July 2009

Texture Magic

Rarely does a totally new idea or product come along that is so exciting that it can keep me awake at night thinking about it.  This one does.  We introduced Texture Magic at our School of Threadology session in February and it keeps amazing me with what we can do with it.  Texture Magic is a shrinking fabric. Stitch it to the back of a fabric, steam it, and it amazingly shrinks 30% in all directions, magically texturizing the fabric. It is wonderful for quilts (add batting between the layers to create a trapunto-like effect), clothing (instant smocking), bags, crafts, home decor, baby blankets, and hundreds of other ideas.  Every time someone discovers it, they come up with new ideas.  Watch for a “Texture Magic Show” contest coming soon.  To see our blog showing step by step instructions using Texture Magic to make a fancy tote bag, click here 
Patterns are also available.


We are recruiting help in each state, province, and country to introduce and demo our popular new product, Texture Magic, at local shops all over the world.  If this sounds like a fun part time job, please contact us for details.

EDUCATION: The Making of a Thread

Many years ago, when piecing a quilt, we used the standard budget thread that is available at most shops.  It broke from time to time and we thought that was normal. We tried other brands and had similar breakage problems and lots of lint buildup.   We had just finished designing King Tut thread and were discussing piecing thread frustrations.  That is when we decided to begin working on a top quality piecing thread line.  With so many piecing threads on the market, we wondered if we could even compete.  We would not make a cheap and fuzzy thread.  We believed if other piecers were as frustrated as we were, they would also prefer a very high quality piecing thread.  And once they used a quality thread, they would become loyal customers.  We knew it would be a long and expensive uphill battle. 

We designed MasterPiece for piecing with five things in mind:
1.  Weight.  A #50/2-ply thread is finer than regular quilting thread.  As it forms the seam, the thread is not nearly as bulky.  The result is a flatter seam and we have the complete 1/4" seam without the bump that results from using a heavier or non-smooth thread. This explains why so many books talk about a scant 1/4" seam to compensate for lumpy, fuzzy thread which takes up some of the seam.

2.  Quality.   The cotton fiber used in MasterPiece is the same cotton used for King Tut, extra-long staple cotton.  Short and long staple cottons are lower grade cottons which means a weaker thread and probably quite a bit of lint.  Our cotton really is grown in Egypt (unlike most other threads labeled as Egyptian cotton which come form Romania, India, China).  Egypt has the best climate for consistent quality cotton.  We ship this Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton to Japan for precision processing.

3. Production.  Japan has a long history of textile excellence.  Japan cares about quality.  Although processing costs there are the highest in the world, we believe it is worth it because we can produce a fine, smooth, consistent thread.

4.  Colors. Many believe that gray and beige are the magic neutral colors for piecing any color fabric. Those colors are neutral if we are sewing flavors of beige and gray fabrics.  Just as a tailor or seamstress matches the thread color to the fabrics, so should a quilter when piecing fabric.  For best results, the piecing thread should be color-matched to the fabric being pieced.  Sometimes it is necessary to use more than one color when piecing a quilt.  This explains why we started with 50 colors of MasterPiece and more have been added since.

5.  Size Spools.  Running out of the perfect thread is not a pleasant experience so we decided to avoid the mini spool sizes.  At least offer enough to get through the project.  Spools, labels, and winding starts and stops are expensive so make the spool large enough to make it worth it.  We decided on 600 yd. spools and 3,000 yd. cones.  Yard-for-yard, a quality thread on larger spools and cones often costs less than a cheaper quality thread on a small spool.

Click here to see what shows and events are on our schedule.

BOB'S TEACHING SCHEDULE. Thread Therapy with Doctor Bob

Sep. 10-12.  Madison, WI Quilt Expo 
Sep. 17.  Tacoma, WA  Innovations Machine Quilting Show
Sep. 24-26. Portland, OR Northwest Quilting Expo
Sep. 28-30. St. George, UT.  School of Threadology.  Certified Superior Threadologist session.
Oct. 22.  Aurora, OH.  Quilting with Machines
November 10-12. St. George, UT.  School of Threadology with special guest John Flynn
Dec. 3. Dallas, TX . Quilters Guild of Dallas

Our building addition will be completed in August.  We have doubled our office and warehouse space and added 7,000 square feet of classroom space which will house the Superior School of Threadology. Two sessions have been scheduled. 
Sep. 28-30, 2009.  Certified Superior Threadologist session. 

Nov. 10-12, 2009. Two days with Superior Educators and one day with John Flynn.

Our Purpose  To educate the world in all areas related to sewing, embroidery, and quilting.  Our goal is to be the most comprehensive sewing education center in the world.  Classes will be taught year round by the top professionals in the industry. 
What We Offer  While the main focus is on quilting, we plan to offer sessions for all sewing-related fields. Each three-day session will include hands-on classes, seminars and lectures, and a tour of our office and warehouse.
Home Machines
   →  Hands-on classes by national teachers.  Sessions will also include classes on thread education taught by Superior Educators.  Bernina USA has generously offered to supply our classroom with machines.
   →  Certified Superior Threadologist class.  This session includes extensive thread information, a hands-on class called the Open Thread Bar (our most popular class), and more.  Graduates of this seminar will become a Certified Superior Threadologist.
   →  Retreats.  Our School becomes your studio.  Plan your own schedule.
Midarm and Longarm Machines (beginning in 2010)
   →  Longarm classes taught by the top teachers in the industry.
   →  Brand-specific longarm classes taught by professional educators.
   →  Longarm Machine Hop.  Imagine three full days to try many different brands of midarm and longarm machines with no salesperson around!
Specialized sessions for business owners (beginning in 2010)
   →  Superior Training for Store Owners/Managers/Employees.  Teach your staff to teach your customers.
   →  Website Maximus.  Amazing website functions that can help your business.
   →  Extreme and Outrageous Customer Service. Thrive, don’t just survive.
Cost  Most session are $295 per person and include three days of classes, class supplies, printed materials, a lot of thread, and staff help.  Participants pay their own way to St. George and pay for their hotel accommodations.  Some meals are included and details will be provided for each individual session.
For more information and to register for the September or November session, please e-mail Ricci.  Space is limited.

Please be our Business Consultant. Send us your ideas to help us serve you better (products, education, website, customer service, etc.). We 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.  Myra Forbyn.   When I received my Masterpiece Frosted Donut in the BobbinSaver, the colors were willy nilly.  I had to sort them as close to the color wheel as I could get to make it easier to find the best color for my fabric.  It would be better if they were grouped by color.
Bob’s note: We (Mother Superior) did it.  It does look better this way.  Thank you.

2.  Katrina Branting.   Put a link on the home page to the Try Me Specials.  It doesn't stand out on the Products page, especially for someone who is new to the website.
Bob’s note: The link is now in the What’s New box on our home page.  Try Me Specials allow you to try a product at a discounted price.  You choose the product, we choose the color and you save 40-50%. 

3.  Karen Duncan (Washington).   I'm thrilled to see that you have a new hand quilting thread called Treasure, but couldn't find a Try Me Special for it.
Bob’s Note: Thank you for reminding me.  It is now listed in the Specials & Try Me Specials page. Same deal as above.  You choose the product, we choose the color and you save 40-50%.

4.  Donna Johnson.  I suggest that you do a little clean up and organizing of the navigation bar on the home page.
Bob’s Note: Thank you.  Donna offered many specific suggestions to make navigating easier.  We organized the drop-down menu buttons on our home page to make it easier to find things.

5.  Edmund Buchanan (Canada).   Many Canadian stores listed in the store locator are missing the province in the address.  Therefore I have to guess by the telephone area code where the store might be. Could I suggest that you list the province?
Bob’s Note.  Done.  Thank you for improving our Store Locator

6.  Stephanie Gauerke (Illinois).   In order to help us (the stores who carry Superior Threads), when someone is placing an order, provide the stores in their area so that they can support their local shop.  I know there is a Store Locator button but some people don't take the time to hit it.
Bob’s note: This is one of my all time favorite suggestions.  Thank you Stephanie.  It has been programmed so all retail orders will now list at the bottom of the order stores in their area that carry our products.  The accuracy of this list depends on stores to register on the Store Locator.     

WHAT'S NEW (This Month)

1.  If you are studying a foreign language or already fluent in another language, you can view our website in French, German, Japanese, or Spanish.  At the top of our webpage, click on the Language drop-down menu and select a new language.  When you learn some Japanese, call and talk to Bob.  He misses Japan. 

2.  Live Help. This is an online real time chat function that allows you to send a message to us and get a fast answer.  If you are at your computer and have a question, click on the "Live Help" button (visible during business hours) at the top right hand corner of our web page and you can communicate with an office representative during business hours.  You will receive immediate answers to your questions. 

3.  Revised Thread Reference Guide.  Last month’s newsletter included recommended top tension settings on home machines for each thread.  This information has been added to our Thread Reference Guide for Home Machines.  This guide tells you what each thread’s main use is, what bobbin thread is recommended to use with it, what needle type and size to use, and now includes what top tension setting is best.  Great information all on one page.

4.  We added a new feature to online orders.  At the bottom of your order, we list all stores in your area that carry our products.  This Store Locator feature is as accurate and current as stores add themselves to our website.  If you work at a store that carries any of our products, please register on our Store Locator.  It is free.  It makes it easier for customers to find you.

5.  Machingers.  Gloves for machine quilters.  Lightweight and form-fitting.  Machingers help to pull up the bobbin thread, thread the needle, clip threads, adjust fabrics, and add or remove pins. Specifically designed for quilters. $7.99 per pair.

WHAT'S NEW (Last 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.

 Texture Magic

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. Thread Color Card for the NEWEST King Tut colors.  The newest 21 colors plus the not-quite-as new 4 colors.  Thread Color Cards are made with the actual thread.

BOB’S RECOMMENDATION for 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? We have a wonderful recommendation. Check out Websites For Quilters. 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].  We use them, like them, and therefore recommend them. You’ll love their superior service.


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 July (reg. $19.80).

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

3.  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).

4. 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.

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

Three times a week we publish our blog.  It is an informal journey into Superior Threads – the people, the workplace, stories, and events.  Includes occasional giveaways.   

A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office. After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone and said, “Your husband is suffering from a very severe disease, combined with horrible stress. If you don't do the following, your husband will surely die.  Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant, and make sure he is in a good mood. For lunch make him a nutritious meal. For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him. Don't burden him with chores, as he probably had a hard day. Don't discuss your problems with him, it will only make his stress worse. And most importantly, be romantic with your husband several times a week.  If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely.”
The drive home was rather silent. But finally the husband turned to his wife and asked, “I have to know.  What did the doctor say?”
The wife thought for a brief moment and then replied, “You're going to die.”

THANK YOU for reading. Please forward to a friend and have a SUPERIOR day.
If this was forwarded to you and you want to subscribe, please click here:

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.