I’ve been wanting to get back to the topic of thread content and quilter’s jail.

When I wrote about the Superior windfall back in January, Marcella asked, “Not sure what to think about mixing poly thread with cotton, won’t that put you in quilters jail?”

And Lois asked, “Where is the quilter’s jail?”

I wrote to Bob Purcell of Superior Threads and received the following reply:

“Thank you for mentioning us. Lots of great follow up comments! Regarding the “poly will tear the fabric” myth, here is an article we wrote and posting in the Education section of our website: Will Polyester Really Tear the Fabric — Truth, Tradition, or Myth?

Go read the article and be informed in your thinking. Bob points out that it’s not the thread content that matters, it’s the strength of the thread in relation to what it’s sewing. I love Bob’s analogy of the family tradition and the roast beef.

Now for Lois’ question, where is quilter’s jail?

I know where quilter’s jail is.

It’s in your mind, and only you can put yourself there.

For every “truth” that is told in the quilting world (or any other world) you can find a direct dispute to it. I remember when the self-adhesive sticky stamps came out, I thought, hey great, best thing since sliced bread! And then immediately there were urban legends of how they came off in the mail. I don’t think so. One time at a quilt show there was a vendor who claimed that grocery store freezer paper was full of acid and that every time I pinned through it I was pushing little dots of acid into my fabric. I chose not to swallow that on the spot, and I’ve never seen hide nor hair of the outfit since.

I think it’s better to file away bits of information in your brain, gather as much info as you can, think about it, and decide for yourself. Bob’s article is good information and food for thought. There are lots of other great topics posted in the Superior Threads Education section as well.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. I’m going to be at the Seven Sisters Quilt Show in San Luis Obispo, California, April 24-25. If you’re in the central California area, I hope to see you there!

At the Road to California show earlier this month, I was directly across the aisle from the Superior Threads booth. What a fantastic location!

I was on the lookout for The Thread Guy and Mother Superior, aka Bob and Heather Purcell. I was sure I would recognize them from their appearances on The Quilt Show.

When the opportunity presented itself, I approached Bob and said, “Mr. Bob Purcell?”

He looked at me with a little bit of that “deer in the headlights” look (like is this someone I’ve met and I can’t remember her?) but I quickly explained how his fame as The Thread Guy had preceded him. I told him about what an appliqué enthusiast I am (gesturing toward my booth as evidence) and that I had been using DMC 50-weight 2-ply cotton for years. I asked him whether Superior’s MasterPiece would be like an equivalent.

The answer was yes, and it’s long-staple Egyptian-grown cotton, which makes it, well, superior! I told him of my appliqué blog and how I liked to supply information to other appliqué enthusiasts, and he generously presented me with a fantastic goody! A rainbow of MasterPiece threads in a collection of prewound bobbins! Yippee! A little bit of 36 colors!

Later in the show, Heather came over and said, “I know you like Bob better.”

“Well,” I replied, “he gave me thread.”

“But I want you to try this,” she said, and handed me a rainbow of polyester threads in a collection of prewound bobbins. Wow!

“Now I know that you’ve only used cotton,” she went on. “But just try this poly thread and you will never go back. And then, you will like me better.”

superior-bobbinsCotton on the left and poly on the right. The “Frosted” part of the cotton name came about because Superior did a collection of threads for the Piece o’ Cake gals, and donut, kinda self-explanatory. I can only conjecture about how they came up with Holy SuperBobs.

What a thread windfall for an appliquér. All those luscious colors at my fingertips… I can’t wait to try out each kind, for hand and machine appliqué, and file a report!

thread-compThe cotton MasterPiece thread feels and looks very comparable to the DMC. The poly thread is even finer than the two cottons.


The Purcells are super-nice, down-to-earth people. I like ’em both. They care passionately about their product and they are very tuned-in to the needs and wants of the quilter. Just check the Education tab of the Superior website for gobs of information about the world of thread.

I also met quilter, designer, author, and sweetheart Cindy Needham, who was hanging out in the Superior booth helping shoppers with their questions about thread. I think I persuaded her to go a guest post for us about appliqué and her fabulous work with wholecloth linen quilts. Stay tuned!

More later,
By Kay Mackenzie