September 2006 Newsletter
Wise Words From Mother Superior
If you have attended one of our thread seminars and received a PhD
diploma in Threadology, please share the knowledge with your friends.
We receive many requests to teach thread seminars at local stores and
guilds and are now scheduling seminars and hands-on classes up to two
years in advance. For details, click on the following link:
Education: The Science of Piecing
An excellently pieced seam requires skill as well as good components.
One of the major components of a good seam is the thread. Most
quilters prefer cotton thread for piecing because cotton has a high
heat tolerance and is therefore iron-safe. Cotton is also softer and
more pliable than most other fibers. Here is what to look for in a
quality cotton piecing thread:
1. Twist. The twist should be consistently smooth and quite tight.
Hold the thread up to the light. If you see bumps in the thread or
inconsistent twisting, it is not high quality. These bumps, or slubs,
will get caught in the tension disc and in the needle which will
result in lint buildup and a weakened thread as they are snagged.
They will also add unwanted bulk to the pieced portions, resulting in
2. Fuzz factor. If you hold the thread up to the light and see no
fuzz at all, that's bad. Either the thread isn't cotton or it is a
glazed cotton. Glazed threads are for hand quilting, not machine
piecing or quilting because the glaze rubs off in the tension disc and
other areas and gums up the machine. If you see a lot of fuzz and
uneven amounts of fuzz along the strand, it is not a quality thread.
If you see a very small amount of fuzz and the thread is consistently
smooth, that's a good one.
3. Thread thickness. Cotton thread is almost always either a 2-ply
or 3-ply thread. A high quality 2-ply thread can be stronger than a
lower quality 3-ply thread due to the fibers and the processing. A
thin, smooth thread will make the best seam because it lies flat in
the fabric. Therefore, assuming the quality is the same, a 50 wt.
cotton thread will make a better seam than a heavier 40 wt. cotton
thread. When pressed, the finer thread will make a better seam and the
points will match up better.
4. Strength. A non-glazed, fine cotton thread will not win any
strength contests by itself. However, because the average stitch
length for piecing is 12 stitches per inch, the strength is in the
stitching. A high quality 50 wt. 2-ply cotton is the perfect piecing
5. Piecing with matching colors. I saw a beautiful quilt that had
what looked like pencil marks next to all the seams. I wondered why
the quilter didn't erase them. Upon closer examination, what I was
seeing was a gray thread showing through a yellow fabric. Had the
quilter pieced with a matching yellow thread, it would have not been
noticeable. Although many think that white, cream, and gray threads
are the only necessary colors for piecing, matching the piecing thread
color to the fabric really does make a big difference.
$30 Gift Certificate WINNERS for July and August
Send ideas to [email protected]
to help us serve you better
(products, education, website, newsletter, customer service, Hawaiian
quilting vacations, etc.). We'll award a $30 gift certificate for the
best ideas received each month. In the e-mail subject line, please
type "$30 idea." July and August winners:
1. JoAnn Banks. My tip is to use BOBs or SuperBOBs variety packs of
prewound bobbins for applique projects. The Bottom Line is perfect
for applique and you can get a variety of colors just perfect for most
2. Jane Emerson. Have the actual, most recently published newsletter
on your web site. I know that it would be convenient for me to read it
while I get my lunch break at work. (Bob's note: our webmaster has
been given the task. Expect it within a few days on the 'Newsletter'
3. Marie Johansen. Send a small sample of a thread with each order
if you spend "x" amount of money. (Bob's Note: We can't afford to do
this every month, but in celebration of Heather's (Mother Superior)
birthday, we are offering a FREE regular size 600 yd. spool of
MasterPiece with each Internet order over $30. See Specials below for
details. Thanks Marie and Happy Birthday Heather!)
4. Kathy Henderson. My suggestion is to create sample packs of thread
geared toward specific applications. For example, you could have
sample packs for longarm quilting, conventional machine quilting, hand
applique, etc. (Bob's Note: They are on the way. The new Superior
Samplers will soon be tailored toward each use.)
1. King Tut. 25 NEW colors are coming in late October (for a total
of 75 colors). Many of these new colors were designed with your
recommendations in mind. They will be available in both sizes, the
500 yd. spools and the 2,000 yd. cones. Fantastic new country colors
and many more tone-on-tone variegateds. I'm so excited I can hardly
2. Idea for Teachers. We often receive requests for class
sample-size smaller spools of thread. Sometimes a teacher needs 20 or
25 samples of metallic thread or MasterPiece or So Fine or King Tut
but doesn't want 25 regular spools. This might be your answer.
Instead of having to buy a whole spool of thread for each person, we
offer custom winding onto plastic-sided bobbins for any of our
threads. You buy the spool (or cone) at a discounted price, we wind
the entire spool or cone at 50 cents per bobbin, and send them to
you. Please call for details.
3. Website Design and Hosting. If you are thinking about creating a
website or need to upgrade or change your current website, we have a
wonderful recommendation. Check out http://www.danemco.com. They
are highly skilled, fast, accurate and have very good rates. We use
them, like them, and recommend them to everyone. Contact them at
4. Brytes by Caryl Bryer Fallert. Brytes is a high-sheen, lint-free
#30/3-ply poly. It will be introduced at the Houston Quilt Festival
in early November. Caryl was just named the recipient of the 2006
Silver Star Award by Quilts, Inc. and she will be honored at the
Houston show. Congratulations Caryl. Brytes consists of 50
brilliant colors, designed for quilting and outlining.
5. In July, we asked for your machine-specific tips and hints. They
are posted on our website. Please keep new ones coming. Here's the
Invitation to Retail Stores
If you own or work at a store that carries any of our products, please
add your store information to the Store Locator on our website.
Customers can find you by country, state, or zip code. We will tell
the world about the your store, list all Superior products you carry,
list your phone number and website, and even provide a map. Listing
is free. Here's the link: http://www.superiorthreads.com/locate/
Favorite Bumper Sticker
If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
Before reading the Joke of the Month, please make a note to send us
your $30 idea and machine-specific tips and hints.
Bob's Superior Joke of the Month
Martha's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several
months, yet she stayed by his bedside every single day. When he came
to, he motioned for her to come nearer. As she sat by him, he said,
"You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times. When
I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed,
you were there. When I got injured, you were by my side. When we lost
the house, you gave me support. When my health started failing, you
were still by my side. When I think about it now, I think you bring me
Thank you for reading. Please forward to a friend and have a SUPERIOR day.
Bob Purcell, the Thread Professor
Superior Threads: The ONLY thread with a guarantee.
Copyright 2006 by Superior Threads. If you wish to reprint the
Education portion of this newsletter, authorization is hereby granted
as long as the source is clearly cited as follows:
permission from Bob Purcell, Superior Threads.