July 2008

July 2008

Invisible monofilament thread is wonderful for when you don't want your stitches to show. We realize some just prefer not to use it. It is a somewhat delicate thread and a few tight-tensioned machines need some adjusting (looser tension) to use it successfully. Is there an alternative? Yes. Try any of the neutral, blending colors of The Bottom Line. Color #623 (Silver) is my favorite when sewing on lighter shade fabrics because it seems to blend with every color it touches and becomes almost invisible. It's like a magic thread. Color #620, #624, #651, and #655 perform the same way. For medium and darker shade fabrics, color #617 (Taupe) is the best choice. The Bottom Line thread is not only for use in the bobbin. Try it for invisible machine applique or for hand applique. Many like it better than silk thread.

EDUCATION: Embroidery thread, Quilting thread, General sewing thread, Piecing thread. Although threads are made with specific purposes in mind, there are some crossover uses of many threads. Below are the characteristics of each category of thread.

1. Embroidery thread. The most common embroidery threads are rayon, filament polyester, trilobal filament polyester, and metallics.

Rayon is the most widely used embroidery thread. It is inexpensive and has a nice sheen. However, rayon is a weaker fiber and most rayon is not colorfast. That is important to know and one must be careful when washing rayon embroidered designs. Filament polyester threads are stronger than rayon but do not have the high sheen. They are colorfast and the most durable of all threads. They give a matte finish.

Trilobal filament polyester threads have a beautiful high sheen equivalent to rayon or silk. They are stronger than rayon threads but weaker than regular filament polyester. They are colorfast. Trilobal poly is the best choice for those concerned with top quality and durability. The only downside is the cost. They are more expensive than rayon threads. If the price of trilobal polyester ever becomes equal to rayon, I think rayon would cease to exist. Our trilobal polyester threads are Rainbows, Highlights, Art Studio Colors, Nature Colors, and Living Colors. Bobbin thread for embroidery: A fine bobbin thread, such as 60 wt. Bottom Line, makes the best bobbin thread. If you use a spun poly thread or cotton thread in the bobbin when embroidering, the thread may stack on itself underneath the design, leaving it very stiff. The lighter weight thread in the bobbin makes a much softer and more pliable design.

Embroidery threads often do not have as tight a twist as other threads. A tighter twisted thread adds strength to the thread but increases production costs. Inexpensive threads usually have a looser twist than quality threads.

Quilting thread. The most commonly used quilting threads are cotton and polyester. Quilting usually puts more stress on thread than does embroidery so a stronger thread is preferred. Cotton: Thread labeled only as cotton or 100% cotton or mercerized cotton is most likely short-staple (short fiber) cotton and is the lowest grade and least expensive cotton. Long staple cotton is medium grade. Extra-long staple is the highest grade. Nearly all cotton thread is mercerized so don't worry if the label does not specifically say mercerized. Most likely it is. Glazed or coated cottons should not be used in machines. They are for hand quilting. Look for a nice smooth thread without bumps or slubs. A tight, even twist is important.

Polyester: Absolutely safe to use as a quilting thread regardless of all the myths and rumors. Spun poly gives the look of cotton and often is a lower quality thread. Filament poly and trilobal filament poly are both fine to use when quilting.

General purpose sewing thread: Commonly used for clothing construction. This thread is usually the strongest type available and the preferred thread is filament polyester. An example is our So Fine thread. Continuous filament polyester is stronger than an equal size spun poly or trilobal poly.

Piecing thread: When piecing a quilt, we recommend a fine, smooth, high grade cotton thread such as MasterPiece. Pieced seams are usually ironed with the iron set to the cotton (high heat) setting. Although a good polyester thread is heat resistant and usually safe up to medium heat settings, it can melt at high heat. A high quality #50/2-ply cotton thread makes a very nice soft seam with no bulk and no worries of melting.

Thread Index. To see a list of threads by use, by size, or by category, please go to our Thread Index. Here is the link:

INTRODUCING New Superior Educators
Superior Threads offers educational seminars and workshops to guilds, quilting events, and stores. In addition to Cindy Needham and Kathy Ward in the U.S., we now have a certified Superior Educator in Canada and Australia.
Canada: Anita Zobens
Australia: Julie Woods
Go to our Education page or click here to meet them and to view their profiles:

BOB'S SEMINAR SCHEDULE: Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob
Aug. 15 and 17. Birmingham, England
Sep. 11-12. Wisconsin Quilt Expo. Madison, WI
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 Superior Threads gift certificate for the best monthly ideas. In the e-mail subject line, please type "$30 idea." This month's winners:

1. Sylvia Wong (California, USA). I love that you have added an inventory list to your website. My idea is that you add a date to the list each time it is updated. That way with a glance those of us who love your thread know which list is the most current inventory.

Bob's Note: The date has been added. The most recent update is March 2008. The Inventory List can be accessed at . It lists all Superior products, the color number, name, and spool sizes. It is a convenient way to keep track of the colors you have.

2. Patricia Charity. Put the names along with the color numbers on the inventory list. It would make it much easier to zero in on a color to have the name available also. It would make it easier to replace or add to my collection of colors and for those people who do not own all the color cards.

Bob's Note: Done

3. Kim Peterson. Is there a way to see past orders from the website? It would be really handy to be able to look and see what I have ordered the most of and to have a running inventory in my login.

Bob's Note. After logging in, go to Products and scroll down the list of products on the left-hand side of the page. The last item listed is Account Maintenance and Order History. Click on that link and your order history will appear.

4. Lorraine (I don't know your last name but we e-mailed you). Why stack your product individually in a page, why not put them 3 or 4 across a page?

Bob's Note: We reformatted our web pages to show two columns so the products load faster and you don't have to scroll down as much.

5. Lauretta Crites (California). List fiber content, thread wt., etc. on all "Try Me" specials.

Bob's Note: Done. We have "try me specials" for most of our products. We choose the colors and you save about 40%. Go to our Specials page or click here to see them:

I'm sorry news. Shipping Rates Increase from July 14. We have waited as long as possible but our shipping costs continue to rise. This is not easy to do but we must raise our shipping rates a little.

Retail orders within the U.S. 50 states: shipping will be a flat rate of $6.95 regardless of the size of your order. Even if you order a million dollars worth of thread, shipping is only $6.95. International rates are higher.

Business and wholesale accounts: Rates within the U.S. 48 states will start at $8.95 for the first $100.00 order value and increase at the very reasonable rate of $1.00 per each additional $100 order value increment. For example, if your order is between $100 to $199, shipping will be $9.95, and so on. Alaska, Hawaii, international, and extra heavy shipping rates are higher.


1. SunBurst. Way back in the year 2000, we had a sunlight-activated color changing thread. It's back and now available in eight colors. Sunburst is primarily an embroidery thread. The white thread changes to one of eight colors when exposed to sunlight. It's for T-shirts, clothing, bags, bridal gowns (white on white indoors and it blooms into beautiful colors outdoors), and anything else you can imagine. The sun's UV rays activate the color change so it even works on cloudy days. Indoors the thread is white. When exposed to direct sunlight, the thread immediately changes to one of the following colors:
SunBurst is a 40 wt. polyester thread and available on 3,300 yd. cones. See Specials below for introductory pricing. Here is the link:

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

SPECIALS. Summer Embroidery Thread Specials. (Please note that our current shipping rates will remain through July 13. New rates start on July 14.)

1. SunBurst sunlight-activated color changing thread (see above What's New section for detailed description). 3,300 yd. cones. $19.95 (reg. 29.95).

2. Highlights and Art Studio Colors. Our premium 40 wt. high-sheen trilobal polyester thread is the finest embroidery thread available. Trilobal polyester has a sheen equal to rayon but without the negatives of rayon (rayon is often not colorfast). Polyester is colorfast and stronger than rayon.
Highlights. 38 brilliant colors of 40 wt. trilobal polyester. 2,000 yd. cones are only $9.00 this month (reg. $13.95).

Art Studio Colors. 36 NEW colors. 2,000 yd. cones are only $9.00 this month (reg. $13.95).

3. 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. Here's the link:

4. 10,000 yd. Jumbo cones of Superior Metallic are on sale for $29 (reg. $48). Available only in Gold #7. Here's the link:

5. 40-50% 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%. Color number 152 is not included in this sale.
Dozen packs: $5 (reg. $9.99).
Half-gross pack: $29 (reg. $48.00)
Gross (12 dozen): $54 (reg. $84.00)

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

BOB'S RECOMMENDATION. Website Design and Hosting (This is an unpaid and unsolicited recommendation.) 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. You'll love their superior service.

A Texas cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. "Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asked. "Well, I can think of one thing," the cowboy offered. "Once, on a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So, I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him in his face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, "Back off!!" St. Peter was impressed, "When did this happen?" "Just a couple minutes ago."

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. 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: used with permission from Bob Purcell.

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