May-June 2008

May-June 2008

Choose your needle based on the diameter of the thread. When in doubt, choose the next size larger.

EDUCATION: Thread Shredding and Breaking

Because we guarantee every spool of thread we sell, we occasionally receive an e-mail or a telephone call from a customer who has experienced a problem. We consider each e-mail and telephone call an opportunity to educate our customers and correct the problem. Very rarely are we unable to solve the problem. While we realize that once in a while a machine just does not like a particular thread, those cases are rare. A machine in good working condition should be able to run any good quality thread. Some machines require more training than others. The more contact points (places the thread touches) between the spool/cone and the needle, the greater the amount of tension will be placed on the thread. Home machines might have six or seven contact points whereas some longarm machines have over 20.

It is very frustrating when someone says, "My machine does not like that thread" and when I offer to help them take some steps to correct it, they respond saying, "I don't want to adjust my machine." That makes about as much sense as refusing to change channels on your television set because you might not remember how to go back to the original channel. Machines are meant to be adjusted. That is why all machines have some type of tension adjustment systems. By far, the majority of problems can be solved by looking at three areas: -- Increase the needle size -- Loosen the tension settings -- Slow down

1. Needle Size. Using a too small needle is like lacing up a shoe and trying to push the shoelace through a too small eyelet. The easiest way to select the best needle size is to cut about 18 inches of thread and thread it through the needle. Holding the thread at each end, tip the thread angle up, then down, and see if the needle moves down the thread. If it gets stuck, the needle might be to small. If you worry that a larger needle will leave a large hole, remember that those needle holes will close around the thread with a good shake or with washing.

2. Tension settings. Machines are factory preset for construction sewing. In most cases, that means using a 50 or 60 wt. strong polyester thread. When we quilt or embroider with a medium or heavier thread or a sensitive thread, it is essential to loosen the upper tension settings, even if your machine has automatic tension adjusting. Think of it as changing channels on the TV. The tension adjustment will allow you to get the metallic thread channel, the trilobal polyester thread channel, the delicate cotton channel, and so on. It's like going from plain vanilla to Baskin-Robbins!

3. Speed. We live in a fast society. Machines are made to go faster and faster and our time is valuable. Proper speed is a critical component of successful quilting. Going too fast will apply undue stress on the thread. Start out at a slow speed and gradually increase until you find the best speed for the thread and design you are creating.


June 28. Minnesota Quilt Guild, Rochester, MN

July 5. Quilt Hawaii. Kona, Hawaii. Alooooha!

Aug. 15 and 17. Birmingham, England

$30  IDEA WINNERS Almost everything we do at Superior Threads is a result of ideas, suggestions, and recommendations from our employees and from our customers. You are the ones that really manage our company. 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 winners:

1. Debbie VanOrnum (Iowa, USA). As I piece a quilt I am so very conscious of trimming and pulling the extra threads but it never seems to fail after I have loaded the quilt on my machine, I am picking stray loose threads and stopping or plucking a thread as I am quilting. I run a lint roller over the loaded quilt and it picks up those loose threads, or if you have a cat that loves to help you sew by cuddling up on your work, it will remove the pet hair as well.

2. Jennifer Shaw (Illinois, USA). Would it be possible to have a "what's new" section on the website? In the last newsletter there were references to new thread colors, but it would be easier to just go to a "What's New" section or a direct link from the newsletter rather than scrolling through all the thread colors to find those fun new colors. Bob's Note: It is now posted on the main page. Anything new will be added to this section.

3. Pamela Lehto (Washington, USA) Please include the recommended needle type and size on the color cards. Bob's Note: All new and reprinted color cards now include this information.

4. Linda Card (California, USA). Photos, especially on different monitors, do not always show the colors very well. I sometimes have to go to the thread stitch out to find out, for example, that color x has copper in it. Can you put the colors that are written on the stitch-outs onto the pages with the thread images so that as we scroll down the page looking at the images, we can read what the actual colors? That's my idea. Please, Bob, can you make that happen? Bob's note: How could I turn down such a plea? It's happening today, starting with King Tut.

5. Linda Tucker (Victoria, Australia). As a frequent user of your website, I have become very familiar with the number of thread colours on each page. Rather than having to scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the next page, would it be possible to have a page link at the top of the first page? Not that I mind looking at all the great colours, but my mouse scroll is well used! Bob's Note: Done. Now the links appear at both the top and bottom of each page.


1. In the previous newsletter, we announced five new colors of Rainbows. We now have four more: # 852: The Quilt Show, named after Ricky and Alex's Quilt Show. Five bright colors including hot pink, yellow, blue, red, bright green. # 859 Strawberry. Variegated medium and dark pinks # 860 Lone Peak. Variegated medium beige tones. Great for landscape tones. # 861 Savanna. Variegated medium green olive tones. Great for trees and plants. Here is the link:

2. On our website, we have posted an Inventory List. This allows you to print out a list of our products and mark which items you have or want. The list has been revised and now includes color names as well as the color numbers. The list is nine pages and you can select which pages to print. The list can be accessed via the drop down menu under Products or Other. Here is the link:

3. Silk Ribbon is our newest Superior product. Not just the plain stuff, but 30 different beautiful shades of variegated colors of the highest quality Japanese silk, all personally designed by Mother Superior. Available in three widths: 2mm, 4mm, and 7mm. Here is the link:


1. Summer Superior Metallic Sale. Superior Metallic is the only metallic thread that is guaranteed to work. 5,000 meter cones (approx. 5,500 yds.) are on sale this month. Solid colors: $20. Variegated colors: $25. (Reg. prices are up to $32.50.) Here's the link:

2. 10,000 yd. Jumbo cones of Superior Metallic are on sale for $29 (reg. $48). Available in Gold #7. Here's the link:

3. 40 to 50% off five colors of MasterPiece prewound bobbins. All are L-style with cardboard-sides. (M style MasterPiece bobbins are coming soon.) 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, applique, lacework, and heirloom embroidery. Your machine will notice the difference. Note: 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 them by 40 to 50%. Dozen packs: $5 (reg. $9.99). Half-gross pack: $29 (reg. $48.00) Gross (12 dozen): $54 (reg. $84.00)

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. 39 variegated colors are in stock, all with a 1-inch color change interval. 2,000 yd. cones are on sale for $18 (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. 50% off Perfect Quilter. Regular price for 300 yd. mini cones is $8.99. Now only $4.50. 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 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. Here's the link for Perfect Quilter:

6. Check out other specials and "try me" specials here:


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:

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Are you frustrated with your website or webmaster? Or thinking about creating a website or need to upgrade, change, or maintain your current website? 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 via e-mail at [email protected] We use them, like them, and therefore recommend them. Youll love their superior service.


Jack knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative fellow and is curious about his sudden change in his fashion sense. Jack finally walks up to him and says, "I didn't know you were into earrings." "Don't make such a big deal, it's only an earring," he replies sheepishly. Jack falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to ask, "So, how long have you been wearing it?""Ever since my wife found it in my truck."

THANK YOU for reading. Please forward to a friend and have a SUPERIOR day.

Bob Purcell, the Thread Professor and self-certified Threadologist Superior Threads: The ONLY thread with a guarantee. Superior no ka oi.

Copyright 2008 by Superior Threads.

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