Sunday, July 6, 2008

Introducing the Stitching Whimsies

I have a group of guest bloggers to introduce to you today--the Stitching Whimsies. See the Melissa Shirley canvas above? It's called The Stitching Club and the Whimsies are all stitching this canvas. But here's Gini to explain how they got started and what they are doing.

"Several stitchers who live in the Antelope Valley portion of Southern California decided to go to Queen Anne Stitches in Santa Clarita, CA, our "local" shop some 35 miles away, to spend the day stitching there. That was several months ago. Over time, the group grew sort of like Topsey, as additional people who stopped in the shop while we were there began coming back to stitch with us. We arrive every Thursday when the shop opens at 11. Then we stitch and chat for a while, break for lunch at one of the several nearby places, then stitch again until around 4. We don't always get a lot of stitching done, but we do have fun.

An aside about Heidi Bontempo (aka the Queen) and her shop… She's been the sole owner for two years, having bought out her partner (aka the Queen Mum). Heidi listens to what her customers want, continues to add new thread lines, carries a variety of canvas sizes, artists, and styles, has trunk shows every other month, and will soon have an online presence. She and Sherry Bray are both fun to be around, and the shop has a wonderfully warm, friendly vibe.

One day, we passed around the Needlepoint Now magazine with the article about Melissa Shirley. [Note: This is the March 2008 issue.] Someone suggested we do "The Stitching Club" together, in what Heidi and Sherry call a "who ha" group, essentially a self-directed class. It means we discuss the canvas, share ideas about stitches and threads for particular areas, and then decide what to do on our own canvas. We spend time passing our canvases around for comments,critiques, and encouragement. The canvas we are stitching is shown above. You can see others in this series here:

Heidi dubbed us the Whimsies to distinguish us in her own mind from her other groups, even though some of us have multiple memberships! Six of us are working on The Stitching Club -- Sharon, Gini, Kathy, Jackie, Lori and Nancy. And like our group, it's now known as The Stitching Whimsies. Some of us are far more interested in the process of stitching than in finishing any particular project. Some stitch daily, others less often. Most of us have a myriad of other projects at some stage of completion. And we all like to learn as much as we can from teachers and other stitchers. A core group of 6 or 7 attends regularly and others attend frequently. Heidi happened to show us a new canvas, Associated Talents' Funky Forest. Nancy was talking about ordering it for herself, when Lori piped up and suggested we do it as our next group project. Over a dozen people have ordered that one.

signed, Gini


I hope to have a Whimsy or two drop by about every other Sunday to update you on the progress on their canvases. It's easy to think that there is only one "right" way to stitch a painted canvas. When you see what each Whimsy does with the same canvas and how they all look good, the real charm of painted canvases and how they customize themselves to their stitcher's personality and tastes will be revealed!

Many thanks to the Whimsies for allowing themselves to be showcased here. And by the way, Queen Anne Stitches doesn't have a website or I'd be able to show you the natural habitat of Stitching Whimsies.

Main blog at


  1. Great fun! Sounds like a great group and this will be interesting to watch progress! thanks, for finding yet another fun one!

  2. They do sound like a fun group. I can't wait to see how each Whimsey stitched their canvas!