Superior's Blog Posts

  • Superior Stars: Mary Bauer

    We’re excited to show you Mary Bauer’s award winning quilt Contemporary Sampler #1


    Mary explains a little about her creative process:

    “The shop where I teach bought a collection of fabric for me to use as a mystery quilt class for the next year.  I worked within the collection and chose projects based on the techniques used.  It was my desire to have a new technique to share each month with the students (eg. paper piecing, use of templates, Y-seam construction, faux trapunto, etc.). I planned to put together the different projects in a collage method and fill in where needed to have a complete quilt.   All of the pieces of the quilt were made but not assembled, so each month the individual pieces could be shown to the students along with written instructions.  In the fall, I assembled the quilt and emailed a construction clue every few days until all clues were sent and the final picture of the quilt was shown.  While this was being done there was a prize awarded to the first student that “solved” the mystery, by laying out all her pieces and taking a picture to prove she puzzled the quilt together.  The mystery was not solved until almost the last of the clues were revealed.  This project was so popular; it was repeated for two more years as a non-mystery quilt.  Students in those classes selected their own fabrics and it was great fun to see the quilt completed in a wide range of colors and patterns.

    I was thrilled to win with this quilt in Houston, Grand Rapids and Bloomington.

    I have been using Superior Thread since I first heard Bob talk at a lecture in Paducah – probably 8-10 years ago! For quilting, embroidery and applique I use several Superior products but I always use Bottom Line in my bobbin when quilting, Superior MonoPoly for various appliqué projects and MasterPiece for construction.”

    What a beautiful, inspirational project!  We’re thankful Mary shared her incredible talent with us.

    Have you tried a mystery quilt or fun Block of the Month?

    Image courtesy of Mary Bauer

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  • Celebrate the color wheel!

    Color Scheme Quilts

    Today we’re going to talk about color and how to choose the perfect colors for your quilt!

    The color wheel can be a great asset for choosing colors until we are more confident in creating color harmony.  Color harmony is pleasing to the eye, without harmony, the visual is either boring or chaotic.  So how do we create color harmony?

    Complementary colors

    Complementary Colors

    Complementary colors are any two colors opposite each other on the color wheel.  Think Christmas, The LA Lakers, or the Elmer’s Glue logo.  These colors are high contrast and enhance the each other’s brightness.

    Analogous colors

    Analogous Colors

    Analogous colors are three colors which are side by side on a 12 part color wheel, like purple-blue, blue, and blue-green.  Analogous color schemes are often found in nature, like the shades of green on a tree, but make sure you have enough contrast when using this scheme.

    Triad colors

    Triad Colors

    Triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.  These schemes can be vibrant, even when using pastels.  Be sure colors are balanced--choose one focus color and allow the other two to accent.

    This is a foundation for color combination selection, but there are many other color combining ideas that are pleasing to the eye. 

    How do you typically choose the colors for your quilt?

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  • Superior Stars: RaNae Merrill

    RaNae Merrill

    RaNae Merrill is talented concert pianist turned quilting professional!  We’re excited to brag about her Beyond Horizons – Wonky Dots quilt.   The quilting on this design has lines less than 1/8” apart.  To mimic the fabrics on the quilt, RaNae chose MasterPiece.

    Beyond Horizons

    Wonky Dots

    Wonky Dots

    RaNae says, “When I want a cotton thread for quilting, I love MasterPiece.  It's just the right weight to show on the surface of the quilt without being bulky.  The smoothness of it keeps my machine clean and lint-free.  And the colors are just wonderful!

    I adore Kimono Silk for quilting.  I love the fine line of the 100-weight silk for intricate patterns.  I love the way the colors shimmer on the surface of the quilt.  And though I don't do a lot of appliqué, when I do, I love the way the Kimono Silk thread disappears into the fabric -- both because of the fineness of the thread and because of the way light reflects through the silk fibers to pick up the color of the fabric and blends into it.”

    You can read more about RaNae’s quilting process as well as see more of her incredible designs on her site.

    Images courtesy of RaNae Merrill

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  • Superior Stars: Robbi Eklow

    Presenting!  Kenophobia by Robbi Eklow!



    It took about 4 years to finish this gorgeous quilt.  Robbi’s design was inspired by Fair Isle knitting (If you see a Fair Isle sweater with different designs in stripes, you’ll see what she means!).

    Kenophobia is a fused quilt, which requires a lot of stitching to hold the edges down.  Robbi mounted the quilt top on her longarm, thread painted and then added the batting and backing to finish the quilting.  The details on Robbi’s quilt are amazing, which is where the name Kenophobia comes from.  It means a fear of the void or empty spaces. 

    Robbi’s best advice to quilters is to relax, enjoy yourself, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks about your quilt.  She says they should be happy to get them or to visit them.

    See more of Robbi’s beautiful quilts on her website,

    Images Courtesy of Robbi Eklow

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  • Piecing tips I wish I would have known as a beginner

    Piecing Tips

    I’ve been piecing for 20+ years.  I’ve learned so much in that time that I can sometimes forget the learning curve I needed to overcome when I first started.  Today I share some helpful tips I wish I would have known as a beginning piecer.

    1. Seams

    It’s very important to use an accurate 1/4” seam! A difference of 1/8th of a seam allowance adds up quickly as you try to put blocks together.  A little too-big of a seam can result in your quilt being 3” smaller than it’s supposed to be. The solution is simple: use a 1/4” foot.   Next, practice until you feel confident you can use the foot to keep a straight, even seam

    2. Pressing

    Once you sew a seam, iron it in the direction the pattern calls for.  Press as you go.  It’s worth the effort because then everything fits better and you’re left with a completely flat quilt top.

    3. Thread

    I wish MasterPiece was around when I was learning.  Why?  Because MasterPiece cotton thread is fine enough that when ironed, seams lay totally flat (there’s no bulk!).  It also helps that it’s incredibly low lint so I spend less time cleaning out my machine.

    4. Unpicking

    I used to get so frustrated and upset when I noticed something wrong and needed to unpick my stitches.  I would think of it as such a loss.  Unpicking is not a loss, it’s a gain.  It’s the chance to do it better.  Now, there is a balance to this.  There is no need to unpick everything.  You are your own worst critic and guaranteed, unless you are piecing a show quilt, you are the only one that will notice that the corners are a millimeter off.

    Do you have any piecing tips you wish you would have known as a beginner?  Please share in the comments below.

    See Our MaterPiece Thread Now

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  • Superior Stars: Joanne Baeth

    The End of the Line

    It's hard to believe Joanne Baeth's beautiful End of the Line isn't a photo, it's a quilt!

    Joanne explains her inspiration for her quilt:

    "We fish for salmon on the Oregon coast for two months every summer. All of the old fishing boats were dry docked to be repaired, sold, or scrapped for parts.  My husband and sons are avid fishermen, the pressure was on to get the boats and parts just right. I painted the stormy sky and part of the sand. For the boards, I painted fabric, heat distressed it, and cut it into small sections. The boats have my five grandchildren's names on them and the numbers are their birthdays. The grasses were thread painted and of course I had to add a few birds."


    The End of the Line received the Pacific International Quilt Festival 2014 Best Wall Quilt Viewers Choice

    Joanne loves to use Bottom Line polyester thread because it blends well.  She likes to sew with it on top because it’s so smooth when sewing details and it doesn’t add bulk.  When thread painting, she likes to use King Tut and So Fine! #40.  She uses Dissolve 4x and a layer of tulle because the heavy-duty water-soluble stabilizer is strong enough to free motion quilt without puckering.

    Joanne’s talent is impressive and inspiring!  Have you tried making landscape fiber art?

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  • Superior Stars: Sharon Hansen

    Sharon Hansen went on a family vacation to Portugal where she was entranced by the beautiful tiles used to decorate the homes.   The Portuguese use blue and white tiles in their decorating.  Portugal’s history of exploring led Sharon to stars.   Today we present Sharon’s incredible one-of-a-kind quilt, Ring of Stars.

    Ring of Stars

    Ring of Stars is pieced using MasterPiece #152 Bisque and quilted with So Fine! #50 with Bottom Line in the bobbin.  

    Image courtesy of Sharon Hansen

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  • Superior Stars: Robin Gausebeck

    Robin Gausebeck has graciously allowed us to show off her beautiful Revolution #9.  This quilt was designed for the New Quilts from an Old Favorite contest that the National Quilt Museum sponsored. This year's theme was the 9-patch block.  Robin’s quilt received the honor of first place!  It was featured on the cover of the book about the contest, displayed in the museum, and travels around the country to AQS shows for two years!  After that, Robin intends to put it away to save for her 5-year-old granddaughter who partially inspired the quilt.

    Robin Gausebeck

    Revolution #9

    Revolution #9

    Revolution #9

    Robin explains a little more about her quilt:

    “I nearly always start with a quilt title - even before I have a design.  This quilt was made for a contest with a specific theme and I think the Beatles title Revolution #9 literally just popped into my head at the very beginning.  It helped that my little granddaughter’s favorite number is 9.  From that point, the design evolved as a response to the title.  I am much more a verbal than a visual person so when I come up with a quilt title, I brainstorm and work to find ways to interpret the words into a design.

    I am a huge fan of Superior Threads.  This particular quilt included Bottom Line (my go-to bobbin thread), Superior Metallic, King Tut, and So Fine! #50.  I use only Kimono Silk in my prize winning miniature quilts and I only use Superior needles for both my Bernina and my HQ 16 sit-down machines.

    I would never have become a quilter if I had been able to find a gorgeous piece of fabric to hang on an empty wall in my stairwell.  I found, instead, a book of easy quilts that I thought I could make.  I knew absolutely nothing about quilting at the time and, boy, does that first quilt show it!  Since then, I have taken advantage of wonderful guild speakers, workshops at shows and quilt retreats.  I know that even if the teacher’s style is not my own I will learn something valuable.

    I think that studying the quilting styles of Renae Haddadin and Marilyn Badger have impacted my quilting more than anything else.  They both are exceptionally mindful about designs that reflects the themes and motifs of each quilt.  Their inspiration caused me to look at my quilting in an entirely different way and to use my quilting to help tell my quilts’ stories.

    I am only a hobby quilter.  I neither sell my work nor do I do custom quilting for anyone else. I mainly do show quilts because, after I won my first ribbon, I found the experience intoxicating!”

    Images care of Robin Gausebeck

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  • What Causes Eyelashes?

    Eyelashes are no fun!

    Are your stitches pulling strangely making eyelashes?  Eyelashes occur when the tension settings between the bobbin thread and top thread are unbalanced and/or you are sewing on a curve too fast.

    To remedy eyelashes, work to balance the tension between top and bobbin threads.  We recommend first adjusting the top tension before adjusting bobbin tension.  If you are seeing eyelashes especially heavy on curves or circles, slow down your speed.

    We hope that this blog post is totally useless and that you never experience eyelashes in your quilts!

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  • Superior Stars: Mary Vaneecke

    Mary Vaneecke specializes in 3D quilting (incredible quilts that pop right out at you!).  Today, we’re pleased to share with you one of Mary’s masterpieces, inspired by Susan McCord’s 1880s applique quilt, the Vine Quilt.  This beautiful quilt won the 2010 Handiquilter Longarm Quilting Award in Paducah, KY.

    Vine Quilt

    We had a chance to get to know Mary a little better in an interview recently.

    How did you get started quilting?

    My sister Nanci got me started on a round-robin Seminole quilt project about a dozen years ago.  That quilt is still in pieces, but I was hooked.  I started another quilt right away, a bright one with simple cat blocks, and became kind of obsessed.  Within 2 years I started a longarm quilting business.

    How many yards of fabric would you estimate are in your fabric stash?  

    Oh, at least $100 worth (This is a joke, HaHa!).  

    How many spools/cones of thread do you have in your thread stash?


    Okay, eleven DRAWERS full of thread.  Longarm quilters, as I am sure you are aware, collect thread like quilters collect fabric.  

    What hobbies do you have outside of quilting?

    I teach quilting, and I like to travel.  I hang out with my husband and our cats Gizmo, Django, and Iggy.   

    What are your favorite thread lines?

    This is a tough one, because I use Superior Threads pretty much exclusively, and I use a lot of different threads, depending on the project.  I love King Tut for the short color change and low lint (thank goodness for ELS cotton), Rainbows for the gorgeous luster, the fine Kimono for those dense background fills (who doesn't love silk on general principle).  I love Bottom Line for keeping lint down and stitch quality high.

    What is being planned next?

    I just published my book, Wild and Wonderful 3-D Quilts and I am spending a lot of time this year teaching and spreading the word about that.  

    See more of Mary’s incredible quilting artwork on her website,

    Images courtesy of Mary Vaneecke

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  • Superior Stars: Joanne Baeth

    Joanne Baeth has the ability to bring a thread painted piece of fabric to life!  Today we share her beautiful artistic quilt, The Landing.

    The Landing


    Joanne shares her inspiration:

    "This represents a scene viewed from Four Mile Lake.  I have been observing Canadian geese forever. Each of the larger geese have about 80 individual feathers that have been cut out, painted, fused, and stitched one at a time. The sky was painted to match the colors in the picture and the background trees and water were constructed from many pieces of fabrics. The trees closest to the water were thread painted. I love this quilt for the simplicity of design."

    This beautiful quilt has won several awards: IQA Houston 2014 Pictorial – First Place; AQS Charlotte 2014 Best Wall Quilt; Denver National Quilt Festival 2014 Innovative First Place.

    Image courtesy of Joanne Baeth

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  • Superior Stars: Nancy Arseneault

    Nancy Arseneault

    Nancy is a humble quilter with amazing talent. Let's get to know Nancy a bit better by reading about her quilt. The Quilt with the Dragon Tattoo took a first place ribbon at Road to California as well as the Honorable Mention award at Houston last October.  She hopes it will be judged at PIQF this year and has entered it into the AQS show in Phoenix next January.

    Quilt With The Dragon Tatoo

    Quilt With The Dragon Tatoo

    In this quilt, Nancy used Kimono Silk, Superior Metallic and MonoPoly threads. She used Copper Metallic when quilting the scales on the dragon’s body. Kimono Silk was used for background quilting when she wanted the texture of the quilting to show, not the thread itself.

    The Quilt with the Dragon Tattoo came about because Nancy’s husband wanted a dragon tattoo. She wasn’t a fan of the idea, but he persuaded her to work with the tattoo artist on an image of a dragon. Stephanie Noell Davis (the tattoo artist) found a way to incorporate some of Nancy’s favorite quilting motifs into a beautiful dragon image. Her husband got his tattoo and she got the inspiration for her next quilt. When the dragon quilt finishes its show career, it will be given to Stephanie as a wedding gift.

    Nancy says that she is especially grateful for amazing quilters who have mentored her over the past decade. Sharon Schamber inspired Nancy with her ingenuity and amazing machine quilting skills. Jane Sassaman gave Nancy the confidence to make original work and taught her techniques that she uses in almost every quilt. The other gifted quilter who continues to inspire Nancy is her best friend, Lois Podolny. Nancy says Lois’s work is extraordinary and her dedication to quilting is like a force of nature.

    Images courtesy of Nancy Arseneault

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  • What causes Bird Nests?

    Bird Nests aren't fun in sewing!

    Unlike the beautiful bird homes outdoors, bird nests while sewing are anything but cute!

    Bird nests occur when thread bunches up underneath. This means the top tension is too loose or the bobbin tension it too tight. Here are a few situations which can cause pesky bird nests.

    • If your bobbin tension is too loose, extra thread may unwind off the bobbin, which causes a buildup of thread underneath the needle plate.  Try tightening the bobbin tension by turning the small screw on the bobbin case a quarter turn clockwise.
    • The top thread isn’t threaded correctly.  Many times when I experience bird nests while sewing, it’s because I’ve miss-threaded my top thread.  The likely culprit: bypassing the thread take up lever.  Simply try rethreading your machine (and make sure it’s in the take up lever!).
    • Top tension is too loose.  If your top tension is too loose the bobbin thread is winning the tug-of-war and you will see excess thread build up under the needle plate.  To remedy, increase your top tension in small increments.

    We recommend trying one of these solutions at a time.  This way you can hopefully find the exact cause of your frustration.

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  • Superior Stars: Donna James

    W.O.W!  Have you seen incredible quilting like Donna James’ before?  We’re blown away by her talent.  Donna shares with us a little about herself and her award-winning quilt.

    Spring Meditation

    Spring Meditation

    Spring Meditation

    Spring Meditation is the fifth wholecloth that I have designed and completed in the last few years. I love the challenge of designing wholecloths because that lets me get to the quilting faster. Symmetry, a star within a star, and feathers are featured in all of them. I used three different colors of Kimono Silk thread in this quilt. My favourite part is how the micro-stippling makes the central star and feather wreath pop.

    I was so excited to be juried into the World of Beauty show, in Houston, last year. You could have blown me over with a feather when I received the email notifying me that I was a ribbon winner. My Second Place ribbon in the Merit Quilting-Machine category was a ‘bucket list’ moment for me. My quilt also won a First Place ribbon in its category, at Road to California.  This was beyond my wildest dreams.

    My mother taught me how to sew when I was 10 years old, on her Featherweight, which I now have in my studio. I made most of my clothes through high school and my early 20’s because there was no petite size clothing available at that time in Canada, and a bonus was that my clothes were never exactly the same as anyone else. I guess that is what I like about designing my own quilts. They are unique and different. Mom taught me that if you are going to do something, to do it right, and that attitude has carried over into my quilting.

    Donna's Happy Place

    I love my studio. It’s spacious and has tons of natural light. The long part of the ‘L’ houses my longarm and stash, while my sewing area gets the smaller area. My toy sewing machine collection and quilts on the wall help to make it inviting and comfortable. My husband teases me that if I had a microwave and coffee machine there, I would never need to leave!

    Along the way, I have accumulated an embarrassingly large fabric stash, and I have acquired quite a collection of Superior threads, my favourites being So Fine! #50 (60+ cones) and Kimono Silk (40+ mini cones). Superior’s threads run very well in my longarm and those thread charts are da bomb!”

    Images courtesy of Donna James

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  • Superior Stars: Lauretta Crites

    Lauretta Crites

    Lauretta Crites is a fantastic quilter!  Today we share with you her quilt, Winter Squash (Houston 2014 Art-Miniature 2nd place winner).

    Winter Squash

    Winter Squash

    If you haven’t met or taken a class from Lauretta, she is one of the sweetest, strongest, and courageous quilters we know.  We’re happy to help you get to know her a little better today.

    “My grandparents were farmers. Self-reliance and creativity are family traits. The ability to accomplish what you want, with what you have, is a great foundation for quilting! Sewing was just one of many life skills I was taught, and I learned it sewing clothes for my dolls on the family Kenmore. In my high school home economics class other girls were learning how to make aprons… I made my prom dress!

    My best organizational tip… do as I say, not as I do? No? OK, I’ve discovered that the plastic trays from the ½ box of See’s Molasses Chip candy is the PERFECT size to hold Superior thread Spools and are the exact width of my elfa system thread drawers!


    I’m a HUGE fan of Superior Threads! I’d say about 85% of my thread collection is from Superior. I started my love affair with King Tut, and then discovered So Fine! #50. I was really into the idea of having a full color range in one thread line and so I decided to give myself So Fine! #50, thread of the month club. Shortly afterwards, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had months of chemotherapy and then surgery and recovery. Much of the time I was too tired to sew, but each month I got a little package of “jewels”. Six spools of thread. Six spools with a promise.   If I just keep moving forward, I will get to make wonderful quilts and I have every color I need to match any fabric I want! Each month I was so excited to see what colors had come and to mark them on my color chart. It really is my joy to be able to have so many colors in such a great thread at my fingertips!

    For Winter Squash I used about 25 colors. I used So Fine! #50 and MasterPiece.
    I will say, I find naming quilts HARD! Mine tend to end up pretty literal. So my quilt showing a group of winter squash is called… “Winter Squash”. Yes, well, I have other talents! Which reminds me…

    My biggest takeaway is do what YOU love. Trust me, when I showed the garden catalog photo at the beginning of class and said I’m doing a quilt of squash, people didn’t exactly jump up and down. But, before I was 25% in, my quilt was the one everyone was drawn to.  My mantra is…”It’s my quilt, the only one who has to like it, is ME!”

    See more of Lauretta's quilts on her blog.

    Images courtesy of Lauretta Crites

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