My “I Heart” The 80’s Quilt Tutorial

When I was at Quilt Market in the spring, I fell in love with Cotton+Steel Designer Kim Kight‘s new collection – Snap To Grid. The collection just sung to me with memories of the 80’s: Great music, geometric designs, and of course NEON COLORS! As soon as I saw the fabric, I knew I wanted to make a quilt with them and with the Sulky super cool PolyDeco™ Neon colors!

My “I Heart the 80’s” Quilt Tutorial

This is actually a super quick and easy (not to mention, fun!) quilt, too!


I started with 6″ squares of Cotton+Steel Snap to Grid fabric and 6″ squares of RJR Cotton Solid Supreme in Optic White, white Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky for piecing, and Sulky 40 wt. PolyDeco thread in lots of awesome Neon Colors.


Layer one square of white with one square of Snap to Grid fabric and sew a quarter-inch seam around all four sides.

Yes.  All four! I promise – you will love this.

Now cut corner to corner, turn the mat, and cut corner to corner again.

This gives you four, half-square triangles. Isn’t that cool! I used this same technique with 2-1/2″ squares to make tiny triangles in this blog post. 

Now you can lay out your triangles however you want. I played with the order for awhile until I came up with something I liked. I pieced the quilt top together with 50 wt. Cotton+Steel thread by Sulky, in the top and bobbin. This thread sews like a dream in my machine!

Now it was time to pick the thread for quilting! I narrowed it down to five of the PolyDeco Neon Colors.

Okay, let’s talk about the proverbial “elephant in the room.” Yes, I am quilting with polyester thread. It’s okay. It’s not going to somehow hurt my quilt. This thread is made to work really well with cotton fabric. Many, many quilters (especially long-arm quilters) quilt with polyester thread. We can all stop freaking out about it being against the rules. Ladies, that rule was silly in the first place, so we have thrown it out. Not many of us are purists anymore. Secondly, I couldn’t have gotten these bright neon colors in cotton thread. In laymen’s terms (because I don’t understand it, when our thread engineers try to explain it to me), cotton just doesn’t dye the same way as polyester. So, getting neon colors, especially this bright, is hard to do. So bring on the PolyDeco Neon, baby!

I put the walking foot on my machine and just started quilting straight lines.

I gotta say, I am in love with this quilt. An added bonus, the PolyDeco Neon thread quilted wonderfully. I left the Cotton+Steel thread by Sulky in the bobbin and just switched out the top thread when I wanted to change the color. I had no issues quilting and my machine was basically lint-free when I was finished!

With Halloween just around the corner, I think I will be using these neon threads a lot in the near future. What do you think? Will you venture into the world of PolyDeco Neon thread with me?

Happy Sewing!

Machine Embroidery Series: Cotton+Steel Thread & Embroidery Designs

Machine Embroidery Series

Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky

& New Cotton+Steel Scout Embroidery Collection

pamela Cox headshot

 This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!


When was the last time you really got excited over thread?  If the answer is “Not for quite a while.”, the new answer is “Right Now!”

Proudly announcing the newest addition to the Sulky Thread Family…

Name: Cotton+Steel Thread

Born: 2017

Weight: 50

Size: 660 yard spools

Proud Parents: Sulky and Cotton+Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics

Sulky recently teamed up with a wonderful, funky group of designers, Cotton+Steel, to bring their unique awareness of fabric color into the world of Sulky Thread!

Cotton+Steel 50 wt. Thread is made from 100% Egyptian grown, Extra-Long Staple cotton.  It is spun in Egypt, twisted, dyed and finished in Italy, with the final winding in Germany.  This intense, quality-controlled manufacturing process produces a thread that flows effortlessly through the mechanics of the sewing machine.

Intended usage of this quality thread is for general sewing; piecing, quilting and garment making, especially since the thread collection is color coordinated with Cotton+Steel’s fabric line of RJR Fabrics.

And then along came machine embroidery….

Normally, an “all-purpose thread” is not employed to stitch out beautiful machine embroidery designs. Why would we even want another thread?  Especially, when within our immediate Sulky collection, we can select from a variety of threads: diverse in fiber content, colors and weights.

Let’s start with the available colors, which are young and unique, not to mention that they coordinate with an entire line of Cotton+Steel fabrics! Cotton+Steel Thread is available in an amazing variety of 100 lush colors of subtle shade differences. Plus, its 50 wt. filament is slightly thinner than a 40 wt. and slightly thicker than a 60 wt.  In other words, it provides new options in how an embroidery will look.

My first thought was, “How does it compare to “accepted/standard” machine embroidery threads?” I did a test sample and would suggest you do the same, because, although I did try to document subtle differences through photographs, there is nothing like true, visual results to appreciate all the nuances of all the threads.

I keep my stitch-out samples for future references documenting stabilizer, needle size, fabric content, and, of course, thread type – including color numbers.

Green Flower Bird by Sulky Embroidery Club

Design #657 – Green Flower Bird from Sulky’s Embroidery Club was first stitched in Sulky 40 wt. Rayon on Osnaburg fabric, a coarsely-woven utility fabric. Most embroidery designs are digitized to accept this thread weight.

Trying to stay close to the same color scheme, the same design was stitched in Cotton+Steel 50 wt. Thread, under the exact same parameters (same fabric, stabilizer, machine speed and needle size).  It stitched out beautifully with not one mechanical issue.

While still providing full coverage, the finer thread filament allowed the rows of stitches to lay next to each other with less overlap.  Also, the design was lighter in touch.  Cotton+Steel Thread offers a patina finish versus the satin-shine of Rayon, while still providing all design details.

The final stitch-comparison incorporated Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread.

machine embroidery series

Some details, most notably in the feet, are lost when embroidering a design originally intended for a 40 wt. Rayon Thread in heavier weights. However, in exchange, a “hand-stitched” effect is gained by the appearance of the thread sinking into the fabric, a matted finish, and creating additional depth to many focal points.

After evaluating the sample stitch-outs, it was obvious that Cotton+Steel Thread is a perfect choice for machine embroidery on so many levels!


Cotton + Steel Scout Embroidery Collection

Cotton+Steel’s first ever embroidery collection contains an assortment of 31 darling embroidery designs, reminiscent of old school scout patches.

Available at: Embroidery Online

Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky Scout Slimline Collection

This Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky Slimline contains all the colors needed to stitch every design in the Scout Embroidery Collection. This kit contains 26 660 yd. spools of the 50 wt. Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky.

Available at: Embroidery Online


Medium Lovebird – Scout Embroidery Collection by Cotton + Steel

The Medium Lovebird design #80141-04 was combined with Happy Daisy design #80141-1.

The digitized floral center, suggestive of a button, inspired skipping over these stitches and embellishing the embroidered petals with layered buttons.  The trendy thread colors cried out for an inspirational accent fabric!

Fabric: Drill Cloth – a utility fabric much like canvas but of lighter weight

Stabilizer: Sulky Soft ’n Sheer™

Needle Size:  110/16 Topstitch

Cotton+Steel Thread colors:  Bird: 1046, 0640, 1119, 1296 and 0505

Flower: (center colors omitted) 1037 and 0567


Owl – Scout Embroidery Collection by Cotton + Steel

I loved the outlined Owl #80141-15, and pictured it on napkin corners.  Wanting a bit of color, design #80141-09 Cactus & Owl was chosen.  The cactus framed the owl perfectly. However, not wanting too many owls, the small owl perched on the cactus was omitted.

Fabric: Pre-made linen/polyester blend napkin

Stabilizer: Sulky Soft ’n Sheer

Needle Size:  70/10 Sharps for Fix Box

80/12 Topstitch for embroidery design

Cotton+Steel Thread colors:  1131 – Owl   1156,1815 and 1082 – Cactus


Medium Mustang – Scout Embroidery Collection by Cotton + Steel

I knew my granddaughter would love this graphic, Mustang design #80141-02, embroidered on a sweatshirt for her riding classes. Since I had only embroidered on woven fabrics with Cotton+Steel Threads, I thought it would be good to try a knit!  Stitching went flawlessly!

Fabric: Pre-made 50 cotton/50 polyester medium-weight sweatshirt

Stabilizer: Sulky Sticky+ ™

Sulky Solvy

Needle Size:  90/14 Ball Point Embroidery Needle

Cotton+Steel Thread colors:  1229,1295 and 1005


Sulky Cotton+Steel Thread truly inspires the use of color and, at times, may be the preferable choice for an application just as all the other members of the Sulky Thread family are.

One thing is certain: Sulky’s Cotton+Steel Thread has already earned a well-deserved place in our necessarily diverse Embroidery Thread Collections.

Why You’ll Love This Cotton+Steel Webinar

Cotton + Steel Webinar

Sunshine Pillow

cotton + steel webinar: why you'll love it

Want to add a little extra cheer to your home or office? Maybe you’re looking for a neat gift for a baby shower, wedding, or birthday! Whatever the occasion, the Sunshine Pillow project by Cotton+Steel is your winner. Here’s why…

  1. You get to watch how it’s made in a FREE webinar!

  2. You get to hang out with Devon Iott, Captain of Creative Communications at Cotton+Steel! (And we all know how cool those gals are!)

  3. If this fabric is too bright for you or doesn’t fit the occasion, you can change it out with whatever fabric suits your style! (Like these other fun Cotton+Steel Fabric Collections)

  4. You’ll get to see the new Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky in action

You will learn…

Why You'll Love This Cotton+Steel Webinar: Sunshine Pillow

Register Now!

Once you register, share the registration link with your friends on Facebook with hashtag: #cottonandsteelwebinar to have your name in the hat to win a 6-pack of Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky!! (Make sure you use the hashtag so we see it!)

Can’t make it? You can still sign up and receive everything that’s included in the webinar AND watch the recorded webinar at your convenience anytime in the future.

Added bonus: Following the webinar we have a special discount running on the Sulky website that you have GOT to see!

See you there!Why You'll Love This Cotton+Steel Webinar: Sunshine Pillow

Quilt Market Recap from Cotton + Steel


Hello! I’m Devon from Cotton+Steel, and I’m a guest on the Sulky blog today to tell you all about the Cotton+Steel Fall Quilt Market experience! Quilt Market is always a blast, but this one was extra crazy and fun because we have so many projects in the works. While we’re recovering from the excitement, we wanted to share a little bit about our latest Houston experience, and especially tell you all about our new line of Sulky thread.


Our five designers (L to R): Rashida Coleman-Hale, Sarah Watts, Alexia Abegg, Melody Miller, Kim Kight

The first two days of our time at Quilt Market are always dominated by setup. We only have a limited time to transform all of our booth spaces from empty squares of floor to fully set-up booths. We have a rad team that helps us design and execute our Quilt Market booths called Readyset Atlanta, and we couldn’t do it without them!


Our main booth had a spot for each of our newest collections. Our five designers released their sixth collections, and Rifle Paper Company released their second fabric collection as Guest Designer for Cotton+Steel. We also released two new collaborative collections and our first ever Block of the Month program in collaboration with Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries. (For more photos of our Quiltmarket booths, follow us on Instagram!


For this Market, Sulky Threads was our neighbor, which was convenient since we collaborated on a brand new line of thread! They had a super cute setup that looked like a vintage soda shop.


In the Cotton+Steel booth, we had a mini sewing room set up where people could actually try out our thread and sew a project. We are super excited to have designed both 2017 BERNINA 350 Special Edition sewing machines, and Market was the first time we saw them in real life. They are so cool, and the thread and machines both sewed like a dream.


Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky is a brand new line of 50 wt thread. It’s made from 100% Egyptian grown cotton that is dyed in Italy and wound in Germany. There are 100 colors that were all carefully chosen to include essential sewing colors and a mix of fun, vibrant colors. There are lots of different spool colors and label designs, and when you see everything together it’s really like eye candy. We really feel like everything in your sewing room should be thoughtfully designed, inspiring, and reflective of your creativity, even your thread!


A few weeks ago, our Creative Director Melody Miller went to Europe with Jason Prater from Sulky Threads. Together they traced the manufacturing path of Cotton+Steel Thread, and we made a video about their experiences and the people they met along the way. It’s so interesting to see all the steps involved in making thread. Check it out below:

Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky from Cotton + Steel on Vimeo.

We try to make Quilt Market as fun as possible, because it is a ton of work and can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. One morning, everyone secretly wore pink wigs and dressed like Melody because we all love her so much. She was so surprised and happy that she might have cried just a little bit.


Fall Quilt Market was a blast, and now it’s time to look forward to the next year. We can’t wait for March 2017, when our thread starts appearing in shops. Until then we’ll be dreaming about all the projects we’ll be making with it!

6 Trends from Spring Quilt Market 2014

One of the great things about Spring Quilt Market is being able to spot the new trends in the sewing and embroidery world. Although the show itself can be overwhelming, these are the trends that we saw and liked this year:

Cotton + Steel: Cotton + Steel is a new division of RJR Fabrics that is a collaboration of 5 different designers to come up with one cohesive look. That means that all of the fabrics from all five lines all go together. The fabrics have a retro/modern feel and have a wonderfully soft color palette. I think we will be seeing a lot of great things coming out of Cotton + Steel in the very near future. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on some of their fabrics!

cotton steel sample spree

This is the chaos in front of the Cotton + Steel table at the Sample Spree at the Spring Market. Everyone was excited to get their hands on these new fabrics

All Things Retro: Retro is the new modern! Funny, I know, but true! Modern quilting is on the rise and certainly a trend we saw at market. The return of retro is a huge part of the modern movement. From the design to the colors and the images, all things retro is back in style. For me, this means I can dig into the back of my stash and a lot of those fabrics are perfect to start using again.

jillily studio

This was our booth neighbor at Quilt Market. They were perfectly retro! I love the bicycle and the cherries.

riley blake market

Riley Blake has been a trend setter in the industry for awhile now and this year is no exception. Chevron is still really popular and I personally love the vintage camera fabric in the spring line

Soft Colors: Last year, the colors were strong and bold, neon even. This year brings a return to soft, muted colors. Even the lime green isn’t as bright as before. The nice thing about these muted tones is you can use the brights from last year and this year’s fabric, and they will work beautifully together.

goetzen booth marketmarket fabric 2 market fabric 1

Lots and Lots of Modern: Modern quilting and fabrics are on the rise as well as the modern quilter! Over the past several years, we have seen an increase in people with an obsession for modern quilting at a much younger age. We love this trend! The more people we can get enjoying sewing and quilting at a younger age the better! That just means more creative people expressing themselves and making this world a better and prettier place.

Art quilts: I think it’s interesting that quilters in general don’t consider themselves artists when they are in fact amazing artists. This is even more evident with an increase in art quilts. This year’s Quilt Market had no shortage of amazing art quilts.

larry by Jennifer day 1

“Larry” by Jennifer Day

zen magpies by helen godden 2

Detail section of “Zen Magpies” by Helen Godden

Modern Hand Stitching: The increased popularity in hand embroidery, especially modern hand embroidery has us tickled pink here at Sulky. Our Cotton Petites are perfect for all these amazing new designs like the ones from Penguin and Fish, inc. I am envisioning a hand embroidery “block of the month” in this blog’s near future. What do you think?

hedgehog embroidery market

Penguin and Fish, inc. has wonderful hand embroidery designs that are clean, modern and delightfully simple