A Weekend with Anita Zobens & Superior Threads

Hello friends,

March has been such an exciting month I haven’t had time to write down all of the things that are keeping me busy. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m planning to put pen to paper (or more likely, fingers to keyboard?) in a flurry of posts. I have stories from my week-long trip to North Carolina for a Studio 180 Certified Teachers Professional Development Week, updates from my most recent workshops, and some completed projects to share from past workshops. This post is all about the First Annual Northern Ontario Quilting Symposium, held March 12-13 in Sudbury, Ontario.

The symposium was an overwhelming success, with attendance well above normal class capacity and quilters coming all the way from far eastern Ontario and Quebec. The event was even covered by the Sudbury Star! (you can read the full article here).

My good friend Anita Zobens, owner/operator of Cotton Mill Threadworks, treated us all to a weekend of learning, shopping, and laughing. The focus of the 2-day workshops was thread: how to use threads in different projects, how to set up your machine for different thread weights, and the proper needles to use when pairing thread. And, it wasn’t just quilters - in the mix we had a garment sewer and a fiber artist!

Anita introduced us to the wide variety of threads available through Superior Threads. We got to play with invisible or monofilament thread, glitter thread, glow in the dark thread, and fusible thread. One of the highlights was using pre-wound bobbins, which hold more thread because they are wound at a proper tension and consistency. Anita also covered different applique methods and how we can take these wide variety of threads to change the appearance of our applique, and to bring out or enhance our applique.  

We also ran through different machine settings, focusing on how and what to change when using decorative stitches in our sewing. Many quilters have a lot of stitches available on their machines, but don’t spend time playing with them! Anita gave us the time, space, and confidence to work with different settings, combing decorative threads with decorative stitches and opening the door to a whole new world.

We also covered different needle types and uses. With the wide variety of threads produced today, a better understanding of how to pair of your sewing machine needle to you thread is necessary. For example, different thicknesses of threads and fiber contents can require different needles. With this knowledge, we left feeling like our quilting could be brought to another level, with more variety and the ability to add our own creative twist to the ordinary.

Finally, we looked at tension. Most quilters are terrified of adjusting the tension on their machines. Anita covered these issues throughout the weekend, helping us to feel more comfortable using different weights and types of thread and adjusting our tension to match.

If you would like to see more of Anita’s work or are interested in purchasing threads or needles from her, please visit her website. She offers both online and mail-order purchases.

Next time, I’ll share stories from my trip to North Carolina for the Studio 180 Certified Teachers Professional Development Week. Thanks for dropping by and until next time stay safe, hide the snow shovel, and quilt on.