As you well know, quilting on a sewing machine can be hard on the eyes. If the lighting is not just right, it can be difficult to work for long periods of time without your eyes becoming tired and strained. Not only is sewing in poor light difficult, but so is cutting quilt pieces and seeing the true color of your work. Lighting is important in any craft, but especially one in which the details are so tiny. Here are some tips and products to help you see just what you are doing.
Choose the Best Task Lighting for the Job
The right task lighting for the job is going to be the one that works for the longest and needs the least amount of fussing with. We all know the frustration of having a sewing machine light go out on us when we really need it, but do not despair. Try to keep a spare on hand if you can, but if you cannot, consider a desk lamp or combination lamp with attached magnifier.
Many companies such as Ottlite, Daylight, and Dazor make lamps that have these features, and come in a wide range of models with both floor and desktop makes. Try a crane lamp that can be moved and adjusted as needed to give you light just where it’s needed. They also look like natural light, the most comfortable for the eyes. Task lighting has also gotten very appealing in the last few years as manufacturers realize the importance of aesthetics in sewing room setup. You also need to consider the quality of the light itself. Is the light itself comfortable for your eyes? Is it easy to replace the bulb when it goes out? Are replacements easy to come by? Because sewing-specific task lighting can be such an investment, it is important to make sure you are not going to kick yourself down the line when something comes up.
The Right Magnifier
It can be challenging to find a good magnifier for your needs. Consider your needs. Maybe you do not sew very often, and you can manage with just a wearable magnifier on a necklace. Maybe you do a lot of applique and hand piecing, and you need to be able to have a lamp on the floor that can sit next to a chair. Lamps with attached magnifiers are convenient but expensive, and plain magnifiers that are worn can either be a little funny to look at but are much more affordable.
Clamp-on and Adhesive LED Lights
If you’re looking for something, small, convenient, and out of the way, then try clamp-on lights for your sewing machine. You can also buy LED lights from Inspired LED that hide right in the curve of your sewing machine arm above the workspace, and can be cut to the exact length that you need. They won’t take up floor space in a small sewing space, and won’t take up desk room on a small workspace. They also get right into the space you need them in, so you don’t need extra lighting.
Try White Shades
If the room you quilt in has a variety of ambient light sources, and you do not want to invest in task lighting, try switching your lamp and light shades for white ones. This works too if you are just getting started in quilting and you have already invested in the sewing machine. Lampshades are a cheap way to get the maximum light out of pre-existing sources. You can also try switching your lightbulbs themselves out for brighter bulbs that produce more natural light.
Track lighting is a great way to add lighting that is comfortable an easy on the eyes, and can be moved wherever it is needed most for maximum impact. Look for track lighting that is easy to adjust and can use LED lights for a more daylight like appearance.
With these tips, you should have no trouble finding the best lighting for your quilting adventures!