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February 05, 2014



The lighting in my 440 doesn't work well enough either. I'm thinking of asking if the lighting can be upgraded to lighting similar on my 780. It's so much better.

Carol margrave

I have the same problem. Please share if you get any good ideas. I haven't commented or emailed in a while. Still love your blog.


If your grandfather is having memory problems, you should give him coconut oil. I gave it to my husband, who had Alzheimer's, and he improved greatly.


I now have two sewing areas. My primary one is for piecing and I have the mounted, under machine arm LED lights and a large Ott lamp. It is bigger than the one you have and has either a heavy stand or a clamp. I've never been able to use the clamp with the different tables that I have. The stand does take room, but I love the light that it provides. Over at my new station--with my Juki for machine quilting, I have a small ott light and the Ikea light and the under arm LED lights and they are not enough! I know exactly how you feel. It is inconvenient to move my large OTT lamp back and forth, so I'm thinking of saving up for another one. I've had that large Ott light for 10-12 years, never had problems, and never needed to change the bulb. (And I move often since my husband is in the Army.) As far as standing lamps--I don't think they would work for me as I'm always up against a table. I totally get your situation and frustration! I never have enough light!!

Barbara Anne

Wishing you well on better lighting for your sewing area. Susan Mech, MD who wrote the book "Rx for Quilters" says our aging eyes do need increased wattage and it's so true.

I have a lamp behind me, the Bernina light, a clamp-on swing arm lamp (a dud) and a 4 lightbulb ceiling light with fan. This does for now but isn't much help sometimes. I look forward to the suggestions you receive!

Cheers that Grandpa is arranging things in his room to suit himself! I know he'll be pleased to have some of the wall art he's enjoyed in his home.

Love the Jelly Bellies quilt, but don't let it get washed by the laundry at the facility and make sure the staff know that.



My husband installed a really horrible looking shop light over my sewing and cutting area. It looks awful but it gives me the light that I need. He said he would replace it with something better looking someday!

Becky in KCMO

I have a floor Ott light - one of the long headed ones - directly in front of the Juki. I changed out the bulbs in the Berninas (2) with an add-on LED fixture that uses the light bulb place for its power.

When I had my first cataract surgeries I had an implant that did not let in enough light. I think I have 3 Ott floor lamps, a portable folding one I use at retreat, extra spotlights on tracks in the ceiling as well as color corrected fluorescent fixtures in the ceiling. The room is painted white - white - extra white pigment added to the paint to reflect more light. I did have the help of a lighting specialist. I've since had the implants changed out, and only turn on about half of the lights. I hope this gives you some ideas.

Lisa D.

I'm glad to hear your FIL is settling in and making himself at home. I love the quilt! As for lighting, you MUST get one of these for your sewing machine. I couldn't live without mine:


It must have been a big relief to find Grandpa arranging family photos & organizing his CD collection! The quilt is such a thoughtful addition to his new room! I'm sure the extra attention about it from the staff will go a long way toward helping him settle in.
Several quilters at retreat use the ecolux lights on their machines & seem to like them a lot! My friend & I have staked out tables by the window so I haven't invested in one…yet!

Laurie in Iowa

Wonderful news about Grandpa... and that quilt should cheer up everyone!


My answer to this problem which is really the need for more overall bright lighting in the entire sewing table area is hanging swag lamps. I LOVE them! I have 4 of these in use in my sewing room over work areas that I got years ago when they were everywhere and cheap ... they are thankfully still available although a bit harder to find and more pricey. A quick google search shows several on Amazon.

I also use long arm Ott lights over the back and left side areas my sewing machine for additional lighting when needed.


So glad to hear that things are settling down for Grandpa, which can only bring great peace of mind for you. Love the quilt for his bed. Looks lovely and cozy, just what he needs.
No suggestions on the light front. I make do with a large overhead fluorescent light. It's ugly, but it does the job.


I also use the long Ott light standing lamp placed over my left shoulder and it provides good light. It is super bendable and goes just where you need it.
That quilt will go a long way to making Grandpa's environment look very homey. A homemade quilt carries lots of love in it! Glad he is doing better.

Jennifer Gwyn

I use a tall Ottlight floor lamp that I got from Joanne fabrics at 50% off (they have that sale all the time on Ott lights). I am considering installing a wall mounted swingarm type lamp over my sewing table and another over my cutting table, but I have both tables up against a wall - not like yours. Maybe you can get your handy husband to install some drop down pendant lights over your area off of some DIY tracks in the ceiling?


I have lighting problems too! I moved my sewing table next to the window and it is now right under a recessed light. In addition to that, I have the Ikea bendable light like yours. During the day I have enough light. At night? Nope. :(

Of course they fell in love with grandpa's quilt! who wouldn't! ;p


So glad to hear grandpa is settling in, love his quilt too! I have some track lighting my husband is supposed to install to help with my light situation. I don't have vaulted ceilings though, in other rooms of the house where the ceilings are high I use floor/torch lamps, plus the light from the chandelier.


I have an floor light with a bendable neck that is great, I can angle it however I need but it doesn't take space from my table.


I have permanently attached an Ecolux Lighting Strip to the neck of my machine, I have a Bernina 440. I use the 6 LED light strip. That has helped when I sew at night. It puts the light directly on the bed of the sewing machine.

Miss Jean

Thank you for posting about this! I think this is a problem we can all relate to. I am checking back to see the answers and have already contacted a couple gals with questions.

Hugs to Gramps! My grandfather finally had to be put in a home after he was 100+ or so. The Coca Cola delivery man asked him what he attributed his long life to. He said he drank a coke every day. So Coke brought him a lifetime's worth of coke and threw him a big party. Of course he never drank a coke in his life!!!! He lived to one month shy of is 104th!

Pam O

Agree the Ecolux lighting strip plus I use a slimline daytime lamp in front of the machine. It clips onto the right side of the table. Order from a reputable dealer. Amazon ships it as is in the package so the skinny bulb arrives broken.
I know that Nancy's Notions sells them as do places like Dick Blick.

Glad grandpa is adjusting. Difficult time of life for all concerned.


So pleased Grandpa is showing signs of settling in. I didn't leave a comment as my MIL spent four years or so in a Nursing Home and just pined those years away until one morning she didn't wake up. Oh, the heart wrenching the family went through in those years was terrible but with no control of bladder and bowel we were unable to care for her at home.

As for lighting, I use a large Daylight floor standing lamp on wheels. It is pricey, at least in Australia, around $400. but it is elegant and I can position the stand and glass shade to where I need light. Being on wheels and elegant means it is also at home in our formal living room when hand sewing. One day I will also buy the ecoluxlighting system but they are more expensive here than in America just like quilting fabric is.

Grandpa's quilt is lovely. Is it Kansas Troubles fabric?

Debbie R.

My current sewing area has horrible light, so I'm reading the suggestions with interest.
Yes, the more homey and personal touches that are added to his room, the happier Grandpa will be in his new digs. The quilt adds a lot!

Robyn from the country

I use a daylight globe in the ceiling light and it makes such a difference - just purchase from your local lighting shop

Nancy in Utah

Hi Nicole, I know what you mean about poor lighting! My eyes have suffered damage from Retinal bleeds and good lighting is essential to my vision for any task, especially sewing. I can't offer any suggestions further than what you have tried. I just wanted to tell you I four OTT floor standing with adjustable neck, 3 table, two of which have adjustable necks on them and that is what solved my problem. I position them differently for different tasks. Also, my Janome Horizon has better lighting than any machine I have used. It has a 15" throat and a 3" light along the inner length of the neck, and two around the needle, one on either side and they are quite bright. But in spite of that, I still require the extra lighting and the OTT Lights are the best I have found for my needs. Hope you can get it arranged so that you have the lighting you need. Hugs...


Oh, I am so happy to hear that Grandpa is starting to settle into his new home. Such an emotional rollercoaster for everyone! I have the 6-light Ecolux LED lighting strip undermounted)and found it made a huge difference in what I see, day and night. You mentioned the light fixture in the ceiling has low wattage. Can the wattage be increased? I have a ceiling fan in my sewing room fitted with 4 40-watt bulbs. I couldn't believe how much better the light was when I switched them to the CFL bulbs. Also 40-watt but somehow so much brighter.

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