In search of the perfect stitching light
We’ve all been there, you’re on a roll stitching but the light is going and it is getting harder to see. Your eyes are tired, and if you continue for too long with bad light you will get eye strain which can then stop you stitching completely. I have been on a constant search for the perfect stitching light to help.
The best thing is obviously a dedicated stitching room with large bay windows to let in plenty of natural light. We all have one of those … right? No, me neither. And even if you did the sun is not necessarily shining at the time you want to be stitching, so the next best thing for most people is typically a large lamp located behind you or to the side with a natural daylight bulb in. But even that has problems - you can’t always direct the light in the right spot and it tethers you to a fixed place plus for anyone who may be sat opposite you the bright light can feel like you are interrogating them.
Instead of a fixed light, another option is to use a clip on one so it moves with your stitching. I have gone through multiple clip on lamps of different styles but they usually end up broken, the spring on the clip on part often seems to be a weakness in their design, and they also go through a lot of batteries. I also found that clip on lights can be heavy and cumbersome when you are using them with a hoop or snap frame and the weight on one part of the hoop puts additional strain on your hand while holding the hoop causing aches.
My husband just bought me a new light as he was ordering something else online and it turns out to be the best light for stitching I’ve used so far. You may not have come across them as crafters are not their target market.
My husband calls me “the destroyer-of-lamps” and even he was getting bored of buying me some sort of stitching light every-other Christmas. So when he was researching his recent purchase of a fire-pit to spend evenings round a campfire during COVID lockdown he bought me a headlamp from the same company called “BioLite”. You may not have heard of them in the stitching world because they make equipment for camping but one thing you find with camping equipment is that it is often very well thought out with an emphasis on function and lightness. There are a number of features that make this lamp ideal for stitching.
I have tried using a headlamp before but found them heavy and floppy whenever I looked down, this is because often they used an alkaline battery pack and that was part of the light compartment. The BioLite headlamp is different in that the battery pack sits on the back of you head and the light at the front is small and compact LED so it feels perfectly balanced while you are wearing it without risk of neck strain. The soft elastic headband sits comfortably flat against your forehead and doesn’t move as you look around.
Although the whole thing is super-lightweight it has a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that lasts 40 hours on low (which is usually plenty bright enough for stitching). You recharge it using a micro-usb charging port built in. No more having to buy batteries and most importantly, no heavy batteries to weigh on your neck.
You’re not just limited to having the light be “on” or “off”. This has two main light sources, a focused beam type light and one that is more spread out. You can use either or have both enabled at once. There’s also a red light which is more for “finding your way to the campsite washroom at night” use and not something you’d use for stitching. As well as the two beams, you can also adjust how bright the light is by holding the single button until it’s the perfect brightness. The whole light part tilts down with clicking stops so it can perfectly light your piece however you like to have it positioned.
I tried to capture some images showing how it illuminates your piece. This is the dimmest setting:
The brightest setting is much brighter, way beyond what you would realistically need for stitching, but the phone camera auto-adjusted things so it doesn’t look too different but you can tell it’s brighter from the increased contrast:
Although it’s a very high-quality product, it only cost $60 which is comparable to what the popular Ott lights often cost. Of course this gives you a lot more versatility - if you were travelling for instance (ha, travel? remember that concept!) you could easily pack it in your stitching bag to use in a hotel or even if you want to sit outside next to the campfire to catch up on your work. Best of all it puts the light exactly where you want it while you reposition your work and you get to keep both hands free to stitch.
This post is not sponsored in any way, I was just very impressed by this headlamp which was a gift from my husband. Definitely recommended and worth the investment.