Superior Education



By Nancy Ware for Superior Threads

Three Birds Wool Applique with Sew Sassy

I started creating wool applique wall hangings about five years ago. I have been appliqueing quilts both by hand and raw edge (machine) for over 15 years. I've been involved in embroidery for 55 years, completing my first embroidery piece when I was 10 years old. Having grown up in the 60’s, I found my love in embellishing clothing with embroidery.

I was drawn to wool applique by Sue Spargo. I purchased several of her books and patterns and immediately fell in love with wool applique. I found wool to be a wonderful medium to work with. I am not a traditionalist so I enjoy mixing wool with cotton and silk for a unique effect. I also like bright colors and fortunately, bright colors are becoming more popular and readily available.

Three Birds Applique

The Three Birds piece I made using Sew Sassy for Superior Threads incorporates one of my favorite combination methods, mixing cottons and wools together. The background was pieced together using a variety of cotton fabrics. I created the birds using a pattern out of a Zentangle design book. I've referenced many of the simple designs found in Zentangle and coloring books and translated this onto wool for embroidery projects. I've now developed a habit whenever I travel of browsing both children's and adult coloring books for more inspiration. I used Superior Threads' Sew Sassy 12 wt. 3-ply polyester thread for all of the embroidery stitches on the piece. Because Sew Sassy is a thick 12 wt. thread, it was great for the buttonhole stitch around all three appliqued pieces (the birds).

Closeup image showing the different types of stitches

Closeup image showing the different types of stitches

Two birds, 11 different thread colors

Two birds, 11 different thread colors

I prefer using a heavier thread or floss for decorative hand stitches and Sew Sassy was a little bit thinner than what I'm used to using for bulky, definition-adding stitches. However, the weight of Sew Sassy was great for the bullion stitches I used to create the legs and some of the enhancement stitches. I doubled the thread in a few areas to get more dimension and really like the way it all came together. Sew Sassy was surprisingly easy to use and I could use an embroidery needle instead of a chenille needle, which I liked. After finishing the applique on this piece, I quilted it using a simple meandering stitch. I used wool batting for added dimension. I typically use a variety of thread weights in my projects and my go-to thread has been Pearl Cotton 8 for most of my applique stitches. I would love to see Superior produce an 8 wt. thread for applique in solid and variegated colors.

I've also used Sew Sassy on cotton fabrics for raw edge applique on my sewing machine. I really like the texture and my appliqued piece almost looked like it was stitched by hand because of the weight of the thread. I used a #100/16 Topstitch needle and experienced zero thread breaks sewing with Sew Sassy in my machine. I love the way the stitches look and will continue to use Sew Sassy on future machine applique projects.

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