Hinsdale a key thread in tapestry of woman's life

Sharon Taylor knew little about Hinsdale before she and her late husband, Ira, settled into the village 36 years ago. But on Princeton Road, the Taylors found the place they would all call home.

"It's been fun ever since," Taylor said of her time in Hinsdale, a place she said she will continue to consider home even after her impending move to be closer to her son and three of her five grandchildren. The move to Naperville takes her just 15 miles away, which means Taylor can still attend Union Church and even do her shopping here, as she has for more than three decades.

"I can't imagine not shopping at Kramer's," she said.

Another constant in Taylor's life will continue after her move. Since age 17, Taylor has enjoyed creating decor, gifts and keepsakes with needlepoint.

It all started when, while recovering from recurrent strep throat as a teenager, Taylor's mother introduced her to needlepoint to combat her boredom. She started by creating a simple daisy design using the continental stitch.

"It became a lifelong hobby," said Taylor, whose designs have become much more intricate and elaborate since those first stitches 45 years ago. She said the rhythm and repetitiveness relaxes her and slows her down.

"It's a marvelous thing to do," Taylor said.

Just as Taylor's discovery of needlework was spawned by boredom, many others turned to the craft to occupy their hands and minds during the long, lonely months of COVID-19.

"There's been an explosion of younger people in the needlecraft arts," said Taylor, who, as a part-time employee at The Canvasback needlepoint spot in Northfield, offers advice, guidance and tips to other needleworkers.

Since starting the job 10 years ago, Taylor said it's become much more than a place to work.

"It's been the best experience I've ever had," she said. "It helps me keep my buttons," she said, borrowing a phrase her mother used to refer to keeping her mind and thoughts in order.

While some needlepointers embellish their designs with ribbons, beads and other materials, Taylor sticks to thread. But those threads have become much more colorful over the years.

Despite the intricate and aesthetically pleasing results of her hobby, Taylor said she doesn't consider herself an artist.

"It's like paint by numbers with thread," she said.

But that doesn't stop friends and strangers alike from admiring her work. It was during a tea for some ladies of Union Church that Taylor remembers first sharing her work. Her guests noticed the holiday-themed projects throughout her home, which started an annual tradition for the group.

One of Taylor's favorite things to create are purses, which she has gifted to help raise money for various organizations in town, including the Hinsdale Historical Society.

Taylor's current project is Christmas stockings for her grandchildren. She's also made pillows for their beds and a box to hold her granddaughter's baby teeth.

"I love to give people gifts," she said.

- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff