Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 4, 2011

Homemade: In Stitches

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse, built at the tip of Michigan's Thumb in 1857, is featured in one of the Presque Isle Needleworks cross-stitch kits

Lighthouse lovers and long-time friends Ilona Stroupe and Judy Kimball have been keeping eachother in stitches since they met as teenagers in Presque Isle, near Grand Lake and Alpena.

Maggie Nelson (center) of the Mackinac Art Museum instructs cross-stitcher Judy Kimball (right) in drawing a turtle

Judy and I got to chatting during a visit to the Mackinac Art Museum on Mackinac Island; after looking at the art we’d dropped in at an informal workshop and tried to draw turtles. We decided that our talents lie elsewhere.

Hers is in creating cross-stitch kits with her life-long friend Ilona.

Judy lives in Presque Isle and Ilona lives in Ohio, but over the decades they have always made it a point to get together, to enjoy eachother’s company, make handicrafts, and share their love of lighthouses.

In 1983 they put it all together and founded Presque Isle Needleworks.

Pointe Aux Barques cross-stitch

Their first product was a cross-stitch kit of the “new” Presque Isle Lighthouse (circa 1870), followed by the “old” 1840 Presque Isle Lighthouse.

Presque Isle Lighthouse quilt pattern

Since then they’ve created at least one new lighthouse pattern every year, and now have more than 40 cross-stitch kits—mostly Michigan lighthouses—as well as two cross-stitch books of lighthouse patterns and lighthouse quilt patterns in their online store.

Each $10 cross-stitch kit includes the materials for creating a 5″x7″ image of the light.

The $8 paper-piecing quilt patterns create a 12″x12″ square.

Though I’d like to believe I could make something of these kits, I think I’d better stick to taking pictures of lighthouses.



  1. Thanks for sharing.I was looking for this.

    • Great!

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