Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Lighting

Today’s question comes from Kay. She writes:

One of your fans here stated, You often leave me with some thought I return to over and over. I so agree. Now I have a question for you: Do doctors’ waiting rooms have enough light for you to stitch by? Or do you bring your own?

This question was prompted after I wrote a recent blog post and said I was thankful for being able to stitch in the doctor’s office.

I have done LOTS of stitching in a doctor’s office.

I stitch in waiting rooms…
I stitch in exam rooms…

I stitch everywhere and anywhere I can when I am at appointments. So often the person calling me back has to wait a minute while I quickly tuck my project back into my project bag. They don’t seem to mind.

As far as lighting goes…I am very fortunate. I can see 40 count fairly easily without good lighting.

I am nearsighted meaning everything close up, is easy for me to see. I don’t need glasses for seeing things close up and I think that makes a lot of the difference.

I think that is very important to remember when trying to figure out magnification and light for yourself you need to consider what type of eyes you have. I think it’s also important to remember that what is good for me might not be good for you. Lighting and magnification for each individual person is much like the difference in each individual’s glasses.

If you need glasses for reading, you’re likely going to need a higher-powered lens to stitch or will likely need some strong magnification. Amazon has cheap magnifiers and 4.0 magnification HERE. I believe The Attic Needleworks even sells 6.0 readers.

Some people prefer to have a light with a magnifier. I only ever use a magnifier if I have one-over-one stitching on 40 count to do and even that, I can do without a light and without and magnification if I have to. I don’t prefer to but can. My nearsighted vision is pretty good.

If I am in a doctor’s office stitching I consider these things…

Find the place in the office that has the best lighting. I repeatedly go to the same waiting rooms so know where the good spots are. Check out the windows below letting in all the best lighting.

Pick a good project. I stitched many of these small pieces when I was in the hospital with my husband. We were watching Grease at the time. I actually love small projects at the doctor’s office because even if I stitch only a little, I feel like I made progress.

I also love taking fill-in projects. So much of this house was stitched in waiting rooms. With fill-in, I don’t need to count. I don’t have to worry about a lot of color changes. I can quickly put it in my project bag if I’m called back.

Another good project to take is a border project that is repetitive or an area of a project that is repetitive. I showed you this picture earlier. All of the fruit in the basket was repetitive and I could memorize the pattern.

Picking a project with lettering is also a good option.

That’s the best I can tell you Kay. You have to figure out what works for you if you want to stitch in a waiting room. I’m one of the lucky few that doesn’t need amazing lighting and doesn’t need a ton of magnification so stitching in the doctor’s office is easy for me.

Those of you who are farsighted and need lighting or magnification might need to invest in some portable equipment if you do. There are many things on the market such as THIS magnifier/light. I am hoping that some of you cross-stitchers who do need light and magnification might jump in and leave a comment to tell us what you use if you want to stitch in a waiting room or car if you are waiting for someone.

Thanks so much for the question Kay. I’m so sorry I couldn’t tell you more. Hopefully readers will comment and let us all learn more.

13 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Cross Stitch Lighting”

  1. Jo – i have a very small/portable light that also has a magnifier and is adjustable that i have used for English Paper Piecing and for binding. I was thinking it would be great for stitching too! Its called the YoYo Magnifier made by the Daylight Company.

    April in Iowa

  2. Thank you for sharing your answer. I’ve wondered how you could do it in car or waiting room, so now I know. I used to do cross stitching while riding in car, but I did it on Aida cloth.

  3. Until 2 years ago, I was nearsighted like Jo. I could read or sew without my glasses, but then I had cataract surgery and am now farsighted. I keep readers in the living room, bedside table and sewing room (for when I don’t wear my prescription glasses). When cross stitching, I use an OttLite around the neck magnifier for a little help. It has a light for a little extra boost. I was afraid it would be bulky and in the way, but it actually works quite nicely.

    1. I came here to report the very same thing. I was nearsighted and used bifocals to stitch and look up to watch TV. Developed cataracts, which didn’t need immediate attention, but doc recommended I go ahead. I should have asked LOTS more questions. I can’t stitch, read in bed, hook the clasps on my bra. Like you, I have readers all over the house. Just a friendly piece of advice – be sure your doc explains things to your satisfaction, talk to friends about their experiences, ask how urgent it is. Also turns out there’s a method where near vision can be preserved, which was not offered to me, but I also didn’t make it clear how important it was. I have regretted the surgery for 7 years.
      Now your suggestions about lighting and magnification may make stitching possible again. That you all for the links. Thanks, Kay for asking the question and Jo for your usual kindness.

  4. I have been able to purchase 6.0 reading glasses from Amazon. There are a number to choose from. I am farsighted and use them on 40 count fabric.

  5. This is a bit off topic but it might be helpful for those like you and me, who like to take sewing or other handwork projects wherever we go. I met a woman today at a knitting group who said she was so upset because she lost the baby blanket she had been working on. She was on a trip last week to Oklahoma City to visit friends and cannot remember where she left it—a restaurant, the football game, she isn’t sure and wouldn’t even know where to start to retrace her steps. To make matters worse, even if someone found it, they wouldn’t know where to send it because she had put no identifying information in the bag. We agreed this could happen to anyone and all of us decided to put a slip of paper with contact information inside every project bag from now on.

  6. What a great idea to put contact information in the project bag. I use readers over my regular prescription glasses. I have used several different lights/magnifiers. I use different types depending on the environment I’m in. I do stitch in the car but it only when working on lower count linen or higher count aida. And when the sun is shining. lol

  7. My husband LOVES to read in bed at night – sometimes he’ll use his “Hands Free Magnifying Glasses with Light”; some go as high as 160% Magnification. Usually they are battery operated. Just a heads up — you might get a few questions…………. Enjoy you needlepoint time!

  8. I was very near sighted like Jo, but now I have presbyopia (old age far-sightedness). I should have known that I would develop it because it is caused by a dominant gene, and both my parents had it. So, I need both magnification and light. So, I have tried several types of glasses with lights. My favorite is from Vision Aid This is the website on the case, but I got mine through Amazon. They have an LED light built in the frame and lens with 5 different magnifications. The lens change with one click and their position adjusts with a touch. I have had it over a year, and I love it.

  9. Hi Joe! I was at a cross stitch retreat this past weekend and one of the girls at my table had a clip on light clipped to her hoop. It might have been a book light as it was pretty small- but very bright. Another girl had a magnifier that went around her neck. If I can find an example, I’ll post another comment with the link

  10. I’m so glad that I decided to read this post! I don’t do cross stitch so I almost didn’t but now I feel a lot better knowing that I am not the only one with problems after cataract surgery. I know I was told that my distance vision would greatly improve but I thought that my near sighted vision would stay the same. Boy, was I disappointed and still kicking myself for not asking more questions beforehand as it’s not fixable. It’s been about a year and a half since and I had to have laser surgery too and I am still sick about losing my close up vision. My opthalmologist who I had for many years and loved, retired right before I needed surgery. I know that he would have made sure that I knew and understood all the facts. At least I know that I am not alone.

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