May-June 2009

May-June 2009

If you use a midarm or longarm machine, remember that these machines are designed to use cones and not spools. If you use a spool, make sure you have a specialized  spool adapter that positions the spool to rotate which allows the thread to unwind straight from the side and not over the end.  If you use a spool with the thread unwinding over the top, a twist is added with every revolution and commonly results in poor stitch quality and thread breakage.  Cones are made to sit on a flat surface and unwind over the top.  Spools are not.

A few years ago, Heather (Mother Superior) came home one day with a new $6,000 sewing machine. Remember the good old days when the top of the line machines were only $6,000? It must have been a slow day because I read the owner’s manual. On page 51 in the Tension section, it said, "This machine is factory preset to sew with a 60 wt. polyester thread." That is the day I realized that regardless of the type and model of machine, it is a sewing machine first, not a quilting machine or embroidery machine.

Sewing machines are made around the world for the world. The world sews.  Some of us quilt and embroider. Sewing machines are factory preset to sew using a fine, strong polyester sewing thread . Quilting and embroidery functions are secondary. Factory tension settings are usually not appropriate for quilting, embroidery, and decorative stitching. Preset tensions are too tight in most cases. Whether your machine has manual or automatic tension setting, we recommend loosening it when quilting and embroidering. Below is a list of the recommended average tension setting range for all our threads for all brands of home machines. You will have much better results when you adjust the tension setting to following ranges:

Art Studio Colors . . 2.0 to 3.0
Bottom Line . . . . . . 4.0 to 5.0
Brytes . . . . . . . . . .  1.5 to 2.0
Glitter . . . . . . . . . . . 1.0
Halo . . . . . . . . . .  . .not a needle thread
Highlights . . . . . . . . .2.0 to 3.0
King Tut . . . . . . . . . 3.0 to 4.0
Lava . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.0 to 3.0
Living Colors . . . . . .2.0 to 3.0
MasterPiece . . . . . . 2.0 to 4.0
Metallic . . . . . . . . . .1.0
MonoPoly . . . . . . . .1.5 to 3.0
Nature Colors . . . . . 2.0 to 3.0
NiteLite . . . . . . . . . .3.0 to 3.5
Perfect Quilter . . . . .1.5 to 2.0
Poly Quilter . . . . . . .1.5 to 2.0
Rainbows . . . . . . . . 2.0 to 3.0
Razzle Dazzle . . . . .  not a needle thread
So Fine . . . . . . . . . . 4.0 to 5.0
Treasure . . . . . . . . . for hand quilting only

WHAT'S NEW (This Month)

1. Treasure is our new hand quilting thread. It is a #30/3-ply coated (glazed) extra-long staple cotton thread. Available in 25 colors, most of which are very subtle tone-on-tone variegated colors.

2. King Tut 21 NEW colors. We now have a total of 100 King Tut colors. The newest 21 colors include many subtle tone-on-tone variegated shades, including beautiful pastels. All are in stock in both the 500 spool and the 2,000 yd. cone sizes.

3. Texture Magic by the yard. Texture Magic is taking the creative world by storm. It is now available by the yard as well as the precut 47" x 18" length.

4. Color Card for the NEWEST King Tut colors.  The brand new 21 colors plus the not-quite-as new 4 colors.  <made with the actual thread.

WHAT'S NEW (Last Month)
Needles Group Shot
1. SUPERIOR Needles. Three years ago, the largest needle company in the world approached us and asked us to be their major distributor for home sewing machine needles. We said No, we just don’t have time for that. A year later, they asked us to please reconsider. We agreed with the condition that they would manufacture a new needle with the following specifications:
a. Topstitch style. This has the large elongated eye, sharp point, and deeper and wider groove.
b. Titanium coated. Titanium-coated needles have been available for years in the industrial market, but not very accessible for the home market and definitely not in the Topstitch style. Titanium-coated needles last 5 to 8 times longer than regular needles. See Education section above for details.
Our first shipment just arrived. The following sizes are now available:
Topstitch #80/12 (for piecing, applique, and sewing with fine threads)
Topstitch #90/14 (for quilting, embroidery, and sewing with most medium-weight and sensitive threads)
Topstitch #100/16 (for heaver threads)

2. Need a laugh? Here is an original and humorous quilt song written by Bob and Heather and sung by their son, Todd. Keep it secret though because Todd is worried that his friends will think he is mega un-cool if they find out he sings songs about quilting. He usually plays and sings the noisy stuff.

Thread Therapy with Doctor Bob
June 8 & 9. Bellingham, WA
Sep. 10-12. Madison, WI
Sep. 17. Tacoma, WA. Innovations
Sep. 24-26: Portland, OR

$30 Business Consultant IDEA WINNERS
Please be our business consultant. 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 winning Consultants:
1. Shannon Atwill. I spent some time on the Store Locator this afternoon and found it annoying to have to re-enter the parameters for my search when I hit the back button after visiting a store’s website. Could you have the store’s website open in a new browser window when someone clicks on the website link within the store’s listing?Bob’s note: Done. Our web team programmed our website to open a separate window.

2. Sharon Hughson (New Jersey).  I love sales.  I would love your Specials pages better if you included the regular price along with the special sale price. I want to see what kind of bargain I’m getting.
Bob's note: Done.  Most "try me specials" are 40-50% off.

3. Cathy Kirk (North Carolina).  Because the plastic thread cones cannot be reused, I have discovered a new way to recycle them. The empty cones work great to wind trims, ribbons, rickrack, bias tape, etc. that usually end up in a tangled mess in a drawer. Neat and tidy!

4. Lyn Crump (Australia).  In your check out/wish list, would it be possible to show the number of items ordered or on the wish list? I wanted to order 20 cones but had to keep checking back and counting manually the number of items in my cart.
Bob's note: Done.

5. Amy Roth (Illinois).  On the products pages, have a link at the top for your Wish List in addition to the Shopping Cart.
Bob's note: Done

6. Ann Cummings (Massachusetts).  To keep my color cards organized, I punched a whole in the top corner and put them on a loose leaf ring. I have checked off with a pencil all the colors I have. I take the cards to each show and check against the cards each color I am interested in at the show. This has kept me more than once from buying duplicate thread colors.

7.  Susan Arthurs (Canada). So that I remember what needle is in my longarm, I write the needle size number down on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the front of the machine where I can't miss it.  That way I always know what size needle is in the machine.  Thanks for the Long Arm needle/thread reference guide - it is great!

1. Brytes thread 2,200 yds.  Save 50%.  Brytes is a #30/3-ply polyester thread intended to be bright and visible. 2,200 yd. cones are on sale at $9.90 through the end of June (reg. $19.80).


2. Heavy duty thread stand/cone holder. $14 through the end of June. The price will increase to $15.99 in July.

3. Try Me Specials. You choose the product, we choose the colors, and you save 40-50%. Available for most products.

4. Art Studio Colors 2,000 yd. cones. This is a beautiful high sheen premium trilobal polyester thread for both quilting and embroidery. 36 colors. Half price. Only $6.95 (regularly $13.90).

5. Perfect Quilter. When they’re gone, they’re gone. 50% off Perfect Quilter. Regular price for 300 yd. mini cones is $8.99 (34 colors still available). Now only $4.50. 2,500 yd. cones (only 17 colors left) are $15 (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. Perfect Quilter is recommended for home machines and not for most longarms.

6. Superior Sampler Sets individually designed for home quilting, longarm quilting, embroidery, and bobbin work. Save almost 50%.

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 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.)

I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist in town. I noticed his DDS diploma hanging on the wall, which bore his full name. Suddenly I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on way back then? Upon seeing him, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I couldn’t resist so I asked him if he had attended Morgan High School.
"Yes, yes, I did," he gleamed with pride.
"When did you graduate?" I asked.
He answered, "In 1975. Why do you ask?'"
"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.
He looked at me closely. Then, that ugly, old, bald, wrinkled, fat, gray-haired, rude, decrepit idiot asked, "What did you teach?"

THANK YOU for reading. Please forward to a friend and have a SUPERIOR day.
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Bob Purcell, the Thread Professor and self-certified Threadologist.
Superior Threads: The ONLY thread with a guarantee.
Superior no ka oi
Copyright 2009 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.