We are in absolute awe of Stitch Therapy 365, the latest project by Helen Stubbings of Hugs ‘n Kisses. The project is based on a panel featuring 365 unique stitchable motifs — truly the perfect gift for any avid or beginner stitcher. In Helen’s words, it’s a way to slow things down, to take 5 minutes of ‘you’ time each and every day… to forget about the day to day needs… to feed your soul with just a needle and thread. We stitch for a reason and we stitch for the therapy of the process.
The project debuted at Quilt Market in Houston last Fall. We’d already been talking with Helen about putting together a coordinating thread collection, but the excitement really hit after seeing the project in person and talking with Helen about the process and her inspiration.
Helen has taken absolute care in putting everything together… from the panel itself to coordinating fabrics, from 20 vibrant 12wt colors for stitching to a perectly sized carrying case to keep everything together and keep you stitching on the go.
We know that there is already a tribe of followers stitching along, and we can’t wait to check out all of the interpretations, read the associated stories, and hear how this age-old practice of stitching brings joy to your lives!
If you’re just learning of this all now, have no fear, you can dive into the project at any time and take the motifs at your own pace. Head to the project site for all the info you’ll need to get started! Helen has some great tips below and we know you’ll love learning more about how this project all came to be!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Stitch Therapy 365
100% Aurifil 12wt Cotton, 20 Small Spools (54yd/spool)
2510 – 2455 – 1133 – 2235 – 2145 – 2435 – 2135 – 2720 – 2740 – 2250
2710 – 5018 – 1103 – 5023 – 2520 – 2423 – 2882 – 1128 – 2888 – 2260
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HELEN & STITCH THERAPY 365…
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
My grandmother – I grew up with stitching all around me and she taught all of us to sew, knit, crochet and embroider. Interestingly however, she didn’t start quilting until her 70’s when my sister and I were both heavily into it – it was so nice to give our skills back to her at that time.
As to doing it as a full time passion, it was when in my first career as a service musician, with many hours spent on buses driving to parades and gigs, that I learnt to make every minute count – and always have some stitching with me. Being married to a soldier, relocating every couple of years, no family support and deployments etc – the best support I found was the Defence craft groups and communities. This led me into a first dabbling and then eventually a full time, moveable business.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is the seeing the therapy that stitching brings to people – any creative endeavour and how it empowers people to believe in themselves and make a difference.
(We love how supportive and encouraging Helen is… both as an individual and in her business! <3 )
Tell us about Stitch Therapy 365 and how the idea for the project came to be.
My quilting journey has led me into charity work, using the skills to make a difference to others. I have so often seen what stitching can bring, whether it be receiving a made article, or the therapy of the learning and doing it themselves. This side of stitching has become very important to me with many many comments and emails from customers and stitcher’s saying how one of my patterns or classes has changed their lives. My focus has become very much about this. My plan for this project was to bring people together from around the world in this community – and encourage them to take their 5 minutes of ‘me’ time each day. Mindfulness, slow stitching, therapy – all buzz words, but real in a sense that the repetitive nature of pulling a needle and thread really does have proven meditative benefits, as well as being good for the soul.
We live such busy frantic lives and its us that gets left til last to pamper, heal or just have silence… my idea was to design a project that would just be that ‘5’ minutes a day, all prepped ready to go when you can find those few spare minutes – and build a community of support, inspiration and encouragement around it.
What are your hopes for the project and how it will both inspire and educate sewists throughout the year?
My hopes are that people will share their journey, and what it brings to them… meet other like- minded friends around the world and engage… Also that they do take their mindfulness moment each day and that that brings them a sense of peace and accomplishment, shutting out the problems of the world, achieving and being excited about doing so. There are many instructional videos included to learn or perfect different techniques, the IG online stitchalong to encourage people to share their work and have a sense of pride about it – with lovely sponsors and prizes to be won also of course, and a series of beautiful blog posts about real life experiences, information and advice from experts, and stories of hope and encouragement around the ‘therapy of stitching’.
And the facebook group where everyone is supportive, sharing and discussing various elements and life stories.
When did you first discover Aurifil thread and what do you love most about them?
I’ve been using Aurifil 40 and 50 wt thread for many years, first using it for my Colourque® technique as an embroidery thread with the best range of colours. Since then I grew to use it for piecing and machine quilting, but never for hand work. Being an Aurifil BOM designer in 2017 I was sent some samples of other weights to try and first used the 12 wt in that block as a hand embroidery thread. When deciding on a quality thread with consistency and availability for this year long project the 12 wt was my choice. I love not having to split stranded floss, and use a single strand straight off a reel – perle threads are my favourite and give much nicer results in my opinion for satin stitch and backstitch. And then the range of colours is just lovely. To have them all packaged in a special box was just the icing on the cake.. Who doesn’t love drooling over a box of glorious colour?
Do you have an stitching tips or hints?
My main tip is never to be too critical of your work. Finish the piece and sit back for awhile, if it still bothers you, then take it out and do it again… no-one ever starts out perfect, so just enjoy the learning journey – watch all my videos for my hints and tips and you will get there – and when you do, you will be so satisfied.
What is the best way for us to stitch along with you and share our progress?
To sign up to join in the project visit http://stitchtherapy365.ontrapages.com/ It is an ongoing automated program so you can join in at any time, but you do need to purchase at least the panel to start.
To join the facebook group visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/stitchtherapy365.
To enter-to-win the Stitch Therapy 365 Thread Collection by Helen Stubbings of Hugs ‘n Kisses for Aurifil, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Sunday, January 13! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday, January 14. Good luck!
Helen Stubbings is just a normal country girl who grew up ‘making’… She is the designer behind the Hugs ‘n Kisses brand which has grown simply from a pure love of stitching. With no formal art education, no university degree but a drive and passion that has brought her to where she is today.
Hugs ‘n Kisses was born out of a life in Defence. Helen was first a full time professional musician in the Australian Army, with many hours wasted on buses traveling to parades and gigs. Her solution? Take up cross-stitch, then embroidery, then sewing, then patchwork, and then anything else she could get her hands on.
Helen became an army wife – moving around the country with no family support, a husband away a lot and two small children. Stitching (her general term for all things patchwork, quilting, sewing, embroidery etc) was her savior – a way to meet other like minded supportive people, a way to pass the days home with children, a way to achieve something for herself.
Since officially forming in 2001, Hugs ‘n Kisses has now grown to a worldwide business. Helen travels across the world teaching, she and her partners sell their patterns, books and products worldwide and she feels lucky to meet like minded passionate stitchers in every country.