Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Love This Project...Siobhan

Guest Blogger Tuesday
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.

16 comments:

valerie said...

Wow, what a wonderful story behind the sampler...not to mention it's stunning! Good job Siobhan!

Caroline said...

This is a gorgeous piece and a well told story - thanks.

Deb said...

I love this post and am thrilled to see Siobhan recognized! I've "known" her for a few years from the Legacy Embroiders site and she has done some fantastic things. She has inspired me (or should I say enabled me) so much! Her stitching is beautiful and inspiring.

Natasha said...

Great post.. I am a huge fan of Siobhan not only becasue she is an american living in Ireland but because she has got one wicked sense of humor.... She would be a great person to spend the day with and people watch ;)

Thanks

Patti said...

Anna thank you so much for choosing Siobhan for your Guest this month. I had been in a stitching group with Siobhan years ago and her stitching has always been amazing.

Thank you so much Siobhan for sharing this wonderful story with us and also for sharing your Justine's Sampler which is quite amazing. Sorry it can't be bought anymore or found anywhere.

Lots of Love Patti xxx

Katrina said...

Love the guest blogger idea! Very fun. My mom is the one with the British accent in our family. My dad met her when he was stationed in Oxford :-).

I've always loved Siobhan's Justine piece and knowing the story behind it is so special.

Melissa said...

What a great idea Anna! And it is a great post from Siobhan - have always loved her stitching!

Susan said...

Beautifully stitched and a beautifully sad story of Justine. Yes it is a shame it is no longer available as more stitchers would purchase having viewed this lovely. Great Job!

doris said...

Siobhan's blog is one of my favorite stops in blogland. She's an incredibly speedy and talented stitcher, and she makes me laugh with every post. I'm tempted to land on her doorstep!

Jan said...

Siobhan has been my long time enabler for several years! Not only does she stitch with the speed of lightening but she picks some awesome projects! That said, it was because of her finished Justine that I had to find it and purchase and kit! I really love this piece and hope to stitch it, in the not too distant future!

Great post, Siobhan, you always captivate my attention, no matter what you are talking about!

LadyDoc said...

The Justine is gorgeous!

I am reminded, again, of the blessings of the Internet. So many friendships have been born here and I treasure all of mine.

Thank you Siobhan for a lovely post, beautifully written.

Laura said...

Thank you for the wonderful story, Siobhan. I have a little one who is just getting interested in stitching. It amazes me to see the beautiful and intricate samplers made by young girls like Justine that live on for all of us to enjoy.

mainely stitching said...

What a gorgeous project!! Wow. And I love how so many people are tied up in the crosses that make the project complete ....

Siobhan, you do indeed have smoking needles! :D

Susan said...

I, too, have "known" Siobhan from Legacy Embroiderers, and I also share her LNS. Love this story! What a great example of the community the Internet has built!

Brigitte said...

I love the piece and Siobhan's story how she went to stitch it.

Michelle said...

That Siobhan is a character! Love her. And this piece is one of my favorites. Some day I'll get around to stitching it, and then I can be just like Siobhan. Maybe. A little.