Eeep! Little Dorrit & Co. has shared a new free pattern via Sew Mama Sew! The pattern is called ‘Alice’s Garden’ and illustrates that famous scene from Through The Looking Glass” – go download it at the awesome Sew Mama Sew!
The opportunity to work with Sew Mama Sew inspired us to create a little team portrait, Little-Dorrit-&-Co.-style:
We called it ‘pattern-izing’ ourselves (remember when everybody was Simpsons-izing themselves?!) – we’re not even sure how the idea got started, but once it did, we just knew it had to be done. You can see it in action on our Etsy About page, too!
We hope you love the free embroidery pattern!
(P.S. Apparently, we giveth and we taketh away. We’ve decided to renovate our Little Elves Christmas embroidery pattern, adding a color and stitch guide, etc, and put it up in the shop. It is currently free, available to download via the Freebies page – but it won’t be for long! We’ll take it down in about two weeks so feel free to grab it while it’s still there!)
Over the weekend, I set a new knitting pattern out into the wild: Haworth, the crazy cuddly and cabled cozy. No, that’s not its official name, I just got carried away with alliteration. Haworth is available for free via Ravelry and this here blog (download link below and on the sidebar to the right), just download away and start knittin’.
The story of Haworth is a little bit silly, kind of round-about, and totally dragged out. Sometime last summer, I decided I’d make my mother a hot water bottle cozy for Christmas. Mom is always chilly, always, but didn’t believe that a hot water bottle could really make that much of a difference to wintertime comfort. Even way back then, I had a pattern all picked out: the beautiful Winterberry cozy by Cecelia Brandner. I love that pattern. My plan was to knit it right away, to have one gift all done and ready to go before the summer was even over. But I knew it’d be a quick enough knit, so I kept putting it off. And then because I knew it would be a quick enough knit, it became a lower priority than the bigger, more labor-intensive gifts that weren’t finished. I figured I could still get it done even if I started it just a few days before Christmas.
But then – and here’s where it gets a little dumb – I started to worry that the only suitable stash yarn I had (some leftover Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran) wouldn’t be enough. Fearing that I’d run out with no time to spare, and refusing to use anything but stash yarn, I decided to … design one from scratch? With loads of cables and seed stitch and bobbles? Yeah, because that won’t stretch the yardage to its very limits. In retrospect, this was crazy people logic, but I can’t be held responsible for decisions made during Christmas crafting panic.
With literally days to go, I set to designing this hot water bottle cozy, sort out a buttonband across the back without having to knit in pieces and seam (a decision made purely because I didn’t have time for that crap) and out came Haworth. Except it wasn’t quite there yet – the one I made for my mother was lovely, and since I’d done all that work, I figured I might as well offer it up for everyone else. But by the time I went to write it up, I wasn’t sure what my notes meant and what I could make out didn’t quite knit properly. It took a lot of deciphering and re-designing to get a pattern other people could actually understand. And because I only tinkered with it here and there, it took months to get it all finished.
But, finally, it’s here! I’ve named it Haworth after the charming town the Brontë sisters were from, because its old-fashioned feel made me think of curling up with one of their novels on a cold, wintery day. The pattern uses an aran / worsted weight yarn, and will work best with a bouncy pure wool yarn. Drapey yarns with silk or whatever are lovely, but cables pop best with pure wool. I used Valley Yarns Amherst, 100g / 200yds. Cascade 220 would be awesome, too. You’ll also need three buttons for the back, and a crochet hook and scrap yarn to work a provisional cast on. The rest of the pattern details are available on the Haworth Ravelry page, or you can just go for it and download the pattern now!
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!
Squeaking in just in time for Valentine’s stitching, and as a little nod to our next series of patterns (we still have some Brothers Grimm patterns to share, including a different freebie, but there is another set we’ve just started working on and are pretty excited about!), here’s a little romantic freebie for you all to stitch up for the big day. Note: this pattern will be added to the shop shortly! If you’re interested, please pop over to check it out!
This line is spoken by dear Romeo about his lovely Juliet, after seeing her for the first time. “Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” Sigh, isn’t he the just the dreamiest?
We kept this one fairly simple, just a relatively quick little project, easy enough to do in time for Valentine’s Day. We went a little crazy and packed ours chock-full of satin stitch, but those flowers would look great in some quick backstitch too, don’tcha think?
The pattern is designed to be about 8.5″ wide and 6.5″ tall, printed over one A4 page. The PDF is two pages – one of the pattern as you see it , 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!
#50, SavvyGirlDeborah, from the Savvy Girls Podcast! Whoop whoop! The Savvy Girls have some patterns of their own available (one of which just snuck into my Ravelry favorites!), so be sure to go visit them as well.
And Winner #2, also to be given both knitting patterns:
#7, Lorelei!!! Lorelei doesn’t appear to have a blog, but she does have one of my favorite names in the world!
I’ll be contacting the winners asap and will send them their patterns by whatever method they chose – immediately if digitally, first thing in the morning if by post. And, if you’d permit me a little moment to be sentimental: I was overwhelmed by the response to my little giveaway. Seriously, I never, ever expected 50 (FIFTY!) people to be interested in my patterns with nothing else to give along with them. It may have sounded like false modesty, but I really was concerned that there wouldn’t be two entrants to give prizes to. You’ve all made me feel like, even if I’m just getting started, I’m not wasting my time – so thank you all so, so, so much. I hope some of you stick around to get into other knitting and stitching adventures with me, just like I’ve found some new reads during this Giveaway Day week. And, by the way, I loved hearing about all of your gift crafts – I’m sure your friends and family will be overjoyed to receive your handmade presents this year.