About

Meet JoAnn

Hello and welcome to Island House Needlepoint! My name is JoAnn Gardella, and I am the needlepointer / finisher / creator / business owner that has been entrusted with the privilege of converting thousands of your stitched needlepoint pieces into finished heirlooms.

I have always been a creative person with a passion for “problem solving”. Growing up I was heavily influenced by my father who imparted his love of the ocean and his quest for developing engineered products that had huge impacts on the quality of life for an uncountable number of people. Dad worked hard and played even Harder, meaning anytime that was not spent at work was spent sailing or working on his boats. Included in the working on boats department was his ability to sew, sails, bags, biminis, cushions you name it he could sew it. Our family room has always included an industrial sewing machine. As the oldest daughter I grew up and avid sailor that could also design and sew. I graduated university with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. Assuming I would never get an engineering job (it was the early 90s) as a recent college graduate I passed the US Coast Guard Exam and obtained a Master Captains License, with a plan to “go sailing”. Unfortunately for me within a month of my graduation I was recruited to develop medical devices. For 30+ years I worked in various rolls designing, developing, manufacturing, and ensuring quality of various devices. I have several patents and am sure the projects I have poured my energy into have had huge impact on the countless lives they have improved and saved.

I began needlepointing in college when I was given a Dimensions kit of the coastal town of Portsmouth. It is all stitched in scratchy wool, has a union jack on the yard arm and still looks as good in its frame as it did the day I finished it. I cross stitched, knitted and needlepoint on an off for many years between working full time and raising two children. As my children grew and went away to boarding school, I found more time and rekindled my love of needlepoint. Lucky for me my husband has always believed that needlepoint was cheaper than therapy and has always supported the calmness stitching brings me.

By 2011 I had a quite few ornaments I had stitched and decided I would give finishing them a try. I scoured the internet and could not come up with even one how to video or the like, so I went about “engineering” my technique. Armed with a Conair Twister Braid I made my first cord. Not too pretty at first but after a few I had a technique that worked to my satisfaction. I showed my creations to my local shops and began finishing for a few of them especially during the holiday rush. By January 2020 I had finished many thousands of ornaments for local shops and my youngest was soon to graduate from college. I decided that I was going to give up finishing as I no longer was going to need my side hustle to offset school bills.

Then COVID happened – the world as I knew it changed.
By the summer of 2020 I hade made may new needlepoint (Zoom) friends all over the country and across the pond in the UK and it was clear that I would not be giving up finishing. In June of 2020 I started Island House Needlepoint, LLC. In November I gave up my corporate job of 30+ years to become a full-time finisher. The rest is history. I love working with each of you and finishing your masterpieces! I care for each as it was my own and ensure that each new finish is “properly Engineered” to our full satisfaction.

I look forward to working with you!