The Starling by Nicola Jarvis

13th September 2019

Starlings are found in many parts of the world and are known for their cheekiness and their mimicry, including their uncanny ability to learn words and speak. Apparently, if you adopt a starling when very young, it will bond to you to such an extent that it won’t wish to escape and, over time, will learn to communicate with you.

In fact, while people have known how wondrous these little birds are for centuries, were you aware that Mozart had a starling that he adored and that allegedly helped him with some of his composing? Because of his bird’s ability to mimic, he taught it to sing a stanza or riff from his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G. However, his starling sang it slightly differently and Mozart, pleased with what he heard, noted the change in his notebook.

Mozart was so fond of his starling that when it died three years after he had purchased it, he had it buried with great ceremony, even going so far as to erect a small headstone and write it an elegy.

It is also speculated that he wrote a highly unusual piece of music, known as Musical Joke, which sounds similar to the starling’s natural call. This piece was written very soon after his pet’s demise, so perhaps it was the great composer’s way of immortalising his trusted friend.

Although Mozart’s little starling was much loved, we’re sure it didn’t look as grand as Nicola Jarvis’s regal starling, adorned with a crown and proudly sporting a golden trellis on his breast.

Nicola frequently crowns her birds, acknowledging their elegance and regal appearance as well as their importance in nature. Her starling’s crown is studded with pearls and would not look out of place with the crown jewels themselves.

‘The Starling’ from Inspirations issue #103 is worked primarily in wools which takes some of the challenge out of the ground stitching. In particular, the shaded satin stitch which forms the base of the trellis will fluff slightly as you stitch it. This simply enhances the blending and helps ensure you achieve a good result.

But it is the addition of beads, sequins and gold thread which elevate this starling above your average garden variety bird. Adding the bling and finally fixing his large, bright eye will bring this little fellow to glorious life.

Nicola loves bringing together threads, stitches, colours and textures in her magnificent designs and The Starling does not disappoint. Especially if you choose to mount him like Nicola has in the centre of a magnificent red cushion, framed with rich braid.

No doubt you too will become fondly attached to your stitched feathered friend just as Mozart was to his, with the added benefit however of hopefully getting far more than 3 years to enjoy it!

Make Your Own | The Starling

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

The Starling by Nicola Jarvis is a splendid starling from Nicola’s Couture Birds series.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 103

Digital Patterns

The Starling – i103 Digital

Printed Patterns

The Starling – i103 Print

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for The Starling includes everything you need to re-create this delightful bird: Fabric for the embroidery panel only (unprinted), embroidery threads, beads, sequins and needles.

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 our magazine or printed/digital patterns.


The Starling – i103 Kit

Step 3 – How About A Hoop?

If you are planning on stitching the project ‘The Starling’ you’ll need a 25cm (10”) hoop and if you don’t already have one, we’ve got premium quality hoops available to purchase from our website.


Nurge Embroidery Hoop | Size 6 (10”)

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