4 vital things to consider when choosing a lamp

Choosing a lamp that’s right for your needs is of the utmost importance. Not only will it allow you to work accurately, but it will also ensure you work in comfort, without frustration and for longer. To make the right choice it is vital to consider these four factors:

1. The Right Light Source

The colour of light emitted by the light source is crucial: when choosing a lamp you need to ask whether it allows you to see your work clearly, in comfort, and above all to colour match properly?

All types of needlework and crafts will be dramatically improved by the use of the right light source. You need a good colour balanced light that allows you to choose and see colours as they would look like in natural daylight, whether you are working during the day or night. You do not want to make the mistake of choosing a black thread or bead, when they meant to use a dark blue one.

Differences in the colour of light emitted are technically measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Traditional tungsten lighting is normally about 2800 K, and like most conventional lighting, emits a colour-distorting yellowish light. The ideal range is between 5000 and 6500 K, commonly known as “simulated daylight”. Under these colour temperatures, white  appears white and other colours appear most natural. In addition to allowing perfect colour matching, this type of light provides very good contrast. The benefit of this is that it makes it easier to see detail clearly and avoids unnecessary eyestrain. It allows you to work in greater comfort for longer.

The heat emitted by the light source should also be considered. As we often work with the light source quite close to our head, the high level of heat emitted from some light sources will often be disturbing. The better options are Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), which emit very low heat. In addition, they are low in energy consumption, eco-friendly, and long-lasting.

We recommend: a CFL or LED “simulated daylight” light source between 5000 and 6500 K.

choosing a lamp
The D35107 is our bestselling light for all craft uses. This powerful LED table lamp has a super high-quality slim brushed chrome design and powerful 4,300 LUX bright light at 15cm from 80 ultra bright daylight™ LEDs.

2. A Light that is Bright Enough

Adequate lighting is essential in all circumstances, and even more so when the detailed work and colour matching is involved

The amount of light emitted onto your needlework is obviously of the utmost importance. Adequate lighting is essential. The correct technical measurement of light output to look for is the “LUX” value. This is a measurement of the light emitted from a light source onto a surface (i.e. the object viewed). The “LUX” value will, of course, depend on the distance between the light source and the object viewed. It is, therefore vital, when reading a “LUX” value to know the distance at which it was measured. The amount of light on a viewed object increases by four times when the distance is halved (i.e. the closer the light source to the viewed object, the greater the light).

Many people are confused by another technical measurement known as “LUMENS”. This is a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a light source, but it is only a relative and inadequate indication of the light emitted onto the surface or object viewed, and is less relevant when comparing different lamps for artists.

We recommend: a light source with a minimum of 1000 LUX on the surface being viewed or worked upon, regardless of the distance from the light source.

choosing a lamp
This powerful D35116 LED Floor Lamp is ideal for all types of needlework, sewing and quilting. It provides long arm reach of 55cm (22″) and an even, wide coverage of light, which is ideal for large work surfaces. The daylight technology reduces eye strain and glare for healthy vision and allows true colour matching.

3. How and Where You Work

Having chosen the right light source you obviously need a lamp fitting that allows you to position the light exactly where you need it. This will depend on whether you work at a table or an armchair or elsewhere. It also has to have sufficient light spread for the size of your work, and needs to be designed so that you can avoid disturbing glare and avoid creating shadows across the working area.

Choosing the right light source is the essential first step, but of equal importance is choosing a light fitting that does the job for you. In other words, does the light fitting allow you to position the light on your work in comfort and with ease. This will vary according to where you prefer to work and the type of work you do, but there will always be the same three important considerations:

a) Where you normally work

Most likely you will work at a table or in an armchair (or sofa). Choose a fitting that is designed for the one or the other (some of lamps are designed to work for both table and armchair activities). Then check that the lamp can be easily moved and adjusted so that the light can be positioned where you will need it (usually quite close to your work to ensure sufficient brightness), and that the arm has sufficient reach for you to work in comfort.

If you intend to travel often or take a lamp to classes, you may want a lighter more portable model, possibly one that is it battery operated and maybe re-chargeable!

b) The size of your work

You need to consider the spread of light you need at any one time to do your work optimally. Many lamps are designed to give a very small spread of light. Especially if you work on medium or large projects, you will need to check this aspect closely. Quilters, for example, will normally need a very wide spread of light over a flat surface.

c) Avoiding glare and shadows

Glare is most discomforting, and will soon stop you working. You need a lamp that has been designed to avoid glare, i.e. designed in such a way that the light source can be properly positioned for work, so that the light is not directly visible to the user’s eyes during normal use and also eliminates shadows across the working area.

We recommend: choosing a lamp that is most suitable for your choice of working position, and that has minimal glare and appropriate spread.

choosing a lamp
The D21098 Ultimate Floorstanding Lamp has a flexible gooseneck arm so you can position the light or use the lamp as an up-light. The lamp comes with a tray, a chartholder and a magnifier.

4. The Need for Magnification

People doing fine embroidery or lacework know that they need magnification. However, many if not most people would find it beneficial to see things through a magnification lens at least occasionally, to take a closer look at details or simply to unpick errors.

For fine detailed work, the need to work with a magnifying lens is obvious. However, most other people would benefit from the occasional use of a magnifying lens to inspect work carefully, and especially to unpick work. As we get older, our eyesight naturally deteriorates, and it can be very useful to have the option of seeing things more clearly with the help of a lens.

When choosing a lamp with a lens it is important to also consider the size of the lens, and generally speaking the bigger the better. A lamp incorporating a lens will offer the best results, as details will be able to be seen very clearly.

We recommend: choosing a lamp with a magnifying lens either incorporated in the lamp or as an additional attachment, whether you require magnification all the time or just sometimes.

View our full range of Daylight™lamps, including floorstanding lamps, table lamps and magnifying lamps here.


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About Ame

Ame Verso is the daughter of legendary cross stitch designer Jo Verso and has been cross stitching since the age of 10. She also sews and crochets and is the face of the SewandSo YouTube channel.