Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let There Be Light!

Good lighting is key to quilting!  It helps you to see your project more clearly--critical when it comes to the detail work:  precise cutting, sewing, pressing and especially when it comes to free motion quilting.  All too often we either accept what little light our space provides, or we supplement with additional lighting for a more pleasant quilting experience.

Its refreshing to work in a well-lit area, and I've got 3 lights that hang from the ceiling that brighten up my space and make it easy to locate tools, books or just the right fabric.  I made sure to use the brightest bulb in the light directly over my sewing machine.
In addition to above your sewing machine, it may be helpful to have task lighting in other key spaces--especially where you measure and cut fabric.  I've got some great wall-mounted light sconces that shine directly onto my cutting table making it super easy to clearly see the increments on my rulers making for accurate cutting!

Last but not least, be sure to provide adequate lighting under the throat of your sewing machine.  Unfortunately, most sewing machines simply are not equipped with adequate lighting needed for more detailed or intricate sewing.  Oftentimes, I see new lighting products in use by my fellow quilters at workshops, classes and retreats.  Some like the little Ottlights but for me, they just always seem to be in the way and take up precious table space.  I tried small desk lamps sold at IKEA that could be bent and twisted into place---but they just always seemed to be blocking my view and/or being knocked out of they way by big, bulky quilts.  Then, there are the lights that are small and can be clipped directly onto your sewing machine and will project light onto your sewing space.  Years ago, I discovered Eco Lux products.  Developed by a fellow quilter, these little LED light units can easily be attached to the roof of your sewing machine--well out of the way of quilts.  After seeing it in use, I quickly ordered myself a 6-LED light strips to use with my Brother Sewing machine and just love the light it projects onto the bed of my machine.  In fact, I will sometimes forget to turn it on and then wonder why everything is so dim.  Once I turn it on--alleluiah!!

Basic lighting provided by my Bernina
Enhanced Lighting thanks to Inspired LED Lighting!!
Very recently, a dear friend gave me a gift:  a Sewing Machine LED Lighting Kit made by Inspired LED.  I thought I would test it out on my Bernina sewing machine where I do most of my piecing and free motion quilting.  The Bernina 820 is already equipped with 30 LED lights, so I was curious whether I would notice any improvement, before I attached it properly.  Here are pics of the effect of lighting under the machine throat--modeled by some black fabric (which is always the hardest for me to see clearly in poor lighting--don't even get me started on black thread on black fabric!!).  Up until now, I've always been content with the lighting provided by my Bennie and never had any reason to complain.

Before attaching the new LED light strip, I did a test drive by simply holding it in place with my fingers.  Once I flipped on the On switch, I was totally amazed and delighted by the profound improvement of lighting thanks to this sleek little LED strip.  I immediately went to work removing the sticky tape backing so I could properly mount it to the Bennie!  It was super fast and easy to assemble the light unit and attach to my sewing machine.  The kit provided clear and easy directions for assembly and even included two cable clips to keep the wires well-tucked away.  And according to the website-it is priced at just 1/3 the cost of the Eco Lux lighting.

So if you are looking to brighten your sewing space, I HIGHLY recommend this Inspired LED Sewing Machine LED Lighting Kit!

To quilters every where--let there be light!

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