Magnifiers and Lamps

Good lighting, of the proper strength and colour, can make a world of difference in the ease with which you can sort thread colours or see those teeny holes in the fabric. While natural lighting is the best, most of us don't want to limit our stitching time to daylight hours.

Below are some extracts from postings about this topic.

From: Gillian Cannon <>...

Fluorescent lamps (tubes) come in different colours, just as do incandescent lamps. Designer Warm White in a fluorescent lamp will give you true "daylight" colours. If you do not get the correct colour of incandescent lamp (and they are harder to get true colours from) you will have major colour changes. This is information from my daughter, the interior designer, and her technical notes on lighting...
Also, as I originally mentioned, the heat is a large factor from incandescent lamps as well as the focused light which, in conjunction with a magnifier, can cause fires.

From: Gillian Cannon <>...

There has been some discussion on several conferences about light bulbs (technically called lamps) for use with cross stitch or other work that requires "true" colours.

After consulting with a lighting expert here are his suggestions: Fluorescents can give the closest to "natural light" of any artificial source.

For circular fluorescents (e.g., for use in Dazors), the Design 50 has 5000 Kelvins and is closest to natural daylight. The Designer Cool White is also close to natural light but is not available in circular form.

The second best artificial light is halogen, with the Daylight lamp, which is 6500 Kelvins.

The poorest form of commonly used artificial light is the incandescent lamp, but you can get "colour corrected daylight" bulbs at a lighting speciality store.

Magnifiers can also be a big help. There are inexpensive types which clip onto glasses. Another kind hangs around the user's neck and is braced against the chest. A third type is attached to a head band.

An important safety note for any type of magnifier--keep the lens out of direct sunlight when not in use. The magnifier can concentrate the sunlight and start a fire. Placing a storage cover of fabric on the magnifier is sufficient to prevent this from happening.

There are lamps with magnifiers incorporated. One well known brand is Dazor.

Magnifying lamp pluses:

  • Different lenses for different magnification levels.
  • Choice of fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.
  • Floor models have weighted bases, so the arm can be extended without tipping the lamp over.
  • Bases come with wheels (optionally).
  • There are models (without bases) which can be clamped onto scroll stands.

Magnifying lamp minuses:

  • Very expensive
  • Very heavy
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