Stitcher Spotlight: Jimi McConnell

Tell me a little bit about yourself...I started my needlepoint finishing career with Georgette Shupe (creator of Georgette's Angels) at The Village Stitches in Bloomington almost 50 years ago. Before that I enjoyed sewing for my family as well as doing small upholstery projects for my many pieces of antique furniture. I had done some needlepoint in the past and finished my own items. At that time finishing needlepoint was a matter of simple knife edged and boxed pillows. We finished all ornaments with a puffy finish, mostly with no twisted edging. We did stand ups with knife edges only. 

How did you get into needlepoint finishing? Georgette Shupe asked me to do her finishing after finding out I had made my husband’s leisure suit (lol, in double knit, of course)! We became close friends over the years up until her death in 2008. I still miss her! She was a very creative and wonderful person!

What is your favorite thing to stitch? Georgette’s angels have always been fun for me because of their cuteness and because they make such sweet and quick gifts! Since I am still actively doing finishing for a Chicago shop (Emily’s Stitchery) as well as 12 of my closest friends I have a very busy schedule. I rely on the angels for personal touches given with larger gifts as well.

A tree full of Georgette’s angels by Wendy Zimmer, a customer of Village Stitches
What was your favorite Angel of hers that you finished? We had a large version of one of the angels accepted for display on the White House Christmas tree during the Clinton era. We were invited to come to the White House for a celebration along with other “artists” selected. Georgette attended, but I decided I needed to stay and do the finishing for our shop’s Christmas deadline! I regret that decision now.

 Clinton Christmas Tree

 Clinton Letter Georgette's Angels

What is your next project? I am now 82 years of age and still do a huge volume of finishing.  The finishing is far more complicated now with all the advanced stitching with beads and ribbons, etc. The projects I do now are so much more varied, such as boxed stand-ups, stockings with gussets, trays, wall hangings, and even purses. Over the years I have completed 19 Rebecca Wood stockings for our family, along with many Georgette angels and tooth fairy pillows for grandchildren, etc. I do still enjoy the finishing more than the stitching!

In my spare time my husband and I enjoy ballroom dancing and riding our bicycles along with spoiling the grandchildren. I know I will need to retire one of these years, but not this one! 

1 comment

  • Sara Luedtke

    I was in charge of this program at the White House. Interesting the year before some one had hit the tree looking for her ornament. Thus this year they divided the tree in sections and told us where our ornament was placed. We were welcomed to the White House for a reception to see the tree. I am the former owner of The Collection. Thank you for the memories.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published