I Love This Project
Siobahn of Blue Hen Hollow
"When Anna asked me to do a guest blogging stint based on my favorite project, my mind started spinning about which one I'd pick. I've wanted to run over a few with my car (cough cough Hannah Pepper cough cough), but others just make me happy when I look at them. I thought of my Houses of Hawk Run Hollow, which I stitched while leading a SAL with some super fun stitchers, the design that led me to start stalking Kathy Barrick in earnest. I thought about Blackbird Designs' Union Forever, which I was intent on stitching in the car during my daughter's equestrian lessons, that is, when I could tear my gaze away from noticing how well my her teacher filled out his breeches. Caught up in stitching and gawking, I'd forgotten that I left my car lights on and ended up frantically calling my husband to come and jump the car battery while not admitting that I'd been thinking about jumping the equestrian teacher. Good memories, good memories. In the end, I settled on Le Marquoir de Justine, which is a reproduction sampler charted by Anne Pelletier-Pauleau of France.
My Justine is special to me for so many reasons, one of those is how many people helped me to stitch it. You know the saying about how it takes a village to raise a child? Well, it took a bunch of friends to help me stitch this sampler. A stitching buddy in Utah, whose needlework skill I greatly admire, graciously shared her thread conversion with me. I bought the Needlepoint silks and linen (Lakeside's 40 ct Vintage Nutmeg) with birthday money from my mother. I couldn't find the chart online, so I remain grateful to a friend in continental Europe who found it in a local shop and sent it to me. I started stitching it and realized that my chart was one of many that was missing the last page. Another stitching buddy to the rescue--this time, my friend from Wisconsin. When I was done with my chart, I sent it on to a friend in Canada who was searching for Justine's chart to no avail. When I look at my finished Justine sampler, I think of all these friends that I've made because of our shared love for needlework, and I remain humbled about how blessed I am to be a part of this wonderful community.
I also think of Justine herself. Little Justine was just eight years old when she stitched her sampler, while preparing for her First Holy Communion. She died at the tender age of ten. Stitching the Catholic symbols was a salve on my heart as I thought of little Justine's short life, and how her mother must have grieved for her. As I stole moments to stitch between shlepping my kids from school and activities, making dinner and refereeing fights, it reminded me that I am blessed to have three healthy kids. I have faith that Justine and her mother are aware that some two hundred years after Justine put needle to linen, people all over the world are thinking of Justine. She lives on in our hearts."
I had heard tales of this Siobhan character on Melissa's blog every now and again, but didn't really get to know her until she started her blog this year. Even though she lives in Ireland, her needlework store is my LNS, Strawberry Sampler. Siobhan is an American married to a not-American. We girls have to stick together because, trust me, it's not all fun and games and mooning over his accent. No matter how sexy that accent may be. Siobhan has smoking needles, and she does giant projects like it's nothing at all. Very inspirational.