December 2007

December 2007

It is possible to wind too much thread on the bobbin.  Overfilling a bobbin or winding a bobbin too tight can actually bend a metal bobbin and break a plastic bobbin.  Too much thread can also cause thread breakage because the bobbin thread unwinds loosely and can wrap around the bobbin pin.  If your bobbin thread is breaking, unwind some thread off the bobbin.  If it still breaks, the bobbin tension might be too tight.  When filling a bobbin, wind the thread not quite to the outer edge of the bobbin.

EDUCATION.  Frequently Asked Questions of 2007
Q.  Does it really help to put thread in the freezer?
A.  No.  That is a bad myth.  If you have heard from your friend's aunt's sister-in-law's cousin's neighbor that it really helps, let them believe it.  Refrigerators and freezer dehydrate everything and there is no benefit to thread.

Q.  How about the newer slick, coated lint-free cotton  threads?
A.  They are fine for hand work but not for machines.  Whether they are coated with silicone lubricant gel, wax, starch, or other substance, the coating will rub off in your machine wherever the thread makes contact.  Tension discs can be over-lubricated with silicone or gummed up with wax and starch. 

Q.  How can I tell if cotton thread is coated?
A.  In most cases, the label will not tell you.  If a cotton thread is advertised to be lint free or if it is very slick (that's silicone) or wiry (that's wax or starch) or has absolutely no fuzz, it is coated.

Q.  How do I choose the best needle size?
A.  The diameter of the thread is the most important factor in choosing a needle size.  It is always safer to choose too large rather that too small.  Using a too small needle is like trying to push a shoelace through a too small eyelet and will result in the thread shredding at the needle.  If you see a lot of lint buildup at the needle, either the thread is low quality or the needle is too small.  If you choose a too large needle, you might see some needle holes not completely filled by the thread.  If that is the case, give the quilt top a good shake and the fabric fibers should close up around the thread and close the holes.

Q.  Why are there different needle size standards such as #90, #14, and the MR scale?
A.  It's all marketing.  The only accurate and meaningful scale is the metric scale (#70, 80, 90, 100, etc.) which is the measurement of the diameter of the needle shaft in percentage of a millimeter.  A size 90 needle is 90% of one millimeter wide.  The corresponding number (10, 12, 14, 16, etc.) often used in the U.S. is an arbitrary number assigned to the accurate metric number.  Most home-use needles use both numbers, resulting is labeling like this: 70/10, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16 and so on. 
Longarm needles have their own two sets of needle measurements: the metric scale similar to the home needle measurement system, and the MR scale which was developed by Singer and is not based on the metric measurement scale.  The metric scale is the more accurate scale.  There are different opinions in interpreting MR and metric conversion charts.  This is the accurate chart:

MR 3.0 = #16/100
MR 3.5 = #18/110
MR 4.0 = #19/120
MR 4.5 = #20/125 or #21/130
MR 5.0 = #22/140

Q.  What is the best way to choose the right color thread?
A.  Good: compare the colors on the computer or a printed color sheet.
Better: Use a thread color card made with the actual thread to compare colors.
Better yet: Obtain the thread stitch-outs available for variegated threads such as King Tut.  These stitch-outs show the actual thread stitched onto both light and dark fabrics.
Best: Buy one of everything. (Note: OK to print and give this to husband and family members for gift list ideas.)  

Q.  Other than thread quality, what is the most common problem we encounter?
A.  The machine tension setting is too tight.  Sewing machines are factory preset to sew, not to quilt or embroider.  On a scale of zero to 10, factory set tensions are in the four to five range.  That is too tight for many quilting and embroidery threads.  Don't rely on automatic tension settings.  They cannot distinguish between different fiber types and sizes.  We recommended adjusting the tension setting as low as 1 for metallic threads and in the 2 to 3 range for most other decorative threads.

Bob's seminar at Road to California on Friday, Jan. 18 has been sold out for a few months.  We moved into a larger room to accommodate more and there is now more space available.

ADDITIONAL SEMINAR ADDED.  Road to California very kindly offered to provide an additional seminar on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2:00 p.m.  The cost is only $5 and the information you receive is worth hundreds.  Register at
Scroll down toward to bottom to LE 02 and select either Friday or Saturday.  Enjoy a fun and educational Thread Therapy session with Dr. Bob.

1.  MonoPoly CLEAR invisible polyester thread on prewound bobbins. Samples now available for L-style bobbins. L-style bobbins are the most popular size. We've tested them and love them. Before we order in a major quantity, we would like you to test them and tell us what you think. Therefore, we are offering them FREE of CHARGE as part of your order. If your machine is compatible with L-style bobbins and you would like to test this new product, please add it to your next order. Here's the link:

2.  MasterPiece on L-style cardboard-sided prewound bobbins. The six most popular neutral colors are here. #151 CANVAS, #152 BISQUE, #153 PARCHMENT, #155 GRAY, #156 GRANITE, and #161 BLACK are now available. MasterPiece is the absolute highest grade extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. It is a #50/2-ply thread which makes it ideal for bobbin, piecing, and applique. Your machine will notice the difference. See Specials below for pricing this month. Here's the link:

3. SuperBOBs. New colors of SuperBOBs in both L and M style. We now have 36 colors, available by the dozen, 1/2 gross, and also in assorted-color sets. See Specials below for pricing this month.

4. LAVA is a beautiful 35 wt. variegated 3-ply polyester with a 1-inch color change interval. Nicknamed "Rainbows for Gammills" because it is three times stronger than Rainbows thread. New colors are now in stock. 2,000 yd. cones. By the way, LAVA stands for Long Arm Variegated Art.  It's on sale this month. See Specials below for details. Here's the link:

5.  Neutrals sets of MasterPiece Thread. Set of 4 spools Light Neutral Colors and a set of 4 spools Dark Neutral Colors. $28.00 per set of 4 spools.

Send us your ideas to help us serve you better (products, education, website, customer service, etc.). We will award a $30 gift certificate for the best ideas. In the e-mail subject line, please type "$30 idea."  This month's winner:

Nadia Wilson, BC, Canada. On your website have a link on the products page that takes us to all the NEW items, instead of having to go to the newsletter and find out what is new and then scrolling down the respective thread line to find the new colors.
Note from Bob: We created a What's New section on our website.

1.  Annual bobbin special.  Each December, we offer a prewound bobbin sale. Below are specials for both cotton (L style) and polyester (L and M style) prewound bobbins. A list of compatible machines is listed on the linked webpages.
Cotton. These bobbins are not our new MasterPiece bobbins but the regular-grade cotton bobbins we have had for years.  One dozen each of 11 colors of 100% cotton L style prewound bobbins. Eggshell, Beige, Brown, Gray, Soft Blue, Navy, Green, Red, Black, Gold, and White.  A total of 132 bobbins (11 dozen) for $44 (reg. price is $66.00). To order online, click here  You will then see Assortment Set of Prewound Bobbins listed at the top.

Polyester. SuperBOBs are cardboard-sided prewound bobbins with The Bottom Line, a 60 wt. lint free polyester thread. L style bobbins hold 118 yds. per bobbin. A set of 72 bobbins (half gross) is $39 during December (regular $49.00). Available in 36 colors and four different assortment sets. Click here to view:
M-style SuperBOBs. Same as above, but the larger M style bobbins, with 215 yds. per bobbin. A set of 72 bobbins (half gross) is $49 during December (regular $59.00). Available in 36 colors and four different assortment sets. Click here to view:

2.  NEW!  MasterPiece on L-style cardboard-sided prewound bobbins. The six most popular neutral colors are here. #151 CANVAS, #152 BISQUE, #153 PARCHMENT, #155 GRAY, #156 GRANITE, and #161 BLACK are now available. MasterPiece is the absolute highest grade extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. It is a #50/2-ply thread which makes it ideal for bobbin, piecing, and applique. Your machine will notice the difference. We sent our thread to a new bobbin winding factory and, by mistake, the cardboard sides they used were preprinted with the word 'polyester.'  We are crossing out that word with a marking pen so our first batch of MasterPiece bobbins do not look real professional.  Therefore we are discounting the price by 40% to $6.00 per dozen instead of the regular $9.99 per dozen.
3.  FREE offer. Refer three friends who do not already receive this Superior Newsletter and we will send you a free spool of thread of your choice with your order. If you order online, in the Comments section at checkout, write the e-mail addresses of three friends who are willing and gave their permission to subscribe to our newsletter. Include your choice of any spool (not cone) of thread, specifying the thread type and color. We will include your free spool of thread with your order. If you order by phone, please provide the above information when ordering.

4. LAVA is our newest thread. It is a strong 3-ply 35 wt. lint-free polyester made for all types of home machines, longarm machines, and computerized machines. 29 variegated colors are in stock, all with a 1-inch color change interval. 2,000 yd. cones are on sale this through the end of December for only $15 (reg. $21.95). We guarantee you will love LAVA. Recommended needle size: Topstitch #100/16 for home machines and #19, 20, or 21 (MR 4.0 or 4.5 ) for longarms.

5.  Actual customer comment: "I don't know why anyone would not use Brytes whenever possible. It is fabulous thread. So strong and beautiful. NEVER breaks." -k.m.
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 #20 or 21 (MR 4.5) needle on longarm machines. Special through the end of December. Only $15.95 (reg. $19.80) for the 2,200 yd. cones.  Also available on 275 yd. spools.  Brytes is a wonderful thread to use with pantographs and computerized quilting. 

6. Check out other specials here:

Note: We try to ship orders within 24 hours. Sometimes, especially following the Newsletter, it takes us an extra day or two to catch up. We will do our best to ship your order in a timely manner.

BOB'S RECOMMENDATION for Website Design, Fixing, and Hosting
Are you frustrated with your website or webmaster? Or 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]    (This is an unpaid and unsolicited recommendation. We use them, like them, and therefore recommend them. You'll love their superior service.)

For the past several years, instead of a Superior Joke, I have sent a Christmas message with the December newsletter.  Of course there are a few who tell me how offended and disgusted they are to receive my sincere wishes for a wonderful Christmas season.  Being offended is a personal choice, not an uncontrollable result of another's actions and I am sorry that a few choose to be offended.  I gladly accept sincere messages of kindness, hope, and love from anyone, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or any other religious or nonreligious background.  I celebrate your joy when receiving greetings on your sacred holiday whether it be Hanukkah, Ramadan, Oshogatsu, Earth Day, or other.  In return, allow us celebrate and express our joy of this sacred season.  We want to say Merry Christmas, not Season's Greetings.  We have a Christmas Tree, not a holiday tree.  We enjoy singing and listening to Christmas carols, not holiday songs.

Christmas is about love.  It brings out the best in us as parents, children, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, and neighbors.  The Christmas season brings us closer to our families, to our neighbors, and to God.  The source of this love and accompanying kindness, hope, and healing is our belief in and gratitude to Jesus Christ, whose birth and life we are celebrating. The loving spirit of this season is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  The Christmas lights represent His light, showing the way. The evergreen Christmas Tree represents eternal life.  The Christmas star marks the path for us to follow.  He is the way, the path, and the light. May we reach out to our families and neighbors with forgiveness, kindness, and love, and by doing so, bring the Spirit of Christ into our lives. One kind word can warm a long winter month.  During this joyous season, let's mend a quarrel, seek out a forgotten friend, erase a grudge, ask forgiveness, offer forgiveness, express our love, and be of good cheer.  Jesus Christ is the son of God. He lives. He is our perfect Example. May we enjoy the Spirit of Christ during this wonderful season and everyday throughout the new year. MERRY CHRISTMAS from Bob and Heather Purcell.

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.
Superior no ka oi.

December Newsletter, part 2.
NEW Products and Bob's Joke of the Month

1. If you ordered a sample MonoPoly prewound bobbin, we want to hear from you. We have no more samples to send out and now are waiting for feedback. If you like them, we'll order them.

2. NEW! Class 15 (A-style) plastic-sided prewound bobbins are now available for testing. These bobbins fit Janome, Babylock (Esante, Ellegante), Brother, Kenmore, Necci, and Singer machines. These are in test mode and are available FREE with your order. They are wound with 142 yds. of lint-free polyester thread. Please test them and send us feedback. Here is the link:

3. NEW! MasterPiece on M-style cardboard-sided prewound bobbins. M-style compatible machines are A-1, Gammill, HandiQuilter, Homesteader, and some Noltings. MasterPiece is our #50/2-ply extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton thread. We have only 120 of these available for testing so we are requesting you order only one to test. They are FREE with your order. Here is the link:

4. NEW! So Fine on M-style prewound bobbins. M-style compatible machines are A-1, Gammill, HandiQuilter, Homesteader, and some Noltings. So Fine is a #50/3-ply lint-free polyester thread. We have only about 60 available for testing so we are requesting you order only one to test. They are FREE with your order. Here is the link:

5. Three new LAVA images are now on website.

UPS delivery schedule. UPS will deliver as scheduled through Monday, December 24. However, the money-back guarantee for late deliveries does not apply during much of December, so what this means is shipments will probably arrive as scheduled. UPS does a great job.


Every Sunday, Daddy took his five-year-old daughter on an outing. On the way home one afternoon, they stopped at Grandma?s house.
"Where did you go today?" she asked her granddaughter.
"To a horse zoo, Grandma."
"A horse zoo?"
"Yes. It was really fun. The horses all wore numbers and ran around in a big circle."
"So," grandma glaringly asked her son, "Did Daddy's horse win, place, or show?"

Copyright 2007 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: <Reprinted with permission from Bob Purcell, Superior Threads.>