Nicola Jarvis’ Bluebird – Part 1

An addition to the 'bird family'!

The bird family is expanding! Today I’ll share with you my stitching on Nicola Jarvis‘ bluebird. I’m excited that I will soon have a little family of birds – I think they will make great cushions!

One of the things I really enjoyed about stitching up the robin last year, was that it provided me with different ideas on how to use some of the ‘commonly used’ crewelwork stitches. There are also occassions where she has a different technique to stitching the stitches, which I found quite interesting.

And so, it is time to show you Nicola’s bluebird! I stitched most of this piece up during the stitch-a-long we had last year. But on taking it out again to work out why it wasn’t finished, I disovered a lack of thread was probably a good reason! So I still need to go off and buy some more thread, but this little bird will soon join his robin partner in the ‘finished’ pile. 

A lesson on colour

As with the Robin, there are a number of crewelwork stitches used throughout. Whilst the robin was very ‘brown’ for the majority of stitching it, the bluebird has quite a few different colours in each section. This does make for some more interesting stitching!

One thing I was surprised about with the colours, was just how bright some of them were – especially the green. To be honest when I first saw it I considered swapping it out for a more muted green – it looks almost fluorescent! However I’m glad I didn’t do that, as the colours do blend and work together really nicely.

So a lesson learned – don’t be scared to step outside your comfort zone with colours!

Stitching the legs and feet

Nothing has changed on this one – I still dislike bird’s legs and feet! These ones didn’t seem quite so creepy though, or perhaps I was just more accustomed to stitching feet.

Either way, the satin stitched legs and feet are a good way to get into the swing of the project. The legs stitched in satin stitch aren’t the easiest way to start off. Trying to get the angle right in a small area, whilst also getting back into neat satin stitch.

Kit Stitching Tip

For anyone thinking about stitching one of Nicola’s birds, if you aren’t comfortable stitching such small satin stitch, feel free to practice in one of the other areas, and come back to the legs later.

The Yellow Breast

I have to admit, I was really expecting our bluebird to have a blue breast!

However, it is stitched in a mustard yellow. There is a combination of satin stitch and stem stitch used in this area. I didn’t exactly follow the instructions, and reversed some of the open spaces (I didn’t look closely enough, and I actually quite like my interpretation, so it stayed!).

I’m not completely ‘sold’ on the combination of stem stitch and satin stitch as it is here. I have made a few more areas satin stitch than what Nicola had. I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not – perhaps stitching all the leaves in satin stitch, and the stems in stem stitch would have been a good idea.

The French knots also gave me a few problems. I struggled to cover the design lines printed onto the fabric. I ended up using four strands of thread – which creates it’s own problems! A good note for myself as well – don’t transfer the full circle or area if there is any chance it will be difficult to get the lines covered. Small dots would work!

This is also where I ran out of the thread, so you will have to wait till next time to see the finished breast!

Our Bluebird's blue head

I quite enjoyed stitching the head – the small areas filled nicely, and were quite repetitive, so relaxing stitching also.

And I love a bit of seeding stitch to fill a space! 

And a very green shoulder...

I will leave you today with the very green shoulder! 

It was stitched in split stitch (thankfully not nearly as large an area as the robin for split stitch!), with some seeding stitch to fill the space.

An enjoyable piece!

Despite the ‘challenges’ with Nicola’s instructions, I do really enjoy stitching her birds. I was actually pleased I hadn’t quite finished this one and that I needed to fetch some more thread! One good tip that was brought up in our little group is that her website has much better photos of the pieces than her kits do, so you can refer back to that if you need to see what she has done.

I find stitching these very relaxing and ‘easy’. She doesn’t over complicate her pieces with lots of different stitches. The colours, whilst in this piece may have been surprising to me, are easy to work with. And each section of the design is a little piece unto itself, which makes it a little easier to feel like you are getting somewhere. 

Help stitching your 'own' bird

If you would like to stitch up one of Nicola’s birds, but aren’t sure if you are quite ‘up to it’, you may find these resources useful. Whilst they are large, and perhaps intimidaing pieces, I do believe anyone can stitch them!

And of course, if you have any questions, just ask!

12 thoughts on “Nicola Jarvis’ Bluebird – Part 1”

  1. I love the variety of colors on the bluebird, and those stitches really do look cool, Catherine! Lovely piece you’ve started. 😍

    1. He is a lovely bird, isn’t he Kathy?! I’m really surprised with the colours, but I also love them! I’m looking forward to finishing him – my extra thread arrived yesterday!

  2. He’s beautiful! I really enjoyed stitching my blackbird last year, I’ve got the pattern for a bullfinch waiting, what did you use to trace the pattern, it’s a nice neat line!

    1. Thanks, Margaret! I remember your blackbird from last year. You were lucky enough to do a class with Nicola! The design was pre-printed on the fabric, I didn’t trace it! But I find the micron pens or a pencil to be the best way of transferring a neat line.

    1. Thanks, Deborah! I like most of her designs, they are so original and creative. There is always something extra to add to the never-ending list of kits isn’t there!

  3. Looking fab Catherine – I can recommend your very helpful tips and guidance – my kit had sat in its bag for a long time before the stitch a long!

    1. Thank you for such a great compliment, Nicola! It was great to see your bird all finished, you did such a wonderful job of him. I hope you have enjoyed your RSN classes that you have taken!

  4. It looks amazing and you certainly have some talent. I’ve not tried crewel work but have got bitten by the patchwork bug at the moment so maybe something to try in the future.

    1. Thanks so much, Daisy! I’ve never tried patchwork again, and something tells me I may need to keep it that way. I’m not sure I can have another hobby to try and fit in!

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