April 1, 2012

April 2012

Wise words from Mother Superior
Superior University
What's New (This Month)
What's New (Last Month)

Thread of the Month Clubs
$30 Ideas
Upcoming Events
Bob's Superior Joke


  Due to higher grades of raw material and advanced processing technology, a top quality thread today will last much longer than thread which was made 30 or 40 years ago.  Even the best quality cotton thread of a generation ago did not have processing techniques available to us today and it would probably be best to avoid using them. A top quality cotton thread (extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton, mercerized and gassed) manufactured today will probably be fine to use 50 or even 80 years from now.  As for polyester thread, the color may fade over the years with exposure to sunlight but a quality polyester will last a lot longer than we will.
    EDUCATION: THE PYRAMID OF SEWING.  What is most important?

We have all seen the nutrition pyramid that encourages healthy food choices.  The pyramid drawing shows daily recommended servings for each category.  The bottom (and largest portion), shows grains, the next level up shows fruits and vegetables, the next level up shows dairy and protein, and smallest portion at the top of the pyramid shows fats and sweets.  As we move toward the top of the pyramid, the importance of each level remains the same but the recommended quantity decreases. Totally ignoring even the smallest category would not be healthy.

Let’s apply this pyramid to sewing.  Whether we are quilting, embroidering, constructing, or crafting, we have been programmed to think like this:
Most important is the machine.
Next is the fabric.
Somewhat important is the top thread.
Least important is the bobbin thread.
This way of thinking is not healthy.  It merely reflects the time and expense at each level and tends to place less importance on the top levels of the pyramid.  We may spend thousands of dollars on the machine, hundreds on fabric, dollars on the top thread, and pennies on the bobbin thread.

We buy the best machine we can afford.  We shop for quality fabric, relying on reputable brands. Many have discovered there really is a difference in thread and are carefully choosing a quality top thread.  However, the bobbin thread is still frequently ignored and the "anything will do" attitude is too prevalent.  Just as in the nutrition pyramid, each level of the sewing pyramid is equally important.  It does not make sense to eat healthy in two or three of the categories and ignore one or two other categories. Likewise, it does not make sense to have a quality machine, quality fabric, quality top thread, and then use junk bobbin thread.  The bobbin thread is just as important as other levels of this pyramid. Some good Bobbin Thread Therapy will help us stay in proper balance.  Here is some knowledge we have gained over the past 12 years of studying bobbins and thread.

1.  What makes a good bobbin thread?  The exact same thing as what makes a good top thread -- quality. A bobbin may hold 135 yards of a very thin, low quality, loosely twisted polyester thread. The same size bobbin may hold only 45 yards of a fuzzy (linty), cotton thread. Don't decide solely on yardage. Choose your bobbin thread based on quality. Choose bobbin thread from thread you are familiar with and know to be quality. If you use prewound bobbins, make sure the thread is a quality product.

2.  Are prewound bobbins OK to use?
Yes, if the thread quality is good.  Prewound bobbins will usually hold more than a self-wound bobbin due to the precision winding of professional winding machines.  The market is flooded with prewound bobbins. However, nearly all the advertising emphasis is placed on everything EXCEPT the thread.  For example,
Is it a plastic bobbin or a cardboard-sided bobbin? (It does not matter.)
Is it a magnetic bobbin?  (All our research and testing shows the tension setting has more influence than does a tiny magnet.
How many yards of thread are on the bobbin? More important than yardage is the quality of the thread.

3.  My dealer/technician said that using prewound bobbins will void the machine warranty.
Absolutely wrong.  He/she is misinformed.  Most machine companies sell prewound bobbins.  Many dealers/technician may discourage the use of prewound bobbins based on their experience of cleaning machines that used low quality thread on the prewound.  A prewound bobbin with a quality thread is much better for the machine than a self-wound bobbin with junk thread.

4.  What is the recommended polyester bobbin thread?  A smooth, lint free, tightly twisted thread such as Bottom Line or So Fine #50.

5.  What is the recommended cotton bobbin thread?  A high quality, low lint cotton (extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton) such as MasterPiece.

6.  What bobbin style works in my machine?  There are three main bobbin styles and approximately 75% of all machines are compatible with one of these.
Home Machines
  L-style and Class 15 (also known as A-style) bobbins are the most common.

Longarm machines  All longarm machines are compatible with either M-style or L-style prewound bobbins.
Please see our Bobbin Compatibility List to determine if your machine is compatible with a prewound bobbin.
The diagram below shows dimensions for L-style, Class 15 (A-style), and M-style bobbins. Click here to view a larger image of this diagram.

For those who started in January, the April shipment will be Course 104 and will teach a wonderful fusible thread technique.  Learn to appliqué without using stiff fusible webbing.  Course supplies will include a spool of our MonoPoly (Smoke color) invisible thread ($7.99 value), a spool of Charlotte's fusible Web ($5.99), and a complete pattern to make either a wall hanging or a quilt ($9.00).  This is a total value of $22.98 before shipping.  Your cost is only $16.95 and includes free shipping (U.S. addresses).

Superior University
What is it?  Each month, we will send you a carefully designed project that includes a featured product. You will receive a simple pattern and easy-to-follow instructions to create a small project.  Many projects will include a product or technique you may have never tried before.  The focus is on learning a skill or technique and not on the finished project. These are simple projects that can be completed in a short time.
How long does it take?  30 to 90 minutes each month.  Emphasis is on the technique, not the finished project.  Our purpose is to help you increase your knowledge and use of threads and related products which will add more possibilities to your sewing projects.
When does it start?  Anytime.  Regardless when you enroll, you will start with Course 101 and progress each month.  It is an open enrollment (start and stop any time). No contract. No registration fees/federal excise taxes/dealer prep/fuel surcharges, or other fast-talking hidden charges.
My friend started in January. Can I start now but be on the same track as she is? If you request it, you can purchase the first two or three courses in order to be on the same track as your friend.  Otherwise, we recommend you start with Course 101 when you enroll.  Either way, you will not miss out on anything.
When does it ship?  Between the 15th and 20th of each month.
Who is it for?  With students ranging from absolute beginners to experienced and skilled sewists, Superior University will offer something for everyone.  Of course, some lessons may be easy for some, yet challenging for others, but they will help everyone obtain a skill or improve a technique.
How much does it cost?  Only $16.95 per month (including shipping to U.S. addresses) and a one-time Starter Kit fee of $29.95 (including shipping to U.S. addresses).  International shipments incur postage fees.
Why?  Since our beginning, our focus has been quality and education.  Our School of Threadology was developed to teach you everything we know about thread, needles, and tension and how they interact. Superior University is our way to offer our School of Threadology to you, in your home, on your schedule, and at very low cost. 
Superior University for Guilds and Stores.  Superior University is also available for stores to teach as a monthly class and for guilds to use as a monthly workshop. Contact Ricci for details.
A Look Inside. Course 101 teaches bobbinwork using Razzle Dazzle decorative thread and a fairly new product called Soft and Stable, which was developed to use in place of batting or other stabilizers in purses, bags, totes, and more.  Click here for Annie's video on Soft and Stable.  Course 102 teaches thread painting with variegated Rainbows. Future courses teach a fusible thread applique technique, Texture Magic, making thread fabric, using metallic threads, and more.
More video support. Mother Superior (Heather) and University Chancellor, Dr. Ricci made a video showing bobbinwork using Razzle Dazzle.  Great information for Course 101.
Student FeedbackClick here to view comments and testimonials, or add your own.
Show and Tell. See photos of completed projects sent to us from many participants.
For more information and enrollment, visit Superior University
Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or call 800-499-1777.
  1. So Fine #40 (variegated) Color Card
This is the first of our new standard size color cards (8.5 x 11 with 3-hole punch).
Made with the actual thread and sold at our production cost of $3.00.
35 colors.
Other color cards and color books are available for most thread lines.

2. Updated Bobbin Compatibility Chart.  Lists most compatible machines for L-style, M-style, and Class 15 (A-style) bobbins.

3. Coming within a month. MonoPoly on 10,000 yd. cones and on A-style (Class 15) bobbins.

4. Coming next month. MonoPoly invisible thread on A-style (Class 15) prewound bobbins. L-style MonoPoly prewounds will be next.

5. Magnifico!  A thread like no other.  Magnifico is a smoother, stronger, and shiny-er new line of high tenacity, high sheen (trilobal), lint-free polyester.  200 colors. 3,000 yd. cones. Magnifico will be introduced this month at International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati and at MQX in Providence, RI.

6. Most longarm machine companies recommend a specific needle style for their machines and oftentimes the recommended needles differ from brand to brand.  We stock most of the recommended needles and made available an assortment sampler set (includes the recommend needle style in an assortment of sizes).  These sets are now available for A1 machines, APQS, Handi Quilter, and most other machines.

7. Patterns.  We have almost 100 different patterns on our website, including 72 patterns by Annie Unrein and 24 patterns by Leesa Chandler.  The images have been upgraded making the patterns easier to view.
  1. Q&A pages. A Q&A tab has been added to most products.  Some questions do not pertain to a specific product so we created a general Q&A page.

2. When using spools, we sometimes use the new Superior Thread Holder in a horizontal position rather than in the vertical position.  Here is a photo showing it in a horizontal position, positioned just behind a machine.

3. Updated Inventory List.  We have an inventory list available on our website. This is a convenient way to keep track of your thread inventory.  So Fine #30, So Fine #40 variegated, and So Fine #50 have all been added and/or updated. You may print the entire inventory list (52 pages) or choose any individual thread line and print only those pages. Available in both pdf and xls formats. A mobile App is under development.

4. We have created a new tab on most Product pages called "Sample Photos" which display how a particular thread looks in a project.  Whether it has been quilted, sewn, or embroidered, there are detailed photos which will show how the thread looks.  The quilts which are shown in the sample photos are linked to our Gallery, which has over 100 quilts on digital display.  Click here to view King Tut sample photos.
If you are looking for a way to gradually collect all the colors of a particular thread line (such as King Tut or So Fine) or if you are a longarm quilter in business quilting for others and need to have a range of colors on hand, the Club might be the perfect idea.  You pay only for the thread each month but get many other benefits. Both retail and wholesale Clubs are available.

* Free shipping (U.S.A. addresses) or discounted shipping (international) for monthly Club shipments including all add-on thread orders shipped with it.
 * More than a dozen clubs to choose from. Collect the entire line of your favorite thread, a few spools at a time, and enjoy the benefits.
 * Members-only private sales
 * Price Guarantee. Club members are guaranteed that the price for Club threads will not increase for the monthly Club shipments.  For example, the price of King Tut and MasterPiece spools recently increased.  However, the Club price stayed at the original level.  This means that if you join a club now, your prices are at the original Club level, not the current higher price.
 * No contract.  Start and stop anytime.
 * Available for both Wholesale and Retail accounts.
For details, please visit the Thread of the Month Club
Questions? Please contact us at [email protected] or call 1-855-415-7122.
    $30 IDEAS
Please be our Business Consultant.  Post your ideas here to help us serve you better (products, education, website, customer service, etc.). We award $30 gift certificates for the best ideas.

50% off Art Studio Colors 2,000 yd. cones.
High-sheen trilobal poly for embroidery and quilting.
We are discontinuing the 2,000 yd. cones to make room for new products.
36 colors.
$6.95 (reg. $13.90) 50% off.

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.

40% off Poly Quilter thread.  Poly Quilter is a #30/3-ply spun poly jeans-weight thread. It is available in 36 variegated colors.
Ideal for quilting when you want the thread to be visible.
2,000 yd. cones
$13.15 this month (reg. $21.95). 40% off.
Recommended needle for longarms: #19, 20, or 21 (MR 4.5 or 5.0)
Recommended needle for home machines: Topstitch #100/16

33% off Selected Patterns.  Many of the patterns featured on our website are created by Heather (Mother Superior) and Annie Unrein.  The non-quilt patterns are created by Annie.  Many of the patterns use Texture Magic in creative ways.  The following patters are only $6 this month (reg. $9.00).
Around the Block
From My Heart to Yours
Cafe Vienna
Easy Ruffles Apron
Easter Egg Table Runner
Feeling Patriotic
Happily Ever After
Kyle the Crocodile

Perfect Quilter  We need to make room for new products. All remaining stock of Perfect Quilter is less than half price.  Perfect Quilter is a #30/3-ply cotton and is being discontinued.  Available on both 300 yd. mini cones and 2,500 yd. cones.  Perfect Quilter is a heavier cotton thread and intended to be visible on your quilts.  Works well on home machines with a Topstitch #100/16 needle.  Some longarm machines (tight-tensioned machines) do not run it well.  Loosely-tensioned longarm machines are fine.
300 yd. mini cones $3.75 (reg. $8.99). 24 colors remaining. Less than half price.
2,500 yd. cones $10 (reg. $29.99). 6 colors remaining. Way less than half price.

50% off pure filament silk ribbon for silk ribbon embroidery.
Superior's Silk Ribbon is available in 3 widths (2mm, 4mm, 7mm).
30 beautiful variegated colors and some solid colors.
50% off this month.
Only $3.50 per pack (reg. $6.99)

Superior Sampler Sampler Sets   If you are not familiar with many of our products, we offer a variety of Sampler Sets at discounts of approx. 40% off.
Home Quilting Sampler Set
Longarm Quilting Sampler Set
Embroidery Sampler Set
Embellishment Sampler Set (for bobbin work/serger/couching)
Silk Sampler set

1. June 29-July 1, 2012. Kauai, Hawaii. 3-day Certified Superior Threadologist course offered during Quilt Hawaii.  Aloha.  Thread classes almost on the beach.  Limited to 30 participants.

2.  Most future sessions of our School of Threadology will be offered through our new Superior University program. We provide detailed instruction in your home and on your schedule via our monthly class.  It may not be as fun as visiting our campus, but it is less expensive and more convenient for you, and we can teach more by offering a new project each month.  A DVD of a live recording of Bob's seminar, Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob, will be included free of charge ($24.95 value) as part of Superior University and will be sent with the first project.
  What I believe to be the most innovative quilting-related Internet company in the world is Websites For Quilters.  They also developed many websites in the quilting world including the FindMyFabric website and the Quilter's Daily Special website.  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 of websites for quilting-related individuals and companies as well as non-quilting related websites.
  At a convent in Ireland, the 92-year-old Mother Superior was in her last few days of life. The nuns gathered around her bed trying to make her final journey comfortable. They tried giving her warm milk to drink but she refused it.  One of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen. Then, remembering a bottle of Irish Whiskey that had been received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.  Back at Mother Superior's bedside, she held the glass to her lips. The frail nun drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had finished the whole glass down to the last drop. As her eyes brightened, the nuns thought it would be a good opportunity to have one last talk with their spiritual leader.
"Mother," the nuns asked earnestly, "Please give us some of your wisdom before you leave us."
She raised herself up in bed on one elbow, looked at them and said: "Don't sell that cow!"