#ThankStitching No. 10 with Jackie Hritz

Jackie Hritz

Instagram: @bloomthreads

Today my family will celebrate the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps. As the wife of a Marine, I found that I had to regularly say goodbye both to my husband as he left for trainings and deployments, and to dear friends as we moved from unit to unit and base to base. As a way to cope with the constant change, I rediscovered a hobby from my childhood – hand embroidery. I started to make embroidered hankies as farewell gifts for my friends. Quiet time spent stitching gave me a chance to process my feelings, focus my energy, and cope with my anxiety. Eleven years later, I still channel my feelings through floss.

Needle art had always made my world better, but nine months ago I had an idea that lit a fire in me – what if I could use my craft to benefit my community? I opened my Etsy shop full of hand embroidered pieces, and I donate 100% of my prices to Semper Fi Fund, which gives assistance to wounded, injured, and critically ill American service members and their families.

That one decision opened a whole new world of possibilities for me. Since then, I’ve committed to spending a year “crafting kindness” – spending time every day stitching projects to raise spirits, awareness, or funds for good causes. I feel such a renewed sense of purpose and connection to the world around me. I’ve gotten to connect with the most generous, thoughtful, and creative people, and I am inspired and awed by the huge number of opportunities available to use the craft I love in ways that make the world better. For all of that, I am forever grateful.

#ThankStitching is a series of daily posts (and hourly posts on Thanksgiving) in the month of November in which needle artists from around the world submitted to me why they are thankful for their particular needleart.