March 2011 Newsletter

March 2011 Superior Threads Newsletter

It's not all work and no play around here.  Thanks to Ryan, we have added some fun Superior videos to our website.  Heard of speed packing?  Watch an 8-hour Superior work day condensed to just over a minute.  Look closely and you might even see your order being processed. How about speed booth set up? Watch us set up a booth in just 48 seconds. Music, Splashball, and more. Videos

Many have asked us to provide a way to help them collect all the colors of a particular thread line over time so we created the Thread of the Month Clubs.  Is it worth it?  Here are only some of the benefits:
1.  Free Shipping (USA addresses) or Discounted Shipping (international) for the monthly Club shipment and this includes anything else you add to the shipment.
2.  Prices guaranteed not to go up during the Club duration.  For example, the price of King Tut spools recently increased by $1.00.  However, for King Tut Club members, there is no price increase.  A future MasterPiece price increase appears inevitable, but not for MasterPiece Club members.  Even for those who join now, the old price remains for Club members.
3.  Unbelievable perks and bonuses.  For example, occasional offers of free thread (you choose the thread and color). 
4.  Club-member only specials.  In January, our Superior Topstitch Needles were 50% off to Club members.  Our color catalog and resource guide was offered FREE to all members last month.  Other products were offered at 50% discount during February.  Each month will have similar offers.  Sometimes we have a closeout on a particular item.  These are offered to Club members first.  There will be some great bargains in March.
5.  No sign up fees. Open enrollment.  Stop any time.
See our Thread of the Month page for details.

EDUCATION: It's a Tug-of-war
I don't mean to boast, but . . . I have done something that very few people have ever done.  I have read a sewing machine Owner's Manual from cover to cover.  While reading the chapter on tension I had an Ah hah! moment.  It was such an awakening, I still remember it today although it was six years ago.  I was reading page 51 about tension.  The manual stated that the top tension setting was factory preset to sew with a 50 or 60 wt. polyester thread. This particular machine was the top of the line machine at that time.  Although it offered everything including fancy stitches, embroidery capability, features for excellent piecing and quilting, I realized then that it was designed first and foremost as a sewing machine, not as a quilting or embroidery machine.  This explains why the top tension settings were factory preset to sew with a 50 or 60 wt. polyester thread.  That is sewing thread, not the usual quilting or embroidery thread.  Sewing machines are made around the world for the world.  The world sews. We quilt.

This realization led to greater curiosity and subsequent research into sewing machine tension.  One of the best lessons I heard on this topic was from Libby Lehman.  Think of the top and bottom thread as having a tug of war.

If the threads are identical and you are sewing on a single layer of fabric and the tension settings are perfect so both sides have equal strength, 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 or smoother 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 top thread. Cotton batting tends to grab the thread more than poly batting, adding more friction on the thread.
2. Fabric type. Dense fabric puts more stress on the thread.
3. Top thread thickness and type. Metallic is less flexible than cotton or poly. Poly is usually stronger than cotton or rayon.
4. Bobbin thread type. Cotton bobbin thread tends to grab more than a smooth filament polyester. Sometimes grabbing is preferred (when piecing) and sometimes it causes problems (with metallic thread). A smooth filament poly thread (not spun poly) in the bobbin will work better with metallic and other sensitive threads because its smooth finish acts almost like a lubricant, sliding nicely with the thread.

Conclusion: We cannot rely on automatic tension settings.  There are too many variables.  As illustrated in the above diagram, if the top thread is showing underneath, either the top tension is too lose or the bobbin tension is too tight.  Either tighten the top or loosen the bobbin. If the bobbin thread is poking through the top, either the top is too tight or the bobbin is too loose.  Loosen the top or tighten the bobbin.  When making adjustments, begin with the top tension.
Full page printable image of above diagram

BOB'S TEACHING SCHEDULE. Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob
Mar. 3-6. Puyallup, WA. Sewing & Stitchery Expo.  Daily seminar.
Mar. 10. Plano, TX. Quilters Guild of Plano. 6:30 p.m.
Mar. 12. Dallas, TX.  Dallas Quilt Celebration. 11:00 a.m.
Mar. 25. Santa Rosa, CA. The Sewing Place. 6:00 p.m.
Apr. 14. Providence, RI. MQX Show. 9:00 a.m.
May 5. Salt Lake City, UT.  HMQS show.  8:00 a.m.
May 21. Cal. State Northridge. Quilting in the Valley. 2:00 p.m.
May 23-25. St. George, UT. Longarm Session School of Threadology


What is the School of Threadology?

Scheduled Sessions
1. March 15-17. St. George, Utah. Sue Gilgan.  (sold out) Three-day class. Landscape Quilting
2. April 18-19. St. George, Utah. Pam Holland.  Snow Canyon with Distinction
3. April 21-22. St. George, Utah. Pam Holland. Thread Painting
4. April 27-29. St. George, Utah. Certified Superior Threadologist Course.  Click here for details.
May 23-25. St. George, Utah.Longarm School of Threadology Session.  (sold out) New session added below (see Sep. 14-16).
6. June 29, 30, July 1. Honolulu, Hawaii. Three-day Certified Superior Threadologist Course.  Offered during Quilt Hawaii at the Marriott Hotel on Waikiki.
7. September 14-16. St. George, Utah.School of Threadology LONGARM session.   Welcome to our Longarm Playground.  Eight longarm machines and room for 14 participants.  This class is not an advanced level techniques class but is designed for new longarmers or want-to-become longarmers.  Learn how to use all types of quality threads on eight different longarm machines (multiple brands of machines).  You will have a chance to try them all.  Click here for details.

WHAT’S NEW (This Month)
1. King Tut New 32 color grid. Thread color cards made with the actual thread will be available by mid-March.  Until then, please refer to this color grid to view the new 32 colors. Currently out-of-stock colors are expected to arrive by March 27.

2. MasterPiece, the ideal piecing thread.
16 NEW colors available on both the 600 yd. spools and 3,000 yd. cones.  We now have a total of 75 colors. 
View the Color Grid for the new 25 colors. 
36 additional colors of MasterPiece prewound bobbins are on the way.

3. For those who use sergers, Polyarn is the ideal "woolly-like" thread.  Because it is polyester and not nylon, it provides better coverage, better stretch recovery, much higher heat tolerance, and colorfastness. 
Cloth diaper companies love Polyarn.  We have 36 colors on 1,000 yd. cones and a handful of colors on large 8,500 yd. cones.  We just added White Polyarn on large 8,500 yd. cones
If you use a serger and would like to try Polyarn, we offer a Try Me Special for only $2.00 for a 1,000 yd. cone with a 4-cone limit (regular price is $5.99).

Superior Threads Thread Dispenser

4. We asked Annie ( to create this pattern because we had so many requests for a way to hold our new Kimono Silk spools.
Many requested we wind Kimono Silk onto prewound bobbins and place them in a BobbinSaver, but cost wise, it isn't feasible.  This new pattern is a great idea for Kimono Silk and other spools that you want to carry with you.
Special slots in each pocket enable you to easily thread a needle without removing the spools from their pockets, keeping everything neat and orderly.
Superior Thread Dispenser

5. Tension Guide Chart for the Baby Lock Crown Jewel is now available.

 WHAT’S NEW (Last Month)
1. The Gammill Vision 26 Tension Guide Chart has been updated on our website.

2. Tension Guide Chart for the Gammill Optimum (with or without Statler Stitcher).

3. Additional videos demonstrating the new Top Thread Tension Gauge.

 4. Superior Top Thread Tension Gauge for Mid and Longarm Machines.  See above Education section for details and for a link to videos showing how this gauge works. 
Price: $34.95.
A set of both gauges (the Towa gauge for the bobbin and the Superior gauge for the top) is available here.  The top gauge is temporarily out of stock until March 23.
Videos showing how to use both gauges are also available on our website.
Instructions on using the gauges.

5. New Rainbows colors
 Two new variegated colors are available in our Rainbows line.
#862 NIGHT FIRE is black and red variegated.
#863 CHRISTMAS is red and green variegated.
Both colors are available on 500 yd. spools and 2,000 yd. cones.

6. So Fine prewound bobbins are here.  Colors #401 (SNOW),  #402 (PEARL), and #411 (BLACK) are now available in both L style and M style.  Available by the dozen, 1/2 gross, or gross (144 bobbins).

Please be our Business Consultant. Send us your ideas to help us serve you better (products, education, website, customer service, etc.). We will award $30 gift certificates for the best ideas.  Click here to submit an idea.  This month's winning Business Consultants:

1. Sharon Wright.  I keep a “Thread Journal” along with my quilt journal. I put a sample of each thread in my journal as well as the name of thread, color, weight, swatch of fabric the thread was used on, and my likes, dislikes, and comments about the thread such as price, where to purchase, linty or not, etc.  I will be adding tension gauge settings when my new top and bobbin tension gauges arrive.

2. Solomae Stoycoff.  When will you be updating the King Tut Color Compatibility Chart to reflect the new King Tut colors? (Specifically, the King Tut to So Fine compatibility).
 Bob's Note. It's here. King Tut and So Fine cross reference color compatibility chart

3. Jennifer Cosman (New Mexico). I put HandyNets over my rolled-up longarm pantograph patterns.  It keeps them wound nice and neat without ripping or wrinkling the edges like rubber bands sometimes do.

Specials logo (Small)

50% off Silk Ribbon this month.  Our beautiful 100% pure filament silk ribbon is available in 30 variegated colors (1-inch color change) and a few solid colors.
Available in 3 widths: 2mm, 4mm, and 7mm
All are 50% off this month.  Variegated colors are only $3.50 (reg. $6.99) and solid colors are only $3.00 (reg. $5.99). 
A set of all 30 variegated colors are discounted even more and available in each of the three widths.
For ideas using silk ribbon, here is a link to a Threads Magazine article entitled Beginners' Silk-Ribbon Embroidery: Five Easy Stitches

Try Me Specials. This is a fantastic way to try new products.  You choose the product, we choose the colors, and you save 40-50%. Available for most products.

50% off New Brytes polyester thread through the end of March.  Our New Brytes thread is the exact same thread type as So Fine, just heavier for a more defined stitch. New Brytes is #30/3-ply, lint free, smooth and easy-running polyester. 1,650 yds. for only $9.90 (regular  price is $19.80).  50 bright solid colors. 

 Art Studio Colors
2,000 yd. cones of Art Studio Colors are 50% off.
High sheen trilobal polyester, ideal for quilting and embroidery.
$6.95 this month (reg. $13.90).

DVD and Book set.  Thread Therapy by Dr. Bob
The DVD is a live recording of Bob's thread seminar.
The School of Threadology Book contains over 90 pages of educational information condensed from 10 years of Bob's research and newsletter education. 
This is the book used in our School of Threadology.  Reference Guides are also included. 
Worth $10,000. Both for $34.95 (reg. $49.90).

The two new colors of Rainbows mentioned in the What's New section above are on sale.  2,000 yd. cones are $14 (reg. $19.80) and the 500 yd. spools are $5.99 (reg. $7.99).
#862 NIGHT FIRE 2,000 yds. and 500 yds.
#863 CHRISTMAS 2,000 yds. and 500 yds.

FOLLOW us on Facebook and Twitter and be the first to hear of new products and specials. 

A German, looking for directions in Paris, pulls up to a bus stop where two Americans are waiting.
"Entschuldigung, sprechen Sie Deutsch?" he asks. The two Americans just stare at him.
"Parlez-vous francais?" he asks.
The two continue to stare, so the German tries again "Parlate italiano?"
No response. "Hablan ustedes espanol?" Still nothing. Frustrated, the German guy drives off.
The first American says, "You know, we should learn a foreign language."
"Why?" asks the other. "He knew four languages and it didn't do him any good."

 starburst shipping (Small)
CONTINUES within the U.S. 50 states.  You choose the products, we’ll choose the shipping method.  (Wholesale and business account orders have different shipping rates.)  You still have the option of
choosing faster shipping methods.

International orders: We now offer low Air Mail rates on international shipping to most countries.  Air Mail rates are available for packages up to 4 lbs.  International packages over 4 lbs. sent via the Post Office require Priority Mail or Express Mail rates.  UPS is also available.

Quilting Survey
Superior Threads has been invited by Quilters' Survey to co-sponsor a survey of quilters. Your responses will help these leading companies make decisions about new products and how best to serve the quilters who are important to all of us.  When you've completed the survey, you'll be invited to sign up to receive information from the sponsors about new products, educational materials, special offers and more.
A chance to win one of five fabulous prizes including a Superior Threads gift certificate valued at $350 retail.
The survey is conducted by Quilters' Survey and your responses are completely confidential. There is no way for the sponsors to link your responses with your request to be included in the prize drawing. If you want to make your voice heard, please Click on the link below to get started.


What I believe to be the most innovative quilting-related Internet company in the world is Websites For Quilters.  They also developed the FindMyFabric website and many others.  We use them and highly recommend them.  (This is an unpaid plug for them because we like the superior work they do.)  For more information, please click here.  They have designed hundreds websites for quilting-related individuals and companies as well as non-quilting related websites.

THANK YOU for reading. Please forward to a friend and have a SUPERIOR day. To change your subscribed e-mail address or if this was forwarded to you and you want your very own copy personally sent to your e-mail Inbox, please click here:  Subscribe. To unsubscribe, click the link at the bottom of the e-mail.

Bob Purcell, the Thread Professor and self-certified Threadologist.

Superior Threads: The ONLY thread with a guarantee.
Superior no ka oi

Copyright 2011 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.

Copyright © 2011 Superior Threads. All Rights Reserved.