26th January 2024
If Nicola Jarvis’s book A Life in Seasons | Winter & Spring is all about storytelling, let us tell you a story about this project…
‘One spring morning I was walking with Quince when I noticed that my trainer lace was undone. I bent down to tie it again and as I stood up I noticed a slight shimmer on the underside of a stinging nettle leaf…’
Nicola had encountered a mother of pearl moth. A member of the Crambidae family, it is one of the largest of the group known as micro moths that includes more than sixteen hundred species in the UK.
Mother of pearl moth, or Patania ruralis, can be spotted from late spring until mid-summer underneath nettle leaves by day and flying around at dusk and into the night.
‘All four wings were spread out and decorated with an intricate swirling pattern in shades of coffee and cream, reminding me of the Venetian marbled endpapers that line the inside of antique books, but these tiny wings were also dusted with an opalescent sheen.’
Taking inspiration from her encounter, Nicola proceeded to illustrate a sketch of the moth adding young, fresh stinging nettle leaves as motifs to the wings to enhance its already ornate appearance.
Stinging nettles provide food and shelter for moth larvae as they live in rolled-up leaves until the adult moth emerges.
The banks of the River Avon in the Saxon Mill Fields are thick with nettles, providing an ideal habitat for moths and butterflies which Nicola and Quince enjoy discovering on their morning walks in spring.
Using surface embroidery techniques, a combination of Au Ver à Soie and DMC threads, seed beads, sequins, paillettes and a few other elements, Nicola brings her illustration of the Avonlea Moth to life.
This is a beautifully considered project with needlework adding dimension, and texture to create a unique piece, encompassing the stories of Nicola’s seasonal journey and the habitat of the moth itself.
Make Your Own Avonlea Moth*
We have all the materials you need to re-create this project yourself, from easy to follow step-by-step instructions to a Ready-to-Stitch kit with everything sourced for you.
*A couple of tips when stitching Avonlea Moth:
Background – as this piece has been stitched on pre-printed fabric, to re-create it exactly as it appears in the book the kit comes with the pre-printed fabric included. Alternatively, use the pattern sheet from the Life in Seasons book to transfer the design and either paint your own background elements or you can stitch the entire moth.
Instructions – As this kit does not include instructions, for step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to book Life in Seasons, purchased separately.