in the background – and which I’ve hinted at here and there over the last few months – for some time. I’m, frankly, both totally nervous and very excited to do this, to show you all the first two embroidery patterns to be put up for sale at the Little Dorrit & Co. etsy shop. I really hope people will like them – we do, me and Chrissy (aka my mother, aka my business partner in this project) and we’ve worked really hard to make a set of patterns that illustrate these beloved stories, are fun to stitch, and are just darn cute! Let me tell you a little about the first two, if you’d like?

Little Red-Cap

This is our “Little Red-Cap” pattern, illustrating the tale we all learned as Little Red Riding Hood, but returned to the red velvet cap she originally wore. The rest of the tale remains familiar though – taking a basket of food to her grandmother’s house, Little Red-Cap meets a terrible wolf in the woods! Whatever will she do?!

Little Red-Cap

This one is one of my favorites of the bunch – I love this little path of french knots, and the tiny one-strand flowers and mushrooms tucked in amongst the trees. And those trees, I could just eat ’em up! (I’m allowed to say these things since Chrissy is the draw-er of our little team, and I cannot claim credit myself for those lovely curvy tree shapes.) The basket is done in very tiny cross-hatched couching, with the inside shading by simple one-strand long stitches. It might also look cute done in satin stitch, or perhaps a fill of chain stitch to look like a braided basket.

Little Red-Cap

The sun in this photo introduces a little technique I’ve been using on this pattern set which I like to call (having made it up just now) ‘faux goldwork’ — an affordable version of goldwork that doesn’t need special training to do. I’d love to learn real goldwork techniques, but this will keep me in shine for the meantime. I’ve basically just laid down some Anchor Lamé floss (the best, if you ask me, it’s easy to work with and catches the light so beautifully!) and used a semi-matching thread to couch it down. Working across the back can be a messy challenge, but it’s doable – perhaps I can do a full tutorial for this if people are interested.

The Little Red-Cap pattern is a large one, intended to cover the full length of an A3 paper, and several in our Brothers Grimm set are similar. As much as we all love a quick stitchy fix, I also really love a project that won’t be finished too quickly; I like to have something that I can really get into — and I’d be shocked if there weren’t at least a few others out there like me! But having said that, these patterns will be easy to adapt to a smaller project – there’s no reason you couldn’t enlarge it more and use Little Red and/or her wolf on their own! Most of our patterns’ main elements or characters can easily be lifted out and applied to any project you have in mind.

Rumpelstiltskin

The second of this first batch is a smaller one (to print on a single A4): good ‘ole Rumpelstiltskin, that little devilish man popping his head in, ready to trick the poor Miller’s daughter. Before she knows it, she’s going to have to guess his ridiculous name or give up her first-born child! I particularly like this one because I’m a spinner myself, it’d look very cute hanging in a spinning nook near a basket of woolly goodness, no?

Rumpelstiltskin

For the apron, in lazy daisy stitch, stem stitch, and little cross-stitches, we used an off-white thread that was only just a bit different in color to our fabric. We wanted to mimic the look of whitework and lace for the Miller’s daughter’s apron, but still have it be visible enough not to be drowned out by the other stitching. It was a little stitchy experiment we tried there, and I think it worked out pretty well. I’ll definitely use that trick again.

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin himself just had to be a red-head, don’t you think? Mischievous little fellow and all. I have no idea what it’s called, but I filled in his hair with loads of tiny stitches going every which way (does that have a name? I’m sure it must.) which I’d never done before. Fun! I can’t wait until there’s a need for that again!

Both of these patterns are available at our Little Dorrit & Co. etsy shop and there will be more to come in this Brothers Grimm fairy tale set. I will show them to you as they go up in the shop, probably a few at a time over the next couple of weeks, while we work on a whole new set that I think are pretty great. Sssh, more on that in good time. But before any of that, I’m going spend the week working on a blog re-design – I’m excited to have outgrown this layout, it’s time to try something new!