Ophelia’s Fox by Phillipa Turnbull

26th August 2022

One characteristic of Jacobean crewel embroidery is the inclusion of a huge variety of whimsical and fabulous animals. Early crewel designs often included birds, monkeys, stags, dogs and horses, each filled with character and delighting the viewer.

Phillipa Turnbull is famous for her traditional crewel designs including many reproductions of historic crewel embroideries. She’s a master at creating crewel animals, and Ophelia’s Fox from Inspirations issue #115 is a perfect example.

Ophelia’s Fox is a gorgeous study of a clever fox caught mid-stride as he scampers across a meadow.

His front paw is up, his ears are cocked and his nose appears to have just caught a scent. He pauses, his beautiful bushy tail sweeping the ground, framed perfectly by the trailing branches of an oak tree. Worked in beautiful earthy greens and browns, Ophelia’s Fox includes bright splashes of colour from the meadow flowers beneath the fox’s feet.

The project is stitched using a combination of long and short stitch and a number of other traditional crewel stitches that form the leaves and foliage surrounding the main subject. The careful shading gives the fox a fabulously three-dimensional effect and the range of greens in the leaves and ground invite an atmosphere of autumnal beauty to the natural scene.

Ophelia’s Fox is one of the magical animals that Phillipa has designed for her Aesop’s Animals series. This series selects all the important animals from Aesop’s Fables, including hares, owls, frogs and other birds.

The wily fox, which appears in stories such as The Fox and the Grapes and The Fox and the Stork, is an important character in these timeless tales.

He teaches us that it is easy to despise what you cannot have; that you can’t find fault with someone who only pays you back with your own coin; and various other important moral lessons that run through all of Aesop’s stories. Children and adults alike have loved these stories for millennia, so you can now immortalise them with your needle and thread by stitching this wonderful project.

Ophelia’s Fox is perfect whether you are starting out with crewel embroidery or you’re an experienced stitcher. You can follow the step-by-step instructions to achieve the shading and the stitches that will really bring this creature to life.

When you next sit down with a child or grandchild to read about the sly fox who stole the cheese from the crow by crooning some flattering words to her, you can be watched over by Ophelia’s Fox as he pauses momentarily to listen to your words.

Make Your Own Ophelia's Fox

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Ophelia’s Fox by Phillipa Turnbull is a crewel embroidery panel of a red fox in his woodland territory.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 115

Digital Patterns

Ophelia’s Fox – i115 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Ophelia’s Fox includes everything* you need to re-create this whimsical crewel panel: Fabric with pre-printed design, embroidery threads, bead and needles.


Ophelia’s Fox – i115 Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the magazine/digital pattern.

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