May-June 2007

Wise Words From Mother Superior
Sometimes two cones of the same variegated color look very different. Different wind patterns or different winding start points create different looks, although the colors are identical. When comparing two cones of the same colors, instead of looking at the cones from the sides, look directly at the tops of the cones. The colors should appear identical from this view, even though the side views look different. The top view is the accurate view.

$30 Gift Certificate Winner 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 idea received each month. In the e-mail subject line, please type "$30 idea." This month's winner: Kathy Bond (Cookeville, TN). Please offer an intense training seminar for serious learners. Bob's response: We receive occasional requests from customers who want more information and hands-on training than our newsletters, website, and our seminars provide. We are considering a 2-3 day intensive training session for interested participants. It would include extensive thread education, instruction, and hands-on classes from Superior Educators and Designers. If you would be interested, please send an e-mail with the words 'training' in the subject.

Education: Random Q & A Q. Is black thread weaker than other colors?
A. Only if it has been over-dyed because the first color was mis-dyed. Some companies put all the mis-dyed colors in a reject bin and over-dye them black. The excess amount of dye in these over-dyed threads can cause the fibers to weaken. (note: Superior Threads are never over-dyed.)

Q. Does it really matter if a piecing thread is 2-ply or 3-ply?
A. If the strength is sufficient and a very fine thread is desired, a 2-ply thread will make a nicer seam. A 3-ply thread will be stronger but also heavier. When piecing, we usually use a short stitch length. This short stitch makes a strong seam and therefore a quality 2-ply thread is perfectly fine to use. Of course, a 3-ply thread would also be OK, but it will add more bulk to the seam. Choose piecing thread wisely. Processing is as important as the raw material. The thread should be extremely smooth with no slubs and very little fuzz or lint. Avoid glazed, coated or waxed threads in your machine.

Q. What is the Tex measurement?
A. Tex is one of five standards used for thread measurement and, like the other measurement standards, can be confusing. We expect all 40 wt. (or Tex 25) threads to all be identical but there are too many other factors involved. A 40 wt. cotton will not equal a 40 wt. poly. A fuzzy 40 wt. cotton thread will be much bulkier and appear heavier than a quality processed and nicely twisted 40 wt. cotton. Some companies label a #50/2-ply thread as a 50 wt. Others label a #50/3-ply thread as a 50 wt. Both are incorrect because the number (#) system is not the same as the wt. system. So what do we do? Don't pay too much attention to the numbers, whether they be wt. or tex. Realize that the numbers may not be accurate and use them as ballpark guidelines only. Use your eyes and your hands to choose the right thread for each work. Fine thread to blend, and heavier thread to show.

Q. I heard that I should keep thread in the freezer. Is that right?
A. No thread needs to be kept in the freezer. Freezing dehydrates everything. Long term direct sunlight can fade colors and weaken fibers. Dust collected on the spools or cones will clog up the machine. The best way to store thread is out of direct sunlight and away from heat or air conditioning vents. Drawers and bags are fine.

Q. It seems that most cotton thread is now being advertised as Egyptian cotton. Did Egypt all of a sudden increase it's cotton production capacity?
A. No. Sadly, Egyptian cotton has become the generic term for long staple cotton even if it is not from Egypt. Long staple cotton is MEDIUM grade cotton. The HIGHEST grade cotton is extra-long staple (ELS). Egyptian-grown ELS cotton is the best type for thread. Only 1% of all cotton grown throughout the world is Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton. In terms of cotton production volume, Egypt ranks number eleven among cotton producing countries, behind India, China, Pakistan, and Brazil, to name just a few. Although long staple cotton grown in other countries may be labeled Egyptian cotton, it is not from Egypt. I suggest ignoring the advertising and make your decision based on quality and usability. Superior Threads King Tut and MasterPiece really are made from Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton. The cotton is transported from Egypt to Japan, which is the only place that can spin, process, and dye to our specifications.

Website Design and Hosting (this is an unpaid and unsolicited recommendation) are experts are creating, improving, and hosting websites in the quilting industry. They are highly skilled, fast, accurate and have good rates. We use them, like them, and recommend them. If you have had problems or frustrations with your website, contact them through their website or at [email protected]

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:

What's New 1. Custom winding service. We often receive requests for sample-size smaller spools of thread to use in classes. Sometimes a teacher needs 20 or 25 samples of metallic thread or MasterPiece or MonoPoly or King Tut but doesn't want 25 regular spools. Instead of having to buy an entire 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), we wind the spool or cone at 50 cents per bobbin, and send them to you. These special-wind plastic-sided bobbins can be used on top as a mini spool and are not intended to be used as prewound bobbins. Please e-mail or call our office for details.

2. A new Thread Reference Guide for Longarm Machines is now available on our website. This guide lists recommended needle sizes and tension settings for each thread type. On our home page, click on the Quick Reference Guide, then choose option number 3. A similar reference guide for home machines is also listed.

3. A convenient Index of our threads, listed by size, use, and fiber type is also listed on the above page.

4. Super Brights contain a set of 12 neon-like bright colors. They are now available for purchase by the single spool. Here is the link

5. We recently started carrying Groz-Beckert SAN 11 needles for longarm machines (except A-1 machines). In addition to sizes 18 (MR 3.5), 19 (MR 4.0), and 21 (MR 4.5), we now have size 16 (MR 3.0) in stock. This smaller size is recommended for So Fine The Bottom Line. We carry only the SAN 11 style needle (in all four sizes) because this needle is made for multi-direction sewing which is exactly what longarm machines do. (SAN stands for Special Application Needle.) SAN 11 needles are titanium-coated, last longer, run cooler, reduce fabric damage, reduce skipped stitches, cause less puckering, and overall, provide more accurate stitching. Here's the link:

6. Betty Cotton set of King Tut colors. Betty Cotton helped us design a set of Country Cottage colors. The set contains twelve 500 yd. spools, mostly tone-on-tone shades, within our King Tut line. These were first introduced a few months ago as part of our new 25 colors but it's been hard to keep them all in stock so we haven't told anyone about this 12-color set. We are finally caught up and all are in stock and available. Here's the link:

7. Heavier Duty Thread Stand/Cone Holder. Our new super heavy duty thread stands/cone holders are now here. All metal with a weighted base. Here's the link:

Upcoming Teaching Schedule Bob will join Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson, and Libby Lehman at the Ricky Tims Super Seminar in Richmond, VA on July 19, 20, 21, in Omaha in August and in Knoxville in September. These three-day seminars are amazing. Education, information, techniques, and fun interaction make this a most memorable event. If you are in the area, it is well worth attending. Here is a link to the Super Seminar website:

Specials. Show Off My Thread Month. Medium-heavy threads are on sale.

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. Brytes work best with a Topstitch #100/16 needle on home machines and a #21 (MR 4.5) needle on longarm machines. Special through the end of June: only $15.95 (reg. $19.80) for the 2,200 yd. cones.

2. Poly Quilter is a medium-heavy spun poly thread in 36 variegated colors. Spun poly has the appearance of cotton, but the lower price and greater strength of poly. 2,000 yd. cones are $16.50 (regularly $21.95). Poly Quilter works best with a Topstitch #100/16 needle on home machines and a #21 (MR 4.5) needle on longarm machines.

3. 50% off 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: and click on Specials in the left-land Products column.

Bob's Superior Joke of the Month My wife and I were sitting at a table at my 20-year high school reunion and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. My wife asks, "Do you know her?" "Yes," I sighed, "She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since." "My Gosh!" says my wife, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"

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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