What made you want to teach on the IQA Cruise?
Helen Stubbings: I love cruising! And I love teaching and sharing my passion of stitching. And stitching on a cruise is the most therapeutic way to do it! What else could you ask for? Peaceful serentity, great views, cocktails on hand, great company and slow stitching—forget about the worries of the world and just indulge. And, I’ve never been to the Caribbean—how exciting!

Give us a preview of what you’ll be teaching in your class.
I love all things handwork and this is the perfect genre to learn on a ship. Not only in class, but then you have portable work to stitch around the pool, on your cabin balcony watching the world cruise by, in the lounge with other new stitching friends—you don’t have to stop when class ends at dinner time—your therapy can continue into the night…

So my classes all involved handwork, but I also love to maybe teach you a new method or technique that you may not have tried before. So I have tried to offer a few options including: stitchery and embroidery, English Paper Piecing (hexies and clamshells) and needleturn appliqué the Hugs ‘n Kisses way and some Colourque® (coloring pencil on fabric to look like appliqué—this is hugely fun and relaxing!). And small projects that you can continue with around the ship and then finish off with your machine at home after the cruise.

Other than being on a boat in the middle of the sea, what is different about teaching a class on a cruise and not a classroom?
Well, sometimes it is a bit rocky! And sometimes we have to be out of there ready for dinner—but the best bit is we can just pickup and move and stitch by the pool, or in one of the many lounges or bars around the ship. You don’t have to finish the housework first, or cook the dinner, or do the washing, or pick up the kids. The worries of life are out of reach, so there’s nothing to do but enjoy, indulge and stitch! Oh, and if you’ve forgotten to bring something—sorry we don’t have the quiltshop on hand, so we make do, share and sort it out however we can, but it always works out in the end.

If you had one quilting “superpower” what would it be? 
Time! I need double or more time in a day—but only the hours I can stitch—housework can stay as it is!

What do you hope your students take away from this cruise?
New friendships, new passions, new techniques and a new love of all things stitching. And I hope that every student leaves on a total high – with a sense of satisfaction and great memories to treasure forever.

About Helen!
Helen comes from Hobart, at the very bottom of Tasmania, which is an Island state at the very bottom of Australia. Growing up on a farm near a very small country town, Helen learned to entertain herself from a young age. Learning to use her hands to achieve her ideas was a necessity. Hence, with a dressmaker and embroiderer for a grandmother, a mother as a pianist and florist, and a father who could make anything from wood or metal, it was pretty much pre-determined that she was going to be creative!

Her first career path saw her artistic talents emerge as a professional musician—a career that she pursued for many years. During this time, she used the many hours spent on tour buses to perfect her skills as an embroiderer and stitcher.

Moving around the country, often with her husband (also a musician), her business developed into the internationally known business of today—Hugs' n Kisses. Self-publishing over 200 patterns, four books and many products, Helen has been featured in many internationally well known craft, quilt and embroidery magazines. Her latest book, Simply Redwork, is packed full of gift and quilt projects using her favorite go-to color red.

Helen’s newest passion is English paper piecing using her own branded iron on, leave in papers. She has a Craftsy class which teaches you everything you need to know to perfect this addictive method.

Venturing into fabric design for Red Rooster over the past 5 years completes her dream of making beautiful things from beautiful fabrics for all to enjoy.

Today, Helen lives with her three beautiful daughters and husband. She works from her home studio at the bottom of the world, travelling to teach and share her love of all things stitching.

Visit to see all Hugs' n Kisses
products, to share in her daily happenings
or to access her patterns wholesale.

IQA Cruise Teacher Spotlight: Cheryl Lynch
IQA Cruise Teacher Spotlight: Cherry Guidry