Category Archives: Nicola Jarvis

Fox and Willow Finish?

The “Fox and Willow” silk design by Nicola Jarvis is finished. There is some thinking going on that the leaves of the willow tree needs some kind of color.  Having said that there might be an update to “Fox and Willow” in the future…we shall see. Maybe I think to much as one of my friends told me!

So here is the finished photo of the silk embroidery..the background is silk and the floss was silk. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this design. Mainly because it kept the interest peaked.  When the piece is actually made into a pillow or framed or something else it will look really nice!

Fox and Willow

    Sooo…the Fox is finished…the beading was a bit of a longer than I thought it would take moment…mainly because the old skills were a bit rusty and then “threading the itty bitty hole of a beading needle”!!! Make a mistake and poof out came the thread to be rethreaded. All in all the design went well and the fox just looks so elegant! The flowers around the neck were interesting to do in that the “drawn design” seemed to missing some parts. Using the air erasable marker to help fill in these was just the ticket. Worked like a charm as they say! (whatever that really means…cute anyway). The only things or thing that is different is the beads for the flowers. These were changed out for some from my own stash. Just was a personal preference and am happier with it.  
   As I move on to the willow I have been thinking about adding a “small bit more color” to it. We shall see. The willow might take me a bit cause the old fingers will get tired doing the same stitch over and over but the end will be worth it!

Fox and Willow…Tail Finish 

   After doing the hearts… the berries were next and as I looked for the “beads” I realized there were not enough for the tail and the other area around the neck of the “fox. Fortunately my stash of beads contain the exact same color used here so problem solved! Using a stem stitch and then plopping a bead on the end went fairly quickly.

   Doing a “seed stitch” can be a challenge in that getting all the stitches the same length can be a chore for me. One tends to start nice and small and then “bang” they are twice as long. Take them out…no way! Just keep plugging along. I have done these before but not a favorite and it is a simple one at that! 

   The outline of the tail called for couching two strands of “ginger” silk around the outside of the tail, however, I decided to use a stitch called “twisted chain stitch” instead of doing the couching. Nicola had suggested that with the couching to kind of make it loose so the threads would create a scalloped effect. I liked it but just had learned how to do a twisted chain stitch and thought it would look nice also. Am debating on whether to put a hint of a contrasting color with it somehow. That will be something else to think about. This has been fun as usual!

So here is the tail! Onto the “Blackberry Collar” around the neck!

A Tail about Silk Floss…Fox and Willow

   In looking at the tail the instructions tell one to start with the heart shape and use the Burnt Orange, Brick Red, and Ginger for the colors…Darrrnnn!… the Brick Red floss was missing. Looked in the original bag the design came in and wherever else I could think of.  Soooo…took a “nighttime” sleep…and woke up at 2 a.m. to the brain saying ” You have  a little silk of your own maybe there will be one you can use… up and downstairs I went and sure enough found a “red” I could use…checked under the magnifying lamp to make sure the strand was of the same consistency as the other strands of silk. Worked like a charm and started stitching at 2:30 a.m.. Four heart shapes later and I go to get some more Burnt Orange floss. Now this particular color there is “lots” of it mainly because it was used on the foxes body. Getting low I went to get a one strand from a divisible piece and got “stopped in my tracks” with a “what in the world moment” ! There in the midst of the “Burnt Orange” was “two”,just two” divisible floss strands that were a different color. Of course they were the “Brick Red” I had been looking for.  They had been hiding in the Burnt Orange deep in the mass of that color so when I had used up most of the Burnt Orange one could actually notice the difference in the color shading. Did it make a difference? Not one iota! 

The first stem stitch line around each heart is the “Burnt Orange” second “Red (substitute for Brick Red)…third “Chocolate”..and french knots “Ginger”. The Burnt Orange and the Chocolate makes the Red look more Brick Red…I think (personal opinion of course). So I just finished up the Hearts and below is the picture…what a waste of brain power wondering what happened to that “Brick Red” floss. Stuff happens….Wheewww I am glad that is over…

Fox and Willow…Leaves Stitched….Nicola Jarvis Design

    It was nice to do a small bit of “long and short stitch”…need to keep that practice…! All the leaves on the body and some on the legs are finished. The instructions for the other leaves are later on in process. Hopefully will start some flowers.. I must say I am having a blast stitching this, mainly because I need to think a bit outside of my comfort zone. As I have said before having more detailed instructions would be helpful but it is nice to have to use ones brain to help also… There are times thinking makes me cringe and others when I need to work the odd brain cell! The picture shows the leaves that are finished. Now onto the flowers which are next up in the directions! 

 Fox and the Willow…Nicola Jarvis Design

Nicola Jarvis has (in my opinion) a really cute Fox and Willow Design…and of course I purchased it. I have had it for a few months but without the instructions. Finally got them and just couldn’t resist starting it even though I have two other projects going on right now. I am going to stop starting new projects! (right…hopefully). There are two big projects that need to be finished and then this one. The “Fox and Willow” looks to be “semi” doable in a shorter amount of time. It is hooped so it will be a bit more portable than some of my other projects. ( I will do updates on those at a later date). 

   Nicola painted the main backgound and  it is embellished with thread…and beads..My chosen style was the silk with silk threads. This was done with a purpose to expose myself to more “silk threads” (Au Ver Soie silk) . The fabric is silk and there is no problem with that since I have been exposed to it  with my heirloom sewing days. Part of my fabric stash is some nice yardage of “silk dupioni” that was purchased awhile back. The “only” thing that is a “bugaboo” with this kit is the silk thread colors are “not” numbered so you need to really use your picture to help get the colors correct. I should be fine.  It is nice to have a card with holes that tell what the number is for each strand of color.  This is where the ability to draw and design is a failure because color totally amazes then confuses because there are infinite ways to change a color shade! Mind boggling . This is one reason why when there is a pattern/kit and if the colors are appealing that’s the one to buy..just like that one.

  The directions talk about lining the silk with muslin (calico) and then stitching around the body to keep the fabrics from slipping etc. I have a lightweight cotton fusible that was used and it does the trick. Works like a charm and leaves no weird residue or odd look. This way the whole piece is stable and there is no shifting between the two pieces of fabrics.

 This picture below is of the stem stitch which is outlining the stems of course! Just on the body of the fox…next will be the leaves and flowers.. It is hard to tell what has been stitched but it is there! Also, with the stem stitch and outline stitch they are interchangable when you are working on curved lines that have no real consistent direction. Just make sure each line stitched is using the same stitch for each one. There is a method that works to “try” (that is the operative word!!) to keep the stem and outline stitch unique when I needed. Notice that “outline” starts with an “O” so it means to take the thread “over” and then stem stitch automatically becomes “under”. This is what works for me. I have seen other ways but my brain likes this one…

Fire Pinks..Silk Ribbon

   Just as a quick note…”Fire Pinks”grow wild in my backyard during the summer months and I have always been drawn to them because of their growing in the heat of the season.  They are not a clumpy flower just usually one stem and a few buds and flowers. I think the cultivated ones have more together in a clump. It is always been nice to take a walk in our woods and spot one of these in bloom!

  Today is the day to work on finding the ribbon I want to use for this project. The plan is to stay with some red/pink color variations…with deep green for stems and yellows for the centers. Not a real happy camper so far.. Tested some of my ideas and they were a “bust” in my opinion…(no pictures) Need to feel pleased about the choices. Understanding now that it will take me some time to truly decide how to proceed with this project. I need to sleep on it some more. 

     So on the next day I tested some “varigated” 4mm silk ribbon …the answer is a maybe “yes”. I like the look but will definitely have to tweak it as the ribbon is applied. Sooo here is what I did for a petal as a test with some pink varigated ribbon…am hoping to find some “hot redish pink” colored 4mm ribbon because I want to do this in a deeper redish also…below is a partial picture of Nicola Jarvis’s petal…then a photo of my idea with the 4mm ribbon.  I am already thinking I might decide to hand dye some of my white 4mm ribbon to the colors I want…(psst..I get to play…!)  I know all things will take time but I am enjoying the process. I am looking forward to doing some ribbon embroidery and I think this flower will lend itself nicely to this medium.  Since I was testing for style and the  piece of ribbon used was a remnant I didn’t press the creases out so just ignore that..


Just a hint “Fire Pinks” A Drawing by Nicola Jarvis

    It has been a few years now, but when I was in Williamsburg, Virginia at a class with “Nicola Jarvis” I got up the nerve to ask her if she would draw a picture of “Fire Pinks” a native flower that grows on the property where I live. Explaining why I adore this flower is hard. It is a simple flower very bright red/pink. They also have been cultivated as they can be a pale pink to other shades of pink also. I would like to do this flower in red/pink as well as in the pale pink which is the way Nicola drew it for me…my thanks will never be enough for the drawing! I just want to do it justice in the creation!

   First off…I can (in my head) see what it looks like in all detail but it will not translate to my hands. Over the years I have tried but just do not have the capability to draw what I see and that means just about anything! Below is just a hint of the wonderful drawing Nicola did for me. She asked about it a month ago or so …so I decided I needed to get my brain moving to stitch this flower…it is really pretty to me and I am excited to try my hand at taking a drawing and then to interpret  it in thread or other fiber media (maybe silk ribbon). So here is a beginning…just a hint…