Block of the Month  Two Brand New BOM Projects Just Released! (click to view details)

Superior's Blog Posts

  • Superior Staff Spotlight: Celeste B

    Celeste @ Superior Threads

    Today we spotlight a project from one of our very own Superior family members, Celeste!  She describes her project in her own words.

    “Two things inspired my project.  First, I often have questions from customers asking about sewing on denim.  Two common questions are what type of needle and what type of thread to use.  Second, I love the fit and feel of these jeans, and don’t want to retire these jeans for another decade until flare-fit jeans come back in style.

    Flare Pants

    I chose to use So Fine! #50 to take in the seams.  I knew it would be strong enough to hold my jeans together for many, many washings.  I love (of course!) using Superior’s Titanium-Coated Topstitch Needles on denim.  Not only are these needles easy to thread, they are incredibly durable and last (for what feels like) forever! 

    So Fine! #50 and Topstitch Needles

    I turned my jeans inside out, and tailored one leg first.  Once I had the fit right, I matched up the other leg.

    Tailoring Pants

    Halfway tailored jeans

    Tailored Jeans

    I have fallen in LOVE with my jeans for the second time.   This was so fast and easy, I plan to tailor several more pairs of pants like this.”

    Celeste answers your phone calls and emails and is always smiling. Next time you call in or email her,  be sure to mention you read this post. 

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  • Adjusting Tensions on a Home Sewing Machine

    Kitchenaid

    What is your favorite kitchen appliance?  Truth be told, I have a secret love for kitchen appliances.  I can go to the store and easily spend 45 minutes just looking at the mixers, emulsifiers, and electric can openers.  I enjoy collecting and using the best of the best.  I love all my kitchen appliances, but my all-time favorite is my 6-Quart Bowl-Lift Professional KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

    I LOVE THAT THING!   Mixing up cookies, bread dough, salsa, you name it, is an absolute breeze!  My mixer has 10 speed settings.  When I’m making cookies and mixing the butter and sugar, I like to crank it up to an 8 or 9 (but I make sure to keep the cover on so I don’t spray cookie dough all over the kitchen).  If I’m mixing something that could explode a huge mess all over my kitchen like liquids or dry ingredients, I always use speed one.  It wasn’t always this way.  In the beginning, I didn’t know which speed to mix my liquids and ended up experiencing several messes.  Why?  Because I was sure anything and everything could be mixed and turn out splendidly on the middle speed, 5. 

    Kitchenaid

    Just like my mixer, a home sewing machine comes with different tension settings.  Some machines even come with an automatic tension setting, but does a machine know the difference between a 50 wt cotton and a sensitive, but beautiful 40 wt. Metallic?
    Answer:  it doesn’t.  

    For example, if your tension has a scale of 0-9, with 0 being the loosest and 9 the tightest, most machines are pre-set at a 5.  This works well for standard 50 wt polyester, but would be too tight for a 40 wt Metallic thread. Because Metallic threads are more sensitive to higher-tensions, a 5 would most likely result in broken thread or poor stitches.  The most common tension range we recommend with our threads is a 3.0-4.0, which requires us to adjust our top tension a bit.

    If you experience thread breakage, the bobbin thread being pulled to the top of your fabric, untwisting of the thread, or feel your blood pressure rising due to any other thread issue, the first step is to lower that top tension!  Do it.  You have permission.  I promise it will not ruin your machine. The best part about tensions on home machines is the tension setting is numbered. You can always go back to a previous setting.

    It took me a little practice with my mixer to get over wanting to blend everything at a 5, but I now know what mixes best on what speed setting.  Similarly, once you practice loosening your top tension based on your thread type and see how easy it is to achieve the perfect stitch, you’ll find joy in sewing with a variety of beautiful stitch-worthy threads.

    Our Thread Reference Guide offers the recommended top tension setting along with the needle size for each of our Superior Threads.

    Questions about thread tensions or mixing?  I’d be happy to answer.

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  • Superior Spotlight: Cindy Needham

    Cindy Needham Educator

    After years in the medical field, Cindy chose to follow her dreams and make quilting not only her hobby, but also her driving force and career.  Cindy has been a Superior Educator for 8 years and received the Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year Award at MQX in 2011.   She teaches machine quilting at quilt shows and guilds across the globe.  Published in several quilting magazines, we are proud to highlight some of the amazing work by one of our favorite quilters!

    Cindy Needham Educator

    Cindy Needham Educator

    Cindy Needham Educator

    Most recently, Cindy has released a product that will change your quilting world!  The Ultimate Stencil allows you to create hundreds of designs with just two stencils.  Cindy explains how this amazing tool will simplify and beautify your quilting in this video:

    We are grateful Cindy chose to dedicate her time and energy to the quilting world.  She is a remarkable teacher with clear explanations and 45+ years of experience.  If you haven’t taken a class from her, add it to your bucket list!

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  • New Year Resolutions

    Pickles

    It is a new year and a time for reflection and renewal. I don't make definite New Year's resolutions as I have discovered I set myself up for failure and I am trying to be less self-destructive. But IF I were to make New Year's Resolutions they would be . . .

    1.   Could you imagine if I resolved to finish one project before I could start another? I have just organized and put those in totes, and to me they are "done." Some are just fabric and the right tool and that great pattern but, hey, they are "done" in my mind and they are in a tote. If I never organized them I would never get to my stash which is resolution #2 . . .

    2.   I will use fabric from my stash in my next project. But not if it isn't the correct amount or shade of color or so pretty sitting on a shelf or in a tote that I'd have to go through or I really was saving that piece for an upcoming class (which one was that I wonder?) Which is #3 . . .

    3.   No more classes until I finish the project from the last class. I will miss my favorite teacher and most of my friends and that new fabric and that new tool that lets me make flying geese in yet another method (although I always default to the tried and true squares on a rectangle). Which leads me to #4 . . .

    4.  I will use the rulers and gadgets that I have purchased last year to increase my flexibility and stretch my versatility as a student of all things quilting. Especially those in Magazines which leads me to #5 . . .

    5. I will organize and perhaps let my subscriptions lapse on the magazines that I am so excited to get and see where all my stash fabric could be used. Was it in Sept/October which I got in July? I can't remember right away but is it in that pile or did I buy a tote for them too?

    Totes are on sale this time of year, which I find very convenient, only . . . styles have changed, some lids stack on my previously purchased totes some don't. I have good quality and kinda cheap ones all mixed which leads me to #6 . . .

    6.  I need another child to move out so that I can use their bedroom to organize my totes.

    Facts of Fabric


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  • Top 14 Moments of 2014 (Part 2 of 2)

    We had a wonderful 2014! 

    Today we finish our Top Moments of 2014.

    Superior Warehouse Team

    Our Superior shipping staff

    7. Added So Fine! #50 prewound bobbins in L and M-style. Our So Fine! thread is one of our most popular threads for sewing, serging, and quilting.

    So Fine! #50 bobbins

    6. Added over 100 educational articles to our ever-expanding education library including this one about how to choose the right needle point.

    5. Attended Quilting Anonymous.


    4. Released So Fine! #60 Class 15 prewound bobbins in 25 colors. This fantastic thread is wonderful for sewing, quilting, embroidery, and just about everything else.

    So Fine! #60 Bobbins

    3. Hosted several School of Threadology events.

    School of Threadology

    2. Released a major update to our website. Now www.superiorthreads.com fits your mobile phone, tablet, and desktop computer perfectly.

    1. Made the best investment of the year!  Look how much fabric the new Mini Van holds!

    Van full of Fabric

    It’s been a fantastic year for us and we are so blessed to be involved in a great industry. With a constant effort on innovation, we can’t wait for 2015 and the new products, education, videos, and technology we can provide to all sewists and quilters.

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  • Top 14 Moments of 2014 (Part 1 of 2)

    What a year it has been!

    Superior Threads Office Staff

    Our Superior office team!

    As we approach the end of 2014, we have much to be thankful for. It has been a wonderful year for us at Superior Threads.  Our company is built upon the foundation of Service x Quality x Education = Success.  We’d like to highlight some of the major milestones we reached during 2014.

     14. Created and released over a dozen educational videos like this one on adjusting bobbin tension.

    13.  Released the Superior Threads Inventory App. To help keep track of all those threads.

    Superior Inventory App

    12.  Participated in 25+ quilt shows (and have many more planned for 2015).

    Ricci at Houston

    11.  Expanded our industrial thread line to include several new products, including our patent-pending SewGlow glow-in-the-dark upholstery thread.

    SewGlow

     10.  Added Sew Sassy, a 12 wt. polyester thread for decorative stitching and quilting.

    Sew Sassy

    9. Now offer Free Shipping for regular orders within the 48 contiguous states of at least $50.

    Free Shipping on Retail orders over $50

    8.  Completed our 2nd Annual Block of the Month club (looking forward to our BOM 2015!).

    Block of the Month

    There are many more exciting things that happened in 2014.  Come back tomorrow to see the rest of our Top 12 Moments of 2014!

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  • Superior Spotlight: Kevin K.

    We love when customers share the spectacular projects they complete using our threads.  Most often Superior Threads is used for quilts, embroidery, apparel, or upholstery.  Yet, thread can be used for so much more! 

    Kevin, of Anglers Envy customizes their one-of-a-kind hand wrapped fishing poles with the help of Twist #4022 and Metallic #007.  The results are stunning!

    Anglers Envy

    Anglers Envy

    Anglers Envy

    Thank you Kevin for sharing your fantastic work!  Do you use thread for something unique?  Please let us know!

    Anglers Envy

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  • Superior Shows: Houston

    We thoroughly enjoy traveling around the country (and world) attending quilt shows and meeting so many friends and customers! One of the quilt shows we always look forward to is the Houston Quilt Festival held in Houston, TX every October/November.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend yet, start planning, because this event is like none other.  Picture Disneyland for quilters, but better.

    Ricci at Houston

    Heather at Houston

    We teamed up with Shannon Fabrics to giveaway this fun kit:

    Cuddle fabric

    The kit contains the most fluffy, softest cuddle fabric and So Fine! #50, the best thread to sew it with!  Congratulations to our winner, Calico Crossing!

    We’re looking forward to our 2015 Trade Show schedule. Please visit our events calendar to see if we will be in a city near you.  What’s your favorite quilt show?

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  • School of Threadology: John Deer Event!

    School of Threadology Embroidery

    School of THreadology


    School of Threadology

    We had a marvelous time this weekend at our John Deer School of Threadology Event! Debbie Denny, certified John Deer embroidery instructor, came to St. George to educate and inspire.

    One of our Superior Staff members Brianna (pictured on the above right) took the class.  She describes her experience in her own words.

    "The event was so much fun! We had the opportunity to make and take home several adorable embroidered projects. They showed us how we could take very basic pair of jeans and embellish them with a cute embroidery design and transform them into something that would get a ton of attention and compliments from friends. I loved it!"

    We are looking forward to several School of Threadology events this coming year, and would love to see you there! 

    Is there something you'd like to learn more about?  Please let us know so we can provide you with the threaducation you need!


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  • 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 or find more of her amazing work on Etsy.

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