Heather's Birthday Interview Heather's Birthday Interview
Read our Happy Birthday interview with Superior Threads founder, Heather Purcell.

Interview with Mother Superior

Heather and I started Superior Threads over 20 years ago. Each year brings more milestones and reflections on our adventure. For her birthday this year, we thought it would be a fun opportunity to answer several questions that she frequently receives in an interview format.
Bob Purcell

When did Superior Threads start?
Superior Threads was officially established April 29, 1998. We started working in our basement, then moved into a large garage and then added onto the garage. In 2006 we designed and built an office and warehouse building. Three years later, we built another building and tripled the size. I have a lot of thread!

When did you start sewing?
I grew up in Australia. I made Barbie clothes by hand when I was six or seven. I started sewing my own clothes when I was 12. I thought if I would start making clothes, my mum would continue to make clothes for me and then I'd have double the amount of clothes! Unfortunately, that didn't work. Shortly after I started sewing my own clothes, my mum stopped making clothes for me.

When did you first become interested in quilting?
When we lived in Hawaii, I used to buy material for clothing at Kaimuki Dry Goods in Honolulu. I noticed they also had a quilting fabric section. The beautiful metallic fabrics caught my eye. I signed up for a quilting class and started my first quilt. (I never finished that quilt.) We moved to St. George, Utah and I wanted a king size bed quilt. I noticed a store that sold handmade quilts. I was disappointed when I saw the available quilt selection because the colors were not attractive and the block patterns were large with minimal hand quilting. Leaving that store, I noticed a quilt shop so I stopped and went inside. I told them what I was looking for. They said, "we have the colors you want here and we'll teach you how." I started my quilting addiction right then and there, and before long, they asked to me teach at the store. I've been quilting ever since.

How many quilts have you made?
The last time I performed a quilt audit, I had over 300 completed quilts. I don't know how many quilts I have in various stages of completion though. If you've visited our booth at any of the quilt shows we've exhibited at in the past 20 years, you'll see a selection of quilts that I've pieced and had talented longarmers quilt beautiful designs.

Trip to the altar quilt
One of my favorite quilts, Trip to The Altar

With so many quilts, what do you do with them?
Many quilts are used for display at the quilt shows and sewing expos we exhibit at. I've given many away. Some were donated to the tsunami relief efforts in Japan and some are hanging on the walls in our fabric shop. One day when I was going through my quilt stash, I made a large stack of quilts to donate to our local Goodwill store. Bob insisted that we offer them to family members first so all three of my children came over and in turn, the quilts went around the room with each child selecting a quilt they wanted. It was like the football draft with Round 1 selections, then Round 2, then Round 3. That was a fun event for me.

Do you have a favorite quilt?
I have several favorites. Some because the fabric is meaningful. Others because they required a specific skill level. And several because of the longarmer who quilted it. One of my favorite quilts is Trip to the Altar. I love the almost optical illusion and the colors of this quilt. Trip to the Altar is pictured above.

What is your favorite part of quilt creation process?
Hands down it's the fabric selection and piecing the quilt together. I enjoy seeing the quilt come together and get a lot of satisfaction seeing an empty cone or spool once I've pieced the blocks together.

When do you make the quilts?
I'm a night owl. You will find me in my quilt studio almost every evening, late into the night.

King Tut thread

What is your favorite part of the thread creation process?
I absolutely love color. It defines every thread I’ve created. The process of color development is my favorite step in the thread creation process. Sometimes, determing the right shade of blue or purple in a variegated thread can be a taxing process. But the end result is extremely satisfying. Our variegated threads have been my favorite to design.

Bonus question: Who is your favorite child?
That's an easy answer. It's Todd, my youngest. He also happens to be the one that typed this interview, created this page on our website and never asked his mom this question. ☺

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