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Lighten Up

Practical Solutions For Illuminating Your Needlework Projects
By Cynthia Thomas

I don’t know about anyone else but as a needle worker, I can never get enough light so I have collected several different kinds depending on my stitching situation.
Lights For At Home
I stitch using a floor stand and prefer a floor lamp or a lamp that will clamp to my Lowery needlework stand (a floor stand that a frame and/or light can clip on to and it holds your stitching). I don’t usually attach the light on my stretcher bars.

At home, I have used a Dazor magnifying light for years, in fact, I have two because at one point I had two houses.  One is on a solid base and one is on wheels to roll from one place to another. 


At over 40 pounds neither of these is really a “portable light”. It has a magnifier which is ophthalmic quality glass in a variety of strengths, and the light come in several different shapes. It is easy to adjust the light since the arm, which comes in a variety of lengths, bends at several spots. It comes with both a desk and floor model. The bulb comes in full spectrum, daylight and cool white. They even have LED lights now.

I will say that the Dazor light isn’t inexpensive but I’ve had mine for over 40 years and use it almost every day.

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There are links provided int his article to online sources where you might purchase some of these lamps but in order to keep the needlepoint industry alive and well we urge you to support your local needlepoint store whenever possible.

Lights That Are More Portable

When I travel, I have been trying out a couple different types of lights. The lightest and easiest to pack is the Jansjo clamp on light from Ikea.  

needlework portable light

I like the goose neck so I can position it over my work. It gives a nice bright light, weighs less than a pound, and has an approximately 11-foot cord so it’s great for hotel rooms where the outlet and the chair never seem to be close to each other. It fits neatly into a Timeless Tote Small Craft Case.  The down side is that the light only shines on a portion of your work. I have shown the light attached to my Lowery stand on the bar for the clamp (above). There is also a picture of the light packed and ready to go (below).
needlework portable light

The other portable light I’ve been using is the Daylight Duo-Lamp (image below) which has two arms with LED lights which work independently of each other. It weighs a little over a pound. The clamp expands to approximately 1 ½ inches so it will clamp on to stretcher bars. I clamp it on to the light bar on my Lowery.  The arms can be spread out to cover a larger area or pushed together to increase the amount of light on one area. Each arm has 4 light settings which you adjust by tapping the end of the light.  It comes in a floor and table model also.

Daylight Duo Led Art & Craft lamp with Clamp - White

Another portable light which I purchased after seeing several people using at seminar is the Koncept LED Mini Desk Lamp (below). It comes with a base for a desk but you can buy the optional clamp which I use to attach it to my light bar. It weighs about 1 ½ pounds without the base.  The light portion comes off and the upright and other section of the arm collapses so it folds up nicely to fit into your suitcase.  It gives a nice bright light which you can adjust by sliding your finger on the slide bar on top of the light section.

portable lamp light for needlework
Koncept AR3100-W-SIL-DSK Z-Bar Mini LED Desk Lamp, Warm Light, Silver

No Power Outlet Handy?

I had used a battery powered light to stitch when Hurricane Ike took out my power for 6 weeks and it was okay but I really didn’t want to go through all those batteries, or hassle with a battery charger. I have a friend who has a light which she uses with a Power Bank, which is a rechargeable lithium battery that is available to charge your phone, ipad or other USB powered devices, but I never liked the idea it was a desk light. When looking on the Internet I ran across a Swifttrans Portable clip on with a goose neck which can be powered by a Power Bank. I purchased the light and two Dulla Power Banks (that’s the thing sitting on the beading tray of my Lowery).

The power bank weighs 8 oz. and will recharge an iphone 7 about 5 times or add 30 hours of game time. The light has two settings, the brightest setting works well for needlework. I tested it and after 5 hours it still seems to have a lot of power left. It has a nice long cord so the Power Bank can go on the floor or table.  I plan on taking it to a class so I’ll let y’all know how it worked.

Cynthia Thomas is an award-winning designer who has been teaching needlepoint for over 30 years.  She has written hundreds of commercial and custom stitch guides.  Her work has appeared in Needlepoint Now, and Stitcher's World.  She currently writes a column, Thread Up, for Needle Pointers.  She lives and works in the Texas Hill Country.  If you would like a list of her commercial guides, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope (2 first class stamps) to her at 408 Native Oak St., Ingram, TX  78025.  For custom stitch guides or teaching contact her at

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