January-February 2007

January/February 2007

Wise Words from Mother Superior
For piecing, you'll never find a better thread than MasterPiece. Available in 50 matching colors of extra-long staple Egyptian cotton, MasterPiece has extremely low lint and makes a wonderfully smooth seam.

$30 Gift Certificate
Send us your ideas to help us serve you better (products, education, website, newsletter, customer service, 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.' Congratulations to this month's winners:

1. Pamela Morris: Offer starter packs or sampler sets for individuals or stores.

Result: Four different types of Sampler Sets are now available. See the What's New section below.

2. Sandra Carstensen: Have the option to keep our credit card number on file with Superior Threads so we don't have to fill in all the information every time we order online. Result: We did it. Our webmaster programmed this function on the checkout page.

Education: Troubleshooting Seminar
Help! I'm having problems with breakage or puckering or looping or shredding. How do I troubleshoot the problem?
There are many players in the perfect stitch game. The machine, the thread, the needle, the tension settings, the batting or backing, the fabric, the thread path and thread guides, speed, use of lubricants or adhesives, thread delivery system, and perhaps even the weather. Here is an easy and practical guide to problem solving.
First, determine if the problem lies with the machine or with the thread. If you experience breakage or other problems with a particular spool of thread, put on another spool of the exact same type of thread (same brand, same type, and same thread weight) and test it, without changing any of the other variables or settings. It is OK to use a different color. If the second spool works perfectly fine, we might have an easy fix. Try the first spool again. If it works this time, it was probably a threading mistake and the problem is solved. If the original spool still does not work, we can conclude that it might be a bad spool and needs to be replaced. If the same problems occur with a second spool of identical thread, it's time to look at other areas.

1. Thread quality and usage. Are you using a good quality thread? Are you using it in the intended manner? Inexpensive serger thread found in bargain bins at discount stores are not intended for machine quilting. Fine, lightweight piecing threads may not be suitable for high speed longarm quilting. Linty and inexpensive threads may not be suitable for your application. Decorative heavier threads may be intended for couching, serger, and bobbin work; not for the needle.

2. Needle. Shredding is often the result of thread passing through a needle that is too small. It's like trying to lace up shoes with a shoelace that is too thick for the shoe eyelet. It will shred and eventually break. Some styles of needles have larger eyes than others. For home machines, the Topstitch and Metallic needles have the largest eyes and really do make a difference. Size 90/14 is recommended for medium to heavy threads and any sensitive thread. It seems that most stores I visit sell metallic needles, but they are almost always size 80/12. That is too small for metallic threads. Change to a 90/14. It is estimated that up to 10% of needles have some imperfections. Even if your needle is new, try another new one.

3. Tension settings. You have permission to change the tension settings. They are there for you. Most machines are factory preset to sew, using a fine (50 wt.) piecing or construction thread. Quilters and embroiderers often use medium wt. and heavier threads which require loosening the upper tension settings. Whether your machine has an automatic or manual tension system, learning to adjust the upper tension will prevent and resolve a lot of frustration. On a scale of one to ten, the upper tension setting on most machines is factory preset to five. Automatic tension systems may adjust the settings down to 3 or 3.5. That may not be enough. With metallic thread, we adjust the tension down to a one, regardless of machine brand. The most commonly used tension settings for other threads are between 2.0 and 3.5. Don't rely on the factory preset tension.
Bobbin tension settings are usually more reliable, but it is still OK to make adjustments. Before doing so, make sure the bobbin case is clean and threaded properly. Use a permanent marker to mark the current setting so you know where you started.

4. Thread delivery. Sensitive threads, such as metallic threads, may need more care than others. Spools and cones are wound differently. Most spools are wound with a straight or parallel wind whereas cones are wound in a criss-cross pattern. On stationery tabletop machines, straight-wound spools often perform better with the spool positioned on the vertical pin spool holder so the thread unwinds straight from the side. If you position the spool in the usual manner on the horizontal pin, the thread unwinds over the end of the spool and puts a twist on the thread as it unwinds. This twisting action may cause problems with a sensitive thread. If your machine unwinds the thread over the top of the spool and not from the side, it is strongly recommended that you use only cones. Spools are not intended to unwind at high speed over the top.

5. Speed. Machines are getting faster and faster. Reducing the sewing speed often solves breakage problems.

6. Other factors. Some high sheen threads don't do well with adhesive sprays. Some fabrics are more densely woven. Some fabrics have sparkling coatings. On longarm machines, the tautness of the fabric between rollers affects the results (relaxed is better).
All these variables contribute to the end result. Fortunately, we have control over most of them.

What's New
1. Sampler Sets. We now have four different Superior Sampler Sets. These sets are offered at a 40% discount and are not for resale. It is a wonderful way try a variety of our products.

a. Longarm Quilting Sampler. Contains one each of our longarm quilting products: Superior Metallics, Rainbows, NiteLite ExtraGlow, Poly Quilter, Bottom Line, So Fine, King Tut, SuperBOBs (L-Style & M-Style) prewound bobbins, Brytes, MonoPoly, and a pack of Groz-Beckert #19 (MR 4.0) needles.

b. Home Machine Quilting Sampler. Contains Superior Metallics, Perfect Quilter, Glitter, Rainbows, NiteLite ExtraGlow, Poly Quilter, Bottom Line, Nature Colors, So Fine, King Tut, MasterPiece, MonoPoly, SuperBOBs L-Style prewound bobbins, Brytes, and Topstitch 100/16 and 90/14 needles.

c. Embroidery Sampler. Contains Superior Metallics, Glitter, Rainbows, NiteLite, Bottom Line, Nature Colors, Living Colors, So Fine, King Tut, MasterPiece, Topstitch 90/14 needles, MonoPoly, SuperBOBs L-Style prewound bobbin, Brytes, Dissolve, Dissolve-4x.

d. Bobbin Work/ Couching/Serger Sampler. Contains Halo, Razzle Dazzle, Polyarn.
Here's the link for the Sampler Sets:

2. MonoPoly jumbo spool. 66,300 yds. This is equivalent to 27 regular spools. $49.00.

3. Special needles for Longarm Machines. Just as home machines, longarm machines also have a wide selection of available needles. The needle we recommend for longarm machines is the SAN 11 by Groz-Beckert. SAN 11 stands for Special Application Needle style 11 and is specifically made for multi-directional use, which is exactly what longarm machines need. This needle is available in all common sizes. Here are the features of this needle:

a. titanium-coated. It will last longer and run cooler.

b. multi-directional . More accurate stitching while moving the machine in any direction.

c. extra strength. Allows for maximum flexibility and bending.

d. deep scarf. Prevents skipped stitches.

We have these needles available in three sizes, #18 (MR 3.5), #19 (MR 4.0) and #21 (MR 4.5). The price for a pack of 10 needles is $5.50. Here's the link:

4. Topstitch Needles, size 80/12 for home machines. These needles are ideal for piecing and quilting with fine 50 wt. threads. We also have the larger Topstitch sizes available for quilting and embroidery.

Upcoming Seminars
If you are in the area and would like to attend a seminar, here are two events:

1. Bob will teach seminars in Salt Lake City on Feb. 1 at 2:00 p.m. at Lizzie's Quilting Palette/Floyd Sewing Machines and at 7:00 p.m. at the Utah Quilt Guild, Salt Lake Area.

2. Bob will teach a daily seminar at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo, March 1-4 in Puyallup, WA.

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 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:

Website Design and Hosting (this is an unpaid and unsolicited recommendation).
If you are thinking about creating a website or need to upgrade, change, or maintain your current website, we have a wonderful recommendation. Check out They are highly skilled, fast, accurate and have good rates. We use them, like them, and recommend them to everyone. Please contact them through their website or at [email protected]

Distributors in Canada
We receive many inquiries asking who distributes our thread in Canada. Here are two distributors, one who serves longarm quilters and one who supplies retail stores:

1. For longarm quilting thread, contact Website: Tel: 604-794-5955

2. For retail stores, contact Erie Quilt Art Supplies, Ontario e-mail: [email protected] Tel: 519-782-3915

1. Brytes by Caryl Bryer Fallert is a #30/3 high-sheen, lint-free polyester thread. Brytes is a medium/heavy thread and is intended to show off in your quilting and embroidery. 50 bright colors are now in stock. 2,200 yd. cones are regularly $19.80. Special through the end of February: only $15.95.

2. Poly Quilter 2,000 yd. cones. This is a medium-heavy spun poly thread in 36 variegated colors. Spun poly gives the appearance of cotton, whereas high-sheen poly gives the appearance of silk. 2,000 yd. cones are $16.50 (regularly $21.95).

3. 50% off ALL Perfect Quilter, both sizes. We plan to convert 300 yd. Perfect Quilter to a spool from the current mini cone. Therefore, all 300 yd. mini cones are 50% off. Regular price is $8.99. Now only $4.50. Here's the link: 2,500 yd. cones are $15 per cone (reg. $29.95). Perfect Quilter is a 17 wt. cotton thread that creates a wonderful, well defined stitch. We recommend using a Schmetz Topstitch #100/16 needle and a thread stand/cone holder. We recommend this thread for home machines and not for most longarms. Topstitch needles are available on our website and heavy duty thread stands are also available

4. Check out other specials here:

Bob's Superior Joke of the Month
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was also the local Pastor, if they could discuss the use of the family car. His father invited him to his study and said, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study the scriptures, and get your hair cut and we'll consider it."
A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss the use of the car. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your scriptures diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!"
The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair." To which his father replied, "Yes, and they WALKED every where they went!"

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.

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