Updated November 27, 2018
Back in 2012 when I originally wrote this post, I’d been thinking alot about light and stitching. It’s been a combination of several things:
- I have to get reading, that is stitching glasses, for the first time, at almost 56. The world is both dimmed and blurry without correction so this should help me see the canvas better.
- Our guild chapter moved its meeting space from a meeting room with HUGE windows and lots of light to the bottom floor of a Victorian house with small windows and terrible overhead lights. The lights wouldn’t even work in a house, let alone stitching room.
- The days are getting longer and that makes me want to stitch in the afternoons.
These days I have been thinking about the best ways to use sunlight as your light source & have added some new tips.
I’ve never had much luck with either lights or magnifiers. I prefer stitching under natural light. And that the biggest bang for the buck I know. Filtered sunlight is perfect for stitching. It is true color (why buy a lamp or bulb to do this?). When filtered by fog, clouds, or even blinds, There is little glare and no overly bright areas to hurt your eyes.
In the Bay Area where I live we get filtered light quite often. But you can also make brighter sunlight work for you as well. If you are working near a window, try to stitch where the light is over your non-dominant hand. This keeps the shadows away from your stitching.
Natural light is great for stitching black and other dark colors on painted canvases. I find doing this works better than anything else I have tried, including contrasting color cloths. In fact often I save up these areas to stitch in the car where the light is bright.
Because you can control, somewhat, how much light gets into your house, you can also pick the brightness. My studio, with windows on three sides, is pretty bright. My stitching chair here is against the window that looks West onto the porch, so the light is indirect and over the correct shoulder. When I can get the cats off the chair, it’s a great place to stitch.
I prefer stitching in the family room, on the Southeast side of the house. It’s shaded by about 11 AM, so while there is plenty of light, there isn’t glare. In the morning the Venetian blinds filter enough light so there isn’t glare.
Go pour yourself some tea, find a sheltered spot with filtered light (outside is also great), put your feet up and stitch.