August 2008. It's Heather's (Mother
Superior) birthday this month and we are celebrating!
WISE WORDS FROM MOTHER SUPERIOR
Question from a customer: What is the
best thread for sewing clothes? Has everyone forgotten about us? Is
there a thread for us please?
Answer: Yes. I promise you will fall
in love with So Fine. Although the label says it is a quilting
thread, it is a wonderful, all purpose construction thread. Use it
both top and bottom to make smooth and accurate seams. So Fine is a
strong, soft polyester, has no lint, and is available in 100 colors
which makes it easy to match fabrics. So Fine is also a wonderful
serger thread, making soft and pliable seams.
Superior Threads is one of the sponsors
of a great contest by Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quiltmaker magazine.
Kaufman has a line of batik fabrics called Artisan Batiks. Use any
past pattern that has appeared in Quiltmaker magazine and create it
using these batiks. Pay close attention to the size requirements.
(Once Mother Superior made an absolutely sure-to-win quilt for the
Hoffman challenge and when preparing the paperwork to accompany the
quilt, she discovered that it was over the size limit.) By the way,
Rainbows and King Tut look absolutely stunning on Batiks. The
one-inch color change of these threads can either blend or contrast
with batik patterns depending on which colors or color combinations
are used. Solid colors such as Highlights, also look great when the
actual quilting motif is an important part of the quilt because solid
colors tend to emphasize the quilting line and not necessarily the
thread. You have until October to create an award winner. Below is
a link to the contest rules:
EDUCATION: It's a Tug of War Out There
Before reading the explanation below,
please look at the diagram on our website that explains how tension
works and how it affects the stitch.
Think of the top and bottom thread as
having a tug of war. If the threads are identical, both sides have
equal strength and the result will be a draw. The sewing should
therefore produce perfectly even stitches with no top thread showing
underneath and no bobbin thread showing on top. However, in the real
world, the teams are rarely equal. One team will be stronger or
bigger or faster than the other. We sometimes use decorative or
sensitive threads on top. We often use different fibers for the top
and bottom threads. We also add stabilizer or batting. Sometimes we
might use a cotton bobbin thread and other times we use a polyester
bobbin thread. All these factors make it necessary to adjust the
tension for each project. By adjusting the top tension either up or
down, we are able to add or take away strength on the top thread team
to equalize the tug of war battle. Following is a list of things that
affect stitch results:
1. Batting. This adds drag on the
thread. Cotton batting tends to grab the thread more than polyester
batting, adding more friction on the thread.
2. Fabric type. Dense weave fabric puts
more stress on the thread. If you are quilting on a longarm machine,
keep the fabric relaxed between the rollers.
3. Top thread thickness and type. A
heavier thread requires a larger needle. Metallic is less flexible
than cotton or poly. Poly is usually stronger than either cotton or
4. Bobbin thread type. Cotton bobbin
thread tends to grab more than a smooth filament polyester such as
The Bottom Line, So Fine, and Highlights. Sometimes grabbing is
preferred and sometimes it causes problems. A smooth filament poly
thread (not spun poly) in the bobbin will work better with sensitive
threads such as metallic and trilobal polyesters because it will not
grab the top thread and pull it down too far into the batting. The
top thread stays on top and the quilted stitches are more visible.
5. Needle. Make sure you have a large
enough needle for the thread you are using. If in doubt, increase
the needle size.
6. Speed. Go slow until all the above
are worked out. You should then be able to increase the speed.
Sewing machines are factory preset to
have the top and bottom thread form even stitches when sewing with a
50 or 60 wt. thread. If the top and bottom threads are identical in
fiber and weight and the tension settings are perfect, adjustments
may not be necessary. However, if we use cotton on top and poly
underneath, or metallic on top and poly underneath, or a heavy thread
on top and a thin thread underneath, it is necessary to adjust the
tension settings. It is fine to use different thread types and
weights on the top and bottom. Relying on a machine's automatic
tension system is not enough. Most adjusting is done with the top
tension. Although most home machines rarely require adjusting the
bobbin tension, many longarm machines require adjusting (usually
loosening) the bobbin tension as well as the top.
BOB'S SEMINAR SCHEDULE: Thread Therapy
with Dr. Bob
Aug. 15 & 17. Birmingham, England.
(I hope my quilting friends from Wales come see me.)
In between seminars, I will be in
stands that have our products. These include
Martha Milne (stand B 2)
The Crafty Quilter (stand I 42)
Sep. 11-12. Wisconsin Quilt Expo.
Sep. 25-27. NW Quilting Expo. Portland,
Oct. 8-11. Innovations. Tacoma, WA
$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 award a
$30 Superior Threads gift certificates for the best monthly ideas.
Send an e-mail to [email protected]
with "$30 idea" in the subject line. This month's winners:
1. Sonja Greyling (South Africa) When
viewing the shopping cart, the names of the ordered items appear as
well as a link to view these items. I would like to suggest that you
put a small picture of the item there as well so we can immediately
see what we ordered with one glance and it is not necessary to page
back to these items. It makes the buying process so much faster.
Bob's Note: A great idea. We did it.
2. Georgene Hugget (Virginia). Add
Poly Quilter to the online Inventory List.
Bob's Note: We missed that one. Thank
you for telling us. It is now added to the Inventory List
3. Lauretta Crites (California). List
fiber content and thread wt. on all the "try me" specials.
Bob's Note: We did it. Try Me specials
are available for most products. We choose the colors and you save
about 40%. http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/49
4. and 5. Two winners for the same
idea. Barbara Daniel (California) and Lorraine Williams
To hold my prewound bobbins, I use the
Bobbinsavers, those blue rubber-like circles that hold a lot of
bobbins. I carry them with me to do my applique projects. This
keeps me from having to carry so many spools of thread. One
Bobbinsaver holds my Bottom Line SuperBOBs prewound bobbins, another
holds my MasterPiece prewound bobbins. The Bobbinsaver keeps the
bobbins from unraveling. My projects are completely portable,
lightweight and very well organized. Please make these available to
Bob's Note. Bobbinsavers are now
available. Here is the link:
1. Bobbinsavers. These hold 20-25
bobbins, all sizes. Keeps the thread from unraveling. $6.25.
2. SunBurst. Sunlight-activated color
changing thread. SunBurst is primarily an embroidery thread. The
white thread changes to one of eight colors when exposed to sunlight.
Use it on 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:
3. Rainbows #845-NEW. This is a pink
and brown variegated thread, matching the popular fabrics with these
colors. Available on 500 yd. spools and 2,000 yd.
Happy Birthday Mother Superior.
Because she is So Fine, we are having a So Fine sale.
1. So Fine 3,280 yd. cones are only
$12 through the end of August (regular price is $15.90). 100 colors
to choose from. So Fine is a wonderful, versatile thread.
Recommended as a quilting thread (both longarm and home machines),
bobbin thread, serger thread, and all purpose clothing construction
thread. It is a strong, smooth, lint-free #50/3-ply polyester.
2. SunBurst sunlight-activated color
changing thread (see above What's New section for detailed
description). 3,300 yd. cones. $19.95 (reg. $29.95)
3. Highlights and Art Studio Colors.
Our premium 40 wt. high-sheen trilobal polyester thread is the finest
embroidery thread available. It also makes a beautiful quilting
thread. Trilobal polyester has a sheen equal to silk 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. $13.90). http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/16
Art Studio Colors. 36 NEW colors of 40
wt. trilobal polyester. 2,000 yd. cones are only $9.00 this month
(reg. $13.90). http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/103
4. Superior Metallic is the only
metallic thread that is guaranteed to work and it on sale for almost
40% off this month. 5,000 meter cones (approx. 5,500 yds.) are on
sale this month. Solid colors are only $20 and variegated colors are
only $25. Here's the link: http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/24
5. 10,000 yd. Jumbo cones of Superior
Metallic are on sale for $29 (reg. $48.00). Available only in Gold
#7. Here's the link: http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/25
6. Perfect Quilter. 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: http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/33
7. Check out other specials and "try
me" specials here: http://www.superiorthreads.com/category/49
BOB'S RECOMMENDATIONS (unpaid and
1. The Quilt Pattern Shoppe has over
100 patterns from nearly a dozen designers that you can purchase and
instantly print from your home computer. You can start on your
project without waiting for the pattern to be shipped to you and
avoid shipping costs. Here is the website:
If you are a patter designer and would like to have your patterns
featured on this website, please contact them.
2. Website Design 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? Check out http://www.WebsitesForQuilters.com
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.
BOB's SUPERIOR JOKE of the MONTH
Three elderly sisters, ages 92, 94 and
96, live in a house together. One night, the 96-year-old draws a
bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells to the other
sisters, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?"
The 94-year-old yells back, "I
don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs
and pauses. "Was I going up the stairs or down?"
The 92-year-old is sitting at the
kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters. She shakes her
head, knocks on the table, and says, "I sure hope I never get
that forgetful. Knock on wood!" She then yells, "I'll
come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door."
THANK YOU for reading. Please forward
to a friend and have a SUPERIOR day.
Bob Purcell, the Thread Professor and
Superior Threads: The ONLY thread with
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 and Superior
If this was forwarded to you and you
want to subscribe, please click here: http://www.superiorthreads.com/
and go to Newsletter.