February 10, 2010

Yesterday I had the chance to try out the Superior windfall.

This is an old block originally called Wandering Foot. That name was thought to bring on the wandering foot to youths who slept under it, so a new name was given to it… Turkey Tracks. Much more attractive, don’t you think? :) It’s also called Iris Leaf when it’s green on white.

Fused and unstitched.

Fused and unstitched.

After some investigation on the Superior website, I discovered that the Holy SuperBobs are Bottom Line, a line of thread developed by Libby Lehman. It’s 60-weight polyester. I perused the rainbow and picked out the color that matched the best.


Wow, you can hardly make it out! It really is whisper-fine.

I fired up my Bernina and adjusted the blanket stitch down a few ticks, reasoning that a very fine thread should be given a pretty small stitch. A few minutes later, and voila! The block was stitched, and looked great! My machine liked the thread, which I used in both the top and the bottom, and Mother Superior says it’s not linty like cotton.


How’s that for blending in? From a short distance you can’t see the stitching at all. This thread might be a nice choice when you really want to mimic hand appliqué while still using your machine, or when using the turned-edge blind-hem stitch method of machine appliqué (which BTW I am not adept at).


One thing I did note is that the edges of the appliqués feel a little “crispy” compared to when I use cotton thread.

On to MasterPiece. MasterPiece thread is 2-ply 50-weight cotton, favored by the Piece o’ Cake gals and by Alex Anderson.

A simple forget-me-not.

Fused and unstitched.

Fused and unstitched.

My choices from the rainbow.


I adjusted the blanket stitch to my usual setting, just a couple ticks down in width and length. Away I went!


I like it, my machine likes it. I wound a bobbin for the green, but for the dabs of yellow and blue I used bobbins I already had wound with DMC. Worked great! They really are equivalent in weight so that’s a plus for me that I can mix and match at this stage of evolution in my thread stash.


Now on to hand appliqué. I just happened to have a block in the queue that I needed to stitch up twice, to use as an example in the new book I’m working on for Martingale.

Here are the threads I chose.

Poly on the left and cotton on the right.

Poly on the left and cotton on the right.

I started with the polyester first. I was really excited about trying out this thread for hand appliqué. In the past, when I’ve tried other brands of poly thread, it went around in circles, kinked up, and raveled at the end. I’m delighted to report that Bottom Line stays straight. It sinks right into the turned edge of the appliqué and hides itself really well, and I was not plagued with knots or kinks. Yay! The one thing I did notice is that since it’s more slippery than cotton thread, my thread tail kept shortening up on me and I lost the thread out of the needle a couple times. I guess this just takes getting used to coming from the fabric of our lives.


I was on a roll watching the chocolate challenges on Food Network, so I plunged on ahead to the second version, using MasterPiece cotton. Excellent on all counts.


Can you tell the difference in the completed piece? Neither can I, so I’ve been keeping sticky notes on them :).

These pink dogwood blocks may seem kinda pale, and that’s on purpose. I’m going to embroider around the edges of one of them to illustrate how you can better define the edges of your appliqués when you want to use low-contrast fabrics.

Well, thanks guys! I got a lot done yesterday!

Chime in! I’d like to hear from others who use Bottom Line or MasterPiece. How do you use it, why do you like it?

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie


10 Responses to “Superior report”

  1. Lemon Tree Tami on February 10th, 2010 11:46 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about Superior Threads’ Bottom Line brand, but I have yet to experiment with it. The few times that I appliqué I do it by hand with a spool of medium grey silk thread. So far the grey seems to melt into the shadows and I don’t have to worry about switching out the thread for different colors. But I think that it’s time to try some machine work next time. Thanks for sharing your results with us.

  2. betsy on February 10th, 2010 1:31 pm

    where is it available so we can try it?

  3. Carol Hansen on February 10th, 2010 2:48 pm

    Having never used either I was interested in what you had to say. All the blocks look great. My favorite is the dogwood.

  4. SD Janet on February 10th, 2010 3:13 pm

    I enjoyed your post today. I like your blog and I am new to hand applique, so I am always reading and looking at new things to improve.

  5. Melanie on February 10th, 2010 3:30 pm

    Great experiment. I had been using YLI silk thread and loving it. Easy to use and disappeared. Until I noticed a shine to it that stood out. Started researching and I’m now using the Superior Masterpiece threads. Love them. Easy to use and no shine! Purchased the “Frosted Donut” that has 36 colors on bobbins for $36 (Superior website). There’s a color for every need.

  6. Deb on February 10th, 2010 3:55 pm

    Being new to hand applique, I also purchased the “Frosted Donut”, which allowed me to buy several colors of thread without a major investment. I love all the colors and they way the hid in the fabric. Thanks for sharing your test with us.

  7. Tru on February 12th, 2010 9:24 am

    It’s nice to hear that Melanie is seeing the same thing I’ve been thinking I saw with the ‘shine’ of silk thread. I love YLI silk and have used it for years, but… Can’t wait to try the poly from Superior. Tried the Masterpiece on hand applique and wasn’t thrilled but love it in my Bernina! ‘Frosted Donut’ sound fun, no calories either!!

  8. anna lee on February 13th, 2010 11:37 am

    Fabulous article… I dont have any of these threads but I would LOVE LOVE love to. I ADORE your pink dogwoods soooo pretty. What fun-testing all these out. Kay, your sewing is SOOO beautiful! I just Love LOVE looking at it, your beautiful work always make me smile & encourage me on. thanks for all your help. :)

  9. helen on March 17th, 2010 1:05 am

    Luixin Newman (the Thimble lady) has a good trick for keeping the thread on your needle. After knotting the long end you hold the short end (with about 2 inches showing) pinched between your left thumb and forefinger and push the sharp end of the needle through (so it splits the thread) you do this 3 times making the short end go in an “s” shape. Pull on the short end and your needle slides into place and the thread won’t slip off. To ‘undo’ it your pull on the short end again. Kind of hard to explain in words but it works. She explains in in pictures in her book Perfect Applique which comes with a DVD showing how it is done.

  10. All About Applique on January 22nd, 2012 10:34 am

    […] tried out Superior’s MasterPiece Thread in an earlier post. MasterPiece is a fine cotton thread favored by the Piece o’ Cake gals and […]