Threads of Life
03 Nov 2022
Stitch Club Charleston nurtures a storied craft
By Sharon Antonacio
Photos by Coco Frank
Coffee, wine, kids, fashion, dogs and stitching. Getting to know new friends. Having conversations and creating cherished family heirlooms. All of it is happening at Stitch Club Charleston.
It’s where members open up their hearts, souls and hands, learning from one another.
Stitch Club Charleston has blossomed and grown to become an important part of the Charleston community. The group gathers at various locations in Charleston, including local restaurants and hotel lobbies and bars in the downtown area to socialize and work on their crafts, from pillows to patches. The group truly personifies “art in action.”
While members span all ages, Stitch Club Charleston brings a new generation of needlepointers together in the Holy City. Some are young mothers that have just recently learned how to needlepoint from spending more time at home. Some are working outside the home in many professions, including many business owners.
All agree that this ancient hobby has provided a much-needed creative outlet, a way to meet friends, as well as create beautiful and personal heirlooms for their homes and families for years to come. The result is a new passion that takes time, creativity, and most of all, patience.
Just ask Sarah Allen, from Virginia, who was taught how to needlepoint at a young age by her mother. Sarah took over Stitch Club Charleston in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic. The club has grown to include a group of women, young and old that come together once a month to stitch, tell stories, and socialize in the Charleston community.
Especially during the pandemic, this pastime has risen to the top of social circles as a way of creating and sharing techniques and family stories and there are now a plethora of projects being finished that will be future heirlooms and gifts for daughters, sons, grandchildren and friends. “Needlepoint was my lifeline during COVID,” Allen said. “I was stuck at home working and looking for a positive and constructive activity. I had always loved needlepoint, but I’m really addicted now.”
Coco Frank, another member of Stitch Club Charleston, is a designer and has recently started her own business designing canvases and creating kits with threads. Some of her most vivid childhood memories are stitching with her sister and maternal grandmother.
“Needlepoint was something I re-taught myself and it was pretty easy to do,” says Frank. “I feel closer to my grandmother when I stitch. Needlepoint canvases are pieces of art that you bring to life with your own twist and stitching is relaxing and it keeps me off my phone and gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Frank is newly married and her current project, outside of running her business, is stitching stockings for her and her husband to hang over their fireplace every holiday.
“It truly is a representation of the life we are building together and is something we can pass down to our family for generations to come,” Frank said.
Katie Burchhardt, another member of Stitch Club, has delved into making stockings and heirlooms for her new family like there is no tomorrow. Katie had just relocated to Charleston from California and was looking to meet new friends and feel “at home” in her new community. She was introduced to Stitch Club Charleston by a friend and decided to re-learn the craft once again.
“Needlepointing has been such a gift of friendship. Between meeting new friends at Stitch Club Charleston, or chatting with another stitcher at a local cafe, it has been a special journey,” Burchhardt said.
“Needlepoint has also taught me about legacy…my grandmother stitched a gorgeous piece in the 70’s and I now have it proudly hanging in our home, helping me to feel closer to my relatives and like we are celebrating and honoring our families.”
For more information on upcoming meetups, follow the club on Instagram @stitchclubcharleston. Bring whatever you are working on, or just come as you are to mingle and “sip.” To get started, Coco Frank, a designer of needlepoint canvases and kits and member of Stitch Club Charleston, offers tutorials on how to do the basics. Follow her at @CocoFrankStudio.