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Superior's Blog Posts

  • Serging with Decorative Threads

    It's so much fun to use different threads in your serger. In this video, Sue shows us how simple it is to thread Razzle Dazzle in her Baby Lock Ovation serger and how she can get a different look by adjusting her length and width while sewing. Learn an easy way to thread thick, decorative thread by creating a cradle and looping the thick thread through the cradle.

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  • Superior Spotlight: Jan O.

    Janet has some serious talent! She was so kind and shared with us a beautiful quilt, which she has just completed.  This gorgeous commissioned piece, Karen’s Katz, turned out rather spectacular.  This quilt is made with 3 silk scarves which required Janet to remove the hems, interface and add stabilizer in order for the fabric to stay together.  The cat fabric is cotton and the black and magenta fabric is silk. 

    Pieced with care, she used our 60 wt. Bottom Line polyester thread to achieve the very fine seams necessary. Janet decided to use black Kimono Silk and MonoPoly invisible polyester thread to complete the fine details of her quilt. 

    Jan O Karens Katz

    Have you quilted on silk before?  Please share your experiences with us!

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  • Circular Serging with a Curved Foot

    One of the trickiest parts about serging around a circular (round) object is ending the stitch in a clean manner. We often find ourselves making our place mats smaller and smaller as we try to lead off the end without disrupting the stitches. Serging expert, Sue Green-Baker, shows us a very easy method of starting and ending on a round project using a curved foot. We are using Fantastico #5011 as our decorative thread in this video.

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  • Thread Labels: What They're Really Telling You

    Superior Thread Labels

    Walking down the aisles of a grocery store, I frequently find myself looking at the labels.  Food labels contain so much information and I don’t understand it all, but I do understand that the more sugar, salt, and ingredients which I can’t pronounce that are in a particular food item, the more I should stay away from it (but in reality, it means that it probably tastes really good). Reading the labels helps me understand what specific nutrients, vitamins, and caloric value each product contains and how this will affect my overall diet.  Reading the labels helps me choose what to buy and what to leave on the shelf. (Unless it’s chocolate. Then I pretend I don’t know how to read.)

    Similarly, thread labels tell a lot about the quality and reliability of the product.   Here’s some of what you might find on a thread label.

    Thickness

    In most cases, thread thickness is written as a # sign followed by a number. Sometimes the thickness is referred to as “weight” and can be written with 2 numbers and “wt.”. We could write an entire article on how many different measurements there are to thread thickness (we have, here http://www.superiorthreads.com/education/thread-measurements/) but we are going to generalize here and stick with the # and wt. system. For Quilting and Embroidery thread, the smaller the number (weight and #), the thicker the thread.  The larger the number, the thinner the thread.  #30 is much thicker than #60.

    Ply

    Ply refers to the number of individual strands twisted together to make the thread.  The number of plies contributes to the strength of a thread.  Most of the threads used for quilting, embroidery, and sewing are either a 2 or 3-ply.

    Mercerized

    Today, nearly all cotton thread is mercerized.  If a label has mercerized cotton written on it, it is probably because there Is nothing else to brag about. Since nearly all modern cotton sewing thread is mercerized, we don’t put it on our labels. Mercerizing is a process of treating cotton thread with a solution, causing fibers to swell.  This allows the dye to better penetrate fibers and increases luster. 

    Glazed

    Glazed thread is a type of thread which has been coated with either wax, starch, resin, or other chemicals.  This results in a smooth, glossy thread with a hard finish.  Glazed thread is quite a bit stiffer than unglazed thread and has a wire-like look and feel.  Glazed cotton threads are recommended for hand quilting only.  You do not want the wax coating of a glazed thread running through the tension discs of your sewing machine. Many glazed threads are not usually labeled as such. To check whether or not a cotton thread is glazed or not, unwind a 2-3’ section from the spool and if the thread twists like a telephone cord, it’s glazed.

    Gassed

    For part of the processing of quality cotton threads, the thread is passed at high rate of speed, over a flame, which burns the excess fuzz to create a higher sheen. Not all threads are gassed, and you can tell by the excessive amount of fuzz or hairs the thread has. Other terms used for gassed cotton is “Polished Cotton” and “Silk Finish Cotton”

    Staple

    The individual fiber of a cotton boll. We commonly refer to staple in the sense of the length of the individual cotton fiber. The longer the staple, the stronger the thread.  If there is no mention of the staple length, assume it is regular (or short) staple thread.  Long staple is better than short/regular staple and extra-long staple is the best. If a cotton thread is extra-long staple, the label will proudly state that fact.

    Superior Labels

    This is a whole lot of information to place on a small label!  Not all information will be listed, but this will help you determine if you are getting all that you want, need, and hope for.  Of course, there is a simpler way to know that you’re getting the top-notch quality thread consistently, choose Superior!

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  • Serging an Inside Corner

    When sewing on a serger, there are a few tips that really help smooth out the process. In this video, serging expert Sue Green-Baker, teaches us how to sew an inside corner on a serger without having the thread pleat or pucker. Use this technique when coming to any corner and you'll find that your completed project will be smoother and will have a better fit!

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  • Superior Spotlight: Leslie M

    Leslie McNeil Northern Lights

    Leslie, a fantastic quilter and blogger, did a phenomenal job thread painting this beautiful piece, “Northern Lights”.  In her own words, she describes the inspiration and production of this quilt.

    “I wanted to relay to the viewer a dazzling and dimensional color story that reflected my own creative interpretation of the awe of the phenomenon of our “Northern Lights”.  My inspiration came with a piece of hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh.  She makes GORGEOUS fabrics.  After sorting through many fabrics, I knew it was the one.  Next came a little experimenting and playing by adding creative embellishments. 

    I began by adding hand painted highlights onto the fabric, applying light strokes of Silks Acrylic Glazes by Luminarte.  I spritzed them with water to help them spread and diffuse.  Once the paint was heat-set and cured, I layered the base fabric with silver foil leaf (a somewhat painstaking and slightly messy process!).  I then fused fabrics and Textiva sheets, where I cut strips, crinkled them in my hands, and ironed them to bring out more depth of color.

    With so much “going on” in the background, I kept the overall quilting design simple, free flowing, and vertical from top to bottom, with soft, undulating curvy lines.  I’m sure there were well over thirty thread changes.  I used at least 12-14 different threads on top, 7 Razzle Dazzle, 5-6 Magnifico, and Silver Metallic.  For the bobbin I used MasterPiece and Bottom Line.  Of course, I chose to use Superior’s Titanium-coated Topstitch Needle size 90/14.  I counted using over 17 bobbins and each bobbin usually equates to 20-30 minutes of quilting for me, so you can have an estimate of how long it took to complete “Northern Lights”.

    The quilting, tension, stitches, whatever you wish to point to—it’s not perfect.  I don’t apologize for that, I just know it’s the pursuit of excellent, not perfection.  There is amazing freedom when you do that.”

    Leslie McNeil Northern Lights

    Leslie McNeil Northern Lights

    Leslie McNeil Northern Lights

    Do you love Leslie’s work as much as we do?  Follow her blog (LINK) or find more of her amazing work on Etsy.

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  • Begin and End a Coverhem on a Serger

    If you are creating any type of clothing, chances are you will need to do some sort of circular sewing on your serger. The arm holes, collar, shirtsleeves, and pant-leg openings are all round and therefore need a good stitch to keep the hem in place. It can become daunting when you try to match up the end stitch with the beginning stitch. By using a clear presser foot and pulling the threads out before meeting the starting stitch, you'll be able to complete the coverhem perfectly.  Today's tutorial is taught by the legendary Sue Green-Baker, serging expert.

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  • Fun Fab Fabrics Video!

    Have you ever had so much fun shopping for fabric that you've lost track of time? This happens everyday at Mother Superior's Fab Fabrics. Don't worry, we have comfortable chairs for guests to sit and wait as you enjoy browsing over 10,000 bolts of fabric. Don't forget to look at our kits and notion wall as well. Our fabric store is nestled against the red rocks in St. George, UT. On your next trip on I-15, take a break and come visit us. (We have chocolate too!)

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  • International Quilt Festival - Houston

     

    International Quilt Festival Houston

    IQF Houston

     

    We’re excited to attend the 2014 International Quilt Festival in Houston! The International Quilt Festival  is the most popular quilt show in the US and boasts an attendance of roughly 50,000 attendees.  You’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you’re looking for from the hundreds of vendors. And don’t forget about browsing the HUGE selection of quilts on display! You’ll have inspiration pouring out your eyes by the time you finish your walk about.

    If you haven’t attended the Houston show before, imagine this scenario: Combine world renowned educators and teachers, breathtaking quilts on display, gorgeous wearable’s in their own display area, a massive indoor vendor mall containing everything you wanted and things you didn’t know you wanted until you saw them in a booth, with thousands of happy quilters everywhere. That pretty much sums up the Houston experience.

    We at Superior Threads look forward to seeing our friends and making new ones at the Houston show this year. Be sure to bring your best walking shoes (you’ll definitely want comfortable ones) and your thread lists (do you use our new inventory app?) and troubleshooting questions.  Our show team is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding thread, notions, and more. 

    Please come visit us at booth #309.

    Superior Threads in Houston

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  • Halloween and NiteLite

    Halloween Pillow with Nitelite

    One of my favorite traditions is to make my kids (and now grandkids) holiday pillow cases.  These fast and easy projects help bring the joy and spirit of the holiday.  Plus the kids love the change!

    I like using NiteLite glow-in-the-dark thread on Halloween projects.  Here I used it for the embroidered lettering.  The best part?  My granddaughter says it helps scare away the monsters under her bed.  Being a grandma is amazing.

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  • Variegated or Solid? Which should I choose for quilt?

    MagnificoKing Tut

    When designing a quilt, we spend hours hunting for the perfect B's: background, block, border, binding, and backing fabrics. We coordinate the fabric colors to enhance, blend, contrast, or highlight the block design. Why not do the same with thread? Thread can also enhance, blend, contrast, or highlight specific portions of the entire quilt. After carefully creating the masterpiece, instead of using a single color of thread to complete the project, think what a careful selection of multiple threads could do to further enhance your work of art.

    When Great Grandma quilted, she used a single color of off white thread and stitched in the ditch. Every quilt probably had the same color of thread. Today, with the capabilities of machine quilting, we rarely stitch in the ditch. Thread color choice has become an important component of the quilt.

    When selecting the best thread colors to use, consider the balance between the background fabric and other fabrics used in the quilt. Do you want to emphasize the background fabrics or the block fabrics? To create contrast between the background fabric and the block fabrics, we don't want to use a single thread to tie them together. Instead, use a solid or a tone-on-tone variegated thread in the background and a variegated thread in the block. This will create a crisp contrast between the background and the block. Likewise, by using a different color of thread in the inner and outer borders, the borders will become more distinct.

    Many of our thread colors were designed with this in mind. Magnifico and Fantastico are color-coordinated threads, Fantastico being the variegated colors and Magnifico being the identical type of thread but in coordinated solid colors. King Tut also has a wide range as variegated colors, some solid colors, and many tone-on-tone subtle variegated colors. These combinations allow us to select the best colors for different parts of the quilt. Used together, two or more coordinated threads will take your quilt from a work of beauty to a beautifully coordinated masterpiece. The results will surprise you. Try using more than one color of thread on your quilt. It will add an entire new dimension to your artwork.

    Variegated Thread Finder

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  • Superior’s Color Comparison Charts

    Superior Threads

    Once upon a time, quilters were taught to use only cotton threads, use the same thread both top and bottom, and quilt on days that end in y.  We hope you no longer believe the first two! With so many different thread thicknesses (weights) and fiber types available for quilting, the options when it comes to thread are almost endless.

    Understanding how to balance your top and bottom tension frees you from the idea that you must only use the same thread on top and bottom. There are many occasions where we use Polyester on top and Cotton in the bobbin or Silk on top and Polyester in the bobbin.  Choosing the right thread to use in your project is simple. Now that you have the fiber type down, selecting the color you want can get tricky.

    We love Color Cards because being able to see the colors in real life is better than matching on a computer monitor, but we know that it’s not always possible to have a color card. We’ve recently added several lines to our Color Comparison Charts.  We take the guess-work out of deciding which color matches across our thread lines. Do you really like the Gold color in Bottom Line but want to use So Fine! #50? Not worries, we’ve got that comparison chart.

    We are continually adding new charts across our thread lines with more comparisons.  If we don’t have what you’re looking for, please let us know so we can add it!

    What is your favorite thread combination to use top and bottom? King Tut and MasterPiece? So Fine! #50 top and bottom?

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  • Put a little TWIST in your Embroidery!

    Twist is a fantastic new take on embroidery threads. Never before have two separately-dyed polyester filaments been combined to create a finished, dual-color thread. There are similar two-toned threads available in rayon, which is not as strong, colorfast, or heat-resistant as polyester. Available in over 50 dual-colored combinations. Add amazing texture and color depth to embroidery designs with Twist. Feathers, fur, and landscape designs will come to life by using one color of Twist instead of multiple solid colors for shading. Twist is a #40/2-ply Trilobal Polyester thread. Designed for Embroidery and Decorative Stitching.


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  • Superior Spotlight: Quilts of Valor

    Quilts of Valor is a wonderful organization which we would like to highlight.  The QOV foundation's purpose is to provide the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Military custom quilts as gifts of gratitude for their service.

    Volunteers nationwide have joined together in presenting over 100,000 quilts to our veterans! Quilts are awarded at many different levels, but no matter how a Quilt of Valor (QOV) is given, the impact is unmistakable. Gorgeous quilts offer a warm recognition for those who have served to preserve our freedom. We are happy to have two veterans in our Superior Family who have been honored with a quilt from QOV.

    Quilts of Valor

    Quilts of Valor

    Quilts of Valor

    Quilts of Valor

    Local QOV groups are always looking for volunteers as well as product donations to offset the expenses.  If you are interested in participating with this great foundation, please visit their website at qovf.org

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  • Why can't I get even stitches!? Thread delivery.

    We’ve all been there before. It’s OK to admit the frustration caused from not being able to solve the problem of why our stitches aren’t coming out evenly. After adjusting tension and changing needles and saying things we shouldn’t, the thread still doesn’t stitch evenly. Why?!

    Your troubles may be caused by having an incorrect thread delivery method. Learn more in this video with Dr. Bob.

    Want to learn more about threads and troubleshooting?  View the rest of Dr. Bob’s incredible Thread Therapy here.

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