Superior's Blog Posts

  • 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

    read more
  • 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

    read more
  • 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!

    read more
  • 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?

    Eleven.  

    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, www.maryvaneecke.com

    Images courtesy of Mary Vaneecke

    read more
  • 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

    read more
  • 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

    read more
  • 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.

    read more
  • 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

    read more
  • 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!

    Threads

    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

    read more
  • Superior Stars: Georgia Spalding

    Have you submitted a quilt to a show?  Today we share Georgia Spalding’s first competition quilt, Baltimore Goes to Japan.  This incredible quilt was quilted with MasterPiece and MonoPoly threads.

    Baltimore Goes to Japan

    Baltimore Goes to Japan

    Georgia’s quilt took roughly two years of designing, applique, and quilting to complete.  Baltimore Goes to Japan was the first large quilt Georgia machine quilted.  This is the first quilt in a series of quilts she is doing to explore the art of various cultures.  The name came about because the blocks are detailed applique similar to what would be found in a Baltimore Album Quilt.

    Georgia is inspired by Google Images and books.  Like many of you, she spends an average of 2-3 years thinking about a project before she begins to design.  She often solves her design problems while she’s asleep and will wake up with a solution in her head to try.

    Images care of Georgia Spaulding

    read more
  • Solve your thread frustrations: Thread Delivery!

    Thread breakage giving you issues? 

    Sometimes, after rethreading your machine, changing needles, and trying everything with tensions--the thread is still breaking!  The next step is to check your thread delivery method.  Dr. Bob explains how thread delivery affects your stitches in this segment of Thread Therapy.


    Using a Superior spool?  Make sure you take the Snap Cap off before you start stitching!

    read more
  • Superior Stars: Susan Stewart

    Susan Stewart is an amazing quilter and embroiderer.  We absolutely love her work! (So much that we named a thread color after her, Purple Susan).  She began winning quilting awards in 2004 and hasn’t stopped since.  Check out her incredible quilts:

    Crystal Garden

    Crystal Garden

    Crystal Garden is pieced with black cotton sateen and cross-woven silk fabrics.  The embroidery designs are from OESD. It is pieced with So Fine! #50 and quilted with black and Purple Susan Kimono Silk with Bottom Line in the bobbin.

    Radiance

    Radiance Detail

    Radiance won Best Machine Workmanship at Houston in 2011, and Best Machine Workmanship at Paducah in 2012. The ivory fabric is Kaufman Radiance, and the pastels are Cherrywood. The quilting is done with Kimono Silk and Bottom Line.  The embroidery designs are from Zundt.

    Frozen Margarita

    Frozen Margarita was Susan’s donation quilt for Houston last year.  It is Kaufman Radiance. The OESD embroidery designs were stitched in Superior Metallic and quilted with Bottom Line on top and bobbin.

    Susan says, "Kimono Silk is my favorite thread for quilting!  It quilts sooo beautifully!  I like fine detail work, and Kimono Silk really works for that.  The colors are beautiful, too.  Sometimes I use Bottom Line as the top thread for quilting, but I almost always use it in the bobbin.  

    I use lots of Bottom Line as the bobbin thread for my machine embroidery. Two main reasons - one, it creates virtually no lint, which is important with the amount of stitching I do, (sometimes up to 6,000,000 embroidery stitches in a single quilt!); and two, I can come close to matching the bobbin thread to the top thread, so that if there is a little glitch in the tension, there is no white spot of bobbin thread showing.  

    I piece with So Fine! #50.  I often do machine embroidery over pieced fabric, and I learned the hard way that cotton thread is not strong enough to survive the repeated needle piercings of a dense machine embroidery design.  So Fine! #50 eliminates any breaks in the seam that have to be repaired by hand after the embroidery is done."

    Images courtesy of Susan Stewart

    read more
  • Superior Stars: Angela Walters

    Angela Walters

    We’re excited to highlight quilter, blogger, and incredible teacher: Angela Walters.  She does amazing quilting tutorials on her website. 

    Angela Walters

    Angela Walters

    Angela Walters

    Angela offers great advice to new and experienced quilters and today we share a few of her best quilting secrets:

    1. Don’t Compare Your Worst with Everyone Else’s Best

    We all do it to some extent, but it can be so detrimental to our joy. Have you heard the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”? If so, then you know what I am talking about. Instead of comparing your quilting to everyone else’s, be proud of the fact that you are doing your best work right now. It’s ok to inspired, but don’t be intimidated!

    2. Don’t Point Out Your Mistakes

    It can be an automatic response, someone compliments our quilt and we immediately begin pointing out all the things that are wrong with it. I see this in my classes all the time and it makes me so sad. Instead of pointing out mistakes or dying a compliment, just say ‘Thank You’…..or at the very least, say something like ‘I had a fun time working on it’.

    3. Don’t Forget the Purpose of Your Quilt

    If you are getting frustrated with the quilting on your quilt, it may help to remember the purpose of your quilt. Chances are, the main purpose of your quilt isn’t to give you an opportunity to berate yourself. Instead, think about the greater purpose that it will serve once it’s finished, whether you are keeping it or giving it away. Changing your perspective may help you enjoy the whole process a little more.

    And last but not least:

    4. Don’t Forget That a Finished Quilt is Better Than a Perfect Quilt Top.

    No one ever sat by the fire cuddled up under a quilt top. Pull out those unfinished quilt tops that you are afraid to quilt, and finish them!

    ---

    Wise beyond her years!  To see more of Angela’s talent, visit her website.

    Images courtesy of Angela Walters

    read more
  • Superior Stars: Becky Goldsmith

    Becky Goldsmith

    Becky Goldsmith is an incredible quilter, appliquer, author, and teacher!   She is part of the amazing design duo of Piece O’ Cake.  Today, we share one of her first pieced quilts in a long time, Tick Tock.

    Tick Tock

    Tick Tick is beautifully appliqued using Frostings Prewound MasterPiece bobbins and quilted using King Tut

    Her cute sewing studio, pictured below, is directly off her living room.  It looks to me like a haven for creativity!

    Becky Goldsmith

    Helping Becky through her creative process are her three cute cats; Emma, Dave, and Belle.  While pictured here together, the three of them do not get along well. (Can you relate with this?)

    Cat friends

    Becky’s best quilting organization tip?  Force yourself to make your backing and binding when you finish a top and cut the fabric for the sleeve at the same time.

    Love Becky’s work as much as we do?  See more at pieceocake.com.

    Images courtesy of Becky Goldsmith

    read more
  • Superior Threads’ Birthday!

    Superior Threads Birthday

    Superior Threads was born out of necessity. Bob and Heather Purcell started Superior Threads in the spring of 1998 in their small garage. Heather had been quilting for several years and was looking for a source of high-quality threads. With the current market supply limited, Bob and Heather embarked on a journey to find a Thread supplier who would create the high-quality threads they had envisioned.

    Unfortunately, American thread mills wouldn't listen to their ideas. When they approached several mills and textile factories discussing their ideas for high-quality quilting and sewing threads, they were told "This is what we make. Take it or leave it". They realized that they couldn't have the quality they were hoping for, so they moved onto Plan B, Japan. Having spent the better part of 10 years in Japan, they knew Japanese production methods and the high demand for quality-conscious products. Many trips and collaborations later, Superior teamed up with several of Japan's finest textile manufacturers to produce the high-quality threads they set out to create. We celebrate our birthday on July 18th, as this is when Superior was set to full power. We've come a long way since the beginning and have broadened our range of products to include needles and notions.  Now Heather has access to the largest thread and fabric stash ever!

    Thank you for coming with us on this incredible journey and celebrating our birthday with us!

    read more

Items 1 to 15 of Total

Article Archive

  2015 (58)
  September (2)
  August (9)
  July (8)
  June (8)
  May (6)
  April (8)
  March (3)
  February (9)
  January (5)
  2014 (88)
  2013 (31)
  2012 (53)
  2011 (21)
  2010 (2)