Superior's Blog Posts

  • Longarm Tension Issues

    Stop Thread Breaking

    Do you have thread breakage or shredding on your longarm quilting machine?  Do you experience frustration with looping or birds nests? 

    We’re here to help!  Our first tip: use Superior Threads (we know you saw that coming!).

    Our second tip is to read our education articles.  If you can’t find the answer, please call, email, or visit our booth at one of the many quilt shows we attend.  Sometimes the answer is a simple adjustment, and we’d like to help you make that adjustment before you sprout a few more white frustration hairs!

    Today’s longarm tension tip comes from a happy customer, Ron, who visited us at Houston Quilt Festival.

    “I have a longarm, which has a 36 inch throat, so the top thread path is quite long. Fantastico and Magnifico were frequently breaking.  I tried many things with no success.

    However, after speaking with Bob at the convention, I decided to try relieving the tension via the three hold guide near the front of the machine.  Normally, I go through the top hole, wind around, then through the bottom hole.  I tried just having the thread pass through the center hole with no winding.  

    tension plate

    Voilà!  Worked great.  I took the most difficult of my Fantastico threads and have completed six quilts with no problem.  And, since there were no other changes, it is very easy to change back for using other threads. Thank you for helping me solve my thread issues.”

    What a happy ending.  May we help you with your longarm quilting frustrations?

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  • Backing mistakes and what to do about it!

    How to fix backing problems

    Your backing constitutes half of your quilt.  We often spend countless hours on the quilt top.  It’s important to not lose steam and skimp on the quilt back.  Here are a few common troubles when it comes to backing and how to remedy them.

    Too-small backing

    Add to the top/bottom or sides to make up for the smallness.  Sometimes you can add evenly around (think borders on your backing).  If your backing is the exact same size as your top, sometimes you can temporarily add  4” strips around the border.  The danger in this is possibly adding an extra seam on your edge.

    Not cut straight

    If you tragically find your backing has been unevenly cut, center your backing on your quilt, cut the uneven edge(s) and add extra backing fabric to one or both sides.


    When you sew the seam down the center of your back, trim of the selvage.  The selvage has no give so it’s important to trim the extra prior to quilting.  The center seam is the widest on your quilt.  Be sure to iron the ½” seam open.


    It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m making a twin size quilt; I will use a twin size sheet for the backing”.  Sheets are typically made from mixed fibers.  Usually, sheets have a looser weave than the high-quality fabrics that you used on your quilt top.  The looser weave can allow batting to poke through the quilted stitches (the dreaded bearding!).

    Have you had backing troubles while quilting?  Let us know what they were and what you did about it in the comments below!

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  • 7 Tips to Eliminating Frustration When Using Minky Fabrics

    Tips for using Minky Fabric

    We love the feel of Minky fabrics.  So cuddly, warm, and perfect for snuggling!  It’s a wonderful fabric, but we frequently hear, “If only it were easier to sew with!”

    Never fear, there are ways to make sewing with Minky less of a challenge!  Today we’re discussing 7 tips on how to eliminate frustration when using Minky fabrics.

    1. Get Rid of That Fluff!

    Not entirely, of course.  Minky tends to have a lot of loose fuzz.  It’s almost like stitching a Muppet costume for all the fluff that ends up in the machine, the floor, your hair, etc.  Prior to cutting or pinning, take your fabric outside and give it a good shake.  Keep your vacuum or lint roller nearby when cutting.  Your machine and your home will thank you for it!

    2. Pin Like Crazy

    Pins are your best friend with this fabric.  Minky behaves best when pins are placed 1-1.5” apart.

    3. Use a size #90/14 Topstitch needle

    Minky is a bit thicker than cotton fabric.  The thicker fabric can be more abrasive on the needle and thread.  Using a larger #90/14 Topstitch needle protects the thread and ensures less thread shredding and breaking. 

    4. Use a walking foot

    Do not stretch Minky while sewing.  Using a walking foot maintains even pressure and avoids stretching.   The walking foot also prevents slipping.  For more stability, try hand basting prior to quilting. Lengthen your stitch to 3.0-3.5 mm.

    5. Understand Nap 

    The nap of a fabric is the direction of its pattern, but in Minky’s case it’s the direction of the texture.  If you iron Minky it will ruin the nap (so don’t even think about it!).  Another fun fact is Minky doesn’t stretch lengthwise, it stretches on the crosswise grain and bias.  Be sure you have your stretch in the right direction prior to stitching!

    6. Use a Rotary Cutter

    It’s much easier to cut Minky with a rotary cutter.  Rotary cutters ensure clean, even lines.  Keep in mind the nap when cutting!

    7. Clean your Sewing Machine

    It’s a definite must to clean your machine after you’ve finished sewing with Minky.  If you see your stitch quality start to deteriorate mid-sewing, it’s a great idea to stop and clean out your machine and possibly change your needle.

    Follow these tips for an easier time quilting with Minky.  Today we had only time to share 7 tips, but we know there are more!  Please share your tips for sewing with Minky in the comments below!

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  • Instagram Winner!

    Win Fantastico

    Congratulations to @cottonblossomquilting, winner of our #MatchMonday giveaway!  Please contact to claim your prize.

    She won 3 spools of Fantastico, our fantastic high-strength high-sheen polyester thread.  Fantastico is perfect for quilting or embroidery.  With 150+ colors to choose from, you're sure to find your #perfectmatch.

    Follow @superiorthreads on Instagram for your chance to win our next giveaway!

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  • Divide and Conquer Quilting - Part 2

    Swan Sheridan

    Guest blog:  Swan Amity Sheridan shares how to simplify quilting with the “Divide and Conquer” technique.  This is part two of two. (Part one here)

    Step 3

    Quilt the dividing lines.  (When the dividing lines are straight, a walking foot or a free motion foot may be used depending on the preference of the quilter.)  Notice that once all the ditching is complete and the dividing lines have been quilted, all the basting pins should be removed.

    Swan Sheridan

    With all the pins out of the project, the quilt will be more maneuverable and less likely to snag on any surfaces.  The free motion is now more truly free to move smoothly, allowing you to quilt without hesitations.     

    Step 4

    Quilting within the new division lines, create simple, continuous-line shapes that are both easy to create and complementary. I call these “foundational elements.” 

    Swan Sheridan

    Since the goal here was to create the illusion of light moving through the background, my chosen foundation elements look like curling ribbons. Two of the open spaces are left empty to allow for a different style of quilting. 

    Step 5 

    Use the foundational elements as guides to build detail quilting into the project.  This will allow a framework or “context” for micro-quilting both into and around the original lines. 

    Swan Sheridan

    An additional benefit of this method is the ability to hide any stops and starts in the edge of foundational element, providing the appearance of smoother thread changes and more flowing quilting.

    When the center of the quilt is finished, the same process is applied to the border quilting.

    Swan Sheridan

    With Divide and Conquer Quilting, the final results are stunning! The viewer is offered movement, flow, and clean organization in the quilt, providing an improved experience.  At the same time, the quilter has the ability to define spaces, move smoothly, and eliminate disjointed quilting with hidden connections in the context of foundational elements; dense or detailed quilting thus becomes more manageable.

    This quilt is now ready to bind and enjoy! 

    Other examples of quilted projects that employ Divide and Conquer Quilting techniques by Swan.

    Swan Sheridan

    Swan Sheridan

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  • Divide and Conquer Quilting – Part 1

    Swan Sheridan

    Guest blog:  Swan Amity Sheridan shares how to simplify quilting with the “Divide and Conquer” technique.  This is part one of two. (Part two here).

    Hooray!  Your latest masterpiece quilt top is finished and you are ready to baste and quilt!  This is the stage at which so many of us (even the most active quilters) say “Now what?”  Often the hardest part of determining how to quilt a project is creating a plan that allows us to move easily through the quilt with the least resistance.  With these simple organizational techniques, this process can be made not only easier, but infinitely more rewarding.  

    Swan Sheridan

    Let’s start with an applique project, though Divide and Conquer Quilting techniques can easily apply to any quilt.  The quilt top has been pin basted and the thread choice is underway.

    Step 1

    With an applique project, it’s best to begin by ditching the edge of the applique pieces to help them pop out.  Thread selections for this portion are best made to closely color match the color behind the applique pieces.  This might require several thread changes.  In this case, I have chosen multiple colors from Super Threads’ MasterPiece collection.  The threads are #50 to help get nice and close to the applique edge without interfering with the appeal of the applique pieces.

    Swan Sheridan

    Working from the center outward, start by ditching the pieces that are most behind other pieces (usually the first pieces that were appliqued into position), working towards the topmost pieces.  Using a self-threading needle, bury threads as you go, passing the buried tails through previously quilted lines to ensure that they hold.

    Swan Sheridan

    Finish ditching the applique by outlining the whole image.  For this portion, I choose a thread color that will match my background fabric. 

    Step 2 

    Create a plan to divide the area of the background into manageable areas.  In most cases, this will be the only marking necessary for this quilting method.  My vision for this quilt was to add movement of light to the background, so I have divided the background into “rays of light” all coming from one direction.  My thread goals have also changed and now I am looking for a stronger visual impact. For the remaining quilting, I will be using King Tut cotton thread from Superior Threads.  The heavier #40 thread and the variegated dye-pattern produce powerful results.

    Swan Sheridan

    Return tomorrow to see the next steps in Swan's tutorial!

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  • Should I prewash my fabric?

    Should I prewash my fabric?

    Do you still spend time prewashing your fabrics? 

    Those prewash days are over.  Quality fabric has such small shrinkage there is no need to prewash.  If fabric companies wanted us to prewash, they wouldn’t be cutting them into 5” squares, 2.5” strips, and all the precuts they do because they are impossible to wash.  Can you imagine trying to wash those pieces, and iron them?  Whew what a mess!

    Sometimes we meet people that still prewash their fabrics.  If you’re using high-quality cotton fabrics, you don’t need to.  Your mother or grandmother may have taught you to prewash all fabric.  Our grandmas were using flour sacks to make quilts, yes, they needed to wash their fabrics.  We live in luxurious modern times so forget prewashing and get straight to stitching!

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  • #MATCHmonday Instagram Winner!

    Congratulations to our Instagram #MATCHmonday winner @mosesbasketdesigns!  She won 3 spools of King Tut of her choice.  @mosesbasketdesigns please contact to claim your prize!

    We want to help you find your #perfectmatch.  Follow us on Instagram @superiorthreads and stay tuned for our next #MATCHmonday giveaway!
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  • Superior Stars: Helen Stubbings

    Helen Stubbings

    Helen Stubbings travels the world teaching embroidery, redwork, appliqué, and English Paper Piecing.  She developed Hugs ‘n Kisses appliqué which changed the future of appliqué and English Paper Piecing.  If you haven’t had the chance to take a class from Helen, watch a few of her great tutorials on her site.

    We’re excited to share Helen’s beautiful quilt Cornelian.

    Cornelian by Helen Stubbings


    Cornelian by Helen Stubbings

    Beautifully quilted!

    Helen’s quilt uses her amazing hexies and is hand appliqued using SuperBobs Red and Cream.  The outer red boarder is stitched using MonoPoly.   Helen says, “I only use MasterPiece cones in for all my piecing.”

    Are you in love with this quilt?  You can make one too!  This kit is available here

    Learn more about Helen and her teaching schedule here.

    Images courtesy of Helen Stubbings.

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  • Does Superior have an embroidery thread?

    YES!  We love embroidery as much as you and offer several threadlines to choose from!

    We have several trilobal polyester threads which offer incredible strength and shine.  Magnifico, Fantastico and  Twist are high-strength polyester embroidery threads which add great dimension and depth to any design.  If you embroider with earth tones, we recommend Nature Colors or Living Colors. 

    Need more sparkle?  You’ll love our Metallic thread.  See how easily and beautifully it stitches here:

    Looking for something flashier?  Try our flat, hologram thread, Glitter

    Glitter Thread is Pretty

    Once you’ve found the right sparkle and shade for your design, don’t forget your bobbins!  We LOVE our prewound bobbins.  They save us so much time and energy and eliminate the frustration associated with  frequent bobbin changes.  Our prewounds are available in the three most common sizes: Class 15, L-style, and M-style.  Check out our Bobbin Headquarters page to learn all about Superior’s prewounds.  

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  • Insta Winner!


    Congratulations to @sewsomethingcutequilts winner of our #MATCHmonday giveaway!

    Follow us on Instagram @superiorthreads for your chance to win next time!

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  • The General is here!

    We’re not talking about Bob either!

    Superior Sergin General

    Our brand new thread, Sergin’ General is everything you’re looking for in a high-quality serger thread.  Sergin' General is the cleanest serger thread available. A cleaner serger thread allows you to spend more time at your machine sewing garments, creating pillows and purses, and adding rolled hems to table runners by reducing the lint which can clog your machine. Paired with excellent strength and elongation, you will experience smoother stitches with less puckering when sewing with Sergin' General on your serger or overlock machine.

    Sergin General

    Sergin' General is a Tex 30, 100% polyester (poly-wrapped poly core) thread (also known as a corespun thread). This fiber composition makes Sergin' General the top choice for sewing on a serger, as the nature of the thread allows for flatter seams with little-to-no bulk. Available in 50 solid colors specifically chosen by serging experts for their excellent blending tones and ability to work with many different fabric colors.

    Enjoy Superior confidence when sewing with Sergin' General on all your serger projects.   

    Save 25% on Sergin' General until October 31, 2015. Every color is on sale for only $5.99 (reg. $7.99)

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  • Which Variegated Thread Should I Use?

    Choose Superior!

    Variegated threads are my favorite.  I love how they can accent and emphasize or perfectly compliment the fabric and pattern.  I’m on a variegated kick now and as I work on fall/winter projects I am consistently being pulled back to using them on my quilts. 

    All variegated thread is not alike.  Superior variegated thread has a rare and wonderful quality: precision dye.  Precision dye is a true color line up with no bleeding.  All of Superior’s variegated colors are precision dyed with a 1-inch color change (opposed to random dye pattern).   With Superior you can make an accurate prediction of what color will appear in each place on your quilt.

    We have several variegated threads that can be used for quilting.  Each of the threads listed below are recommended to be quilted with a size #18/4.0 needle on a longarm or #90/14 on a home machine.

    King Tut Thread

    King Tut is an extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. Known as 'Nature's finest thread', King Tut has a gorgeous matte finish and is excellent for quilting. The bold, variegated colors are gorgeous and the tone-on-tones add a subtle and beautiful color change to any quilt.


    Rainbows is a high-sheen variegated polyester.  Several bold multi-color or blendable tone-on-tones make this 60 shade collection a must have! (Bonus:  this thread is lint free!)

    So Fine! #40

    So Fine! #40 Did you know So Fine! is available in variegated colors?  Absolutely!  This Australian-themed line offers great color combinations in matte-finish polyester. (G’day mate!)


    Fantastico is a high-tenacity trilobal polyester thread which is strong, bright, and beautiful.  Manufactured to be stronger than standard trilobal polyester threads, Fantastico quilts like a smooth, sailing dream.   This high-sheen thread is prefect when you want a little luster in your design.

    Try our Variegated Thread Finder to help select the perfect shade for your current quilt!

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  • Instagram Winner!


    Congratulations to @cottonmillthreadworks for being our #MATCHmonday contest winner!  She won 5 packages of Superior's titanium-coated Topstitch needles!

    Follow us @superiorthreads on Instagram and watch for our next giveaway!
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  • Superior Spotlight: Laurie Russman

    Laurie Russman

    Laurie Russman creates fun life-like thread painted quilts.  We first saw Laurie’s beautiful eye-catching quilts on Facebook and have enjoyed following her since.  We were surprised to learn she’s been quilting for just 10 years (her FMQ is amazing!).  She currently quilts, teaches, and serves as a board member of the Quilt Alliance. 

    Neon Kitty

    Laurie says thread painting is “pure joy, from selecting the threads that will bring my subject to life, to the layering in the subjects “fur”, to very carefully stitching the eyes.   I frequently use two threads of slightly different shades in my longarm.  Playing with texture is fun.  I use OMNI for a subtle background, Metallic to add shine, Twist for subtle coloration of eyes or fur, and Magnifico for everything else.  I frequently use the same thread in the bobbin so that the lovely image forms on the back of the quilt.”


    Laurie explains her “aha!” break-through moment was purchasing a longarm quilting machine.  It allows her to move the needle as naturally as a paintbrush, even on small pieces.

    Fox Details

    When asked what advice she has for quilters, Laurie said, “Go ahead and take the plunge, however you define it.  Try that new technique.  Enter your quilt in that show.  Submit that article.  Try something outside your comfort zone.  You’ll be so happy you did!”

    We love how Laurie’s quilts come to life and are grateful to share her beautiful quilts with you.  If you're going to Houston International Quilt Festival, visit Laurie as she teaches fun Festive Curved Leaf Coasters (using Superior Metallic) at Open Studios.  See more of Laurie’s quilts by following NeonKitty

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