Helen Stubbings

Why this particular craft? I have tried so many other crafts and I didn’t actually choose to get into quilting – I was more of a fine embroiderer and was doing a two-year Cert IV in needlework when the class had to vote on the final elective; I voted for Elizabethan blackwork, but the majority ruled and patchwork it was.

Who taught you your crafting skills? I grew up with my grandmother showing me all of her skills. I inherited her fancywork box and also had my own, which she started for me when I was young. She taught me knitting, crocheting, embroidery and she was a dressmaking. She didn’t find patchwork, however, until her 70s, so it was nice that my sister and I had this to work on and learn together.

Why this skill – and this style? I like so many styles and so many techniques. I just can’t do one. I seem to have settled into four main techniques now – needleturn appliqué, embroidery/stitchery, Colourque (a technique of colouring pencil on fabric to look like appliqué) and English paper piecing. I have, over the years, perfected my methods to make them the easiest, most achievable and most enjoyable for myself and for all levels of my students. I’ve managed to take out the bits that aren’t fun (eg. removing epp papers) and adjust techniques so they work for machine or hand workers. I like to keep everyone happy and inspired.

Have you tried plenty of others? Oh, yes - tole painting, tissue boxes, folk-art terracotta pots, macramé, Hobbytex, doll making, Knitwit – stretch sewing my own knickers!, you name it! I’ve also tried any kind of embroidery I could get my hands on – silk ribbon, Brazilian, stumpwork, goldwork, wool, crewel, hardanger, tatting, blackwork, cross stitch and more.

Do you think of your craft as passion or a spare-time-filler? It’s a passion, it’s my therapy, and I need to achieve something for myself each day to make me whole. But I also know how short life can be, and hate to waste a minute of it, so although I can sit and watch a TV show with the kids, I can also stitch at the same time, making the most of every chance – and they are well used to pins in the carpet and thread on all of their clothes.

From where do you draw inspiration? My inspiration is everywhere. I always carry a camera (now a phone) whenever I travel. I take photographs of a lot of design elements, from architecture to nature. I research and take a lot from embroidery and design of other cultures – eg Hungarian embroidery, Scandinavian design and vintage designs.

What are your favourite materials to work with? I can’t live without: my appliqué paper; my epp iron-ons; my iron-on transfers; my special Hugs ‘n Kisses needles; my glue pen; and my KKB scissors. Of course, it’s also very nice to have my very own fabrics to play with too.

@helen_stubbings

www.hugsnkisses.net

www.hugsnkisses.typepad.com

helen@hugsnkisses.net

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  1. Styled shot of mini christmas appliqué wallhanging quilt on armchair
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    Quilting Christmas Greetings Wallhanging
    USD $9.09
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    Quilting Hiding Bunnies Quilt
    USD $9.09
  3. New Little Miss Sunshine Quilt
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    Quilting Little Miss Sunshine Quilt
    USD $11.37
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