This is the year I've decided to make a serious effort to improve my free motion quilting skills, and I thought I'd show you two products that I'm finding really helpful.
First is an Ecolux LED light strip. Some of my quilting friends have been using these for a while now to boost their machine's lighting, but I needed time to justify the outlay to my inner Scrooge.
You could never call me an early adopter LOL.
I finally bought my 6 light strip from Sewing Buddies at last month's Sydney Quilt Show, and I love it.
Look at the difference it's made to my Bernina 1230!
On the left you can see light provided by the Bernina's own built-in lighting, and on the right the difference this little strip of lights makes, installed under the throat of the machine, a nice white light shining vertically on my work.
But wait, there's more!
For those times when I need to shed even more light on the situation I have this nifty little LED folding lamp, another great purchase from last month's Sydney Quilt Show.
In the pic below, the third view is how my workspace looks with all three light sources applied. I love how, with this neat little USB rechargeable LED lamp strategically positioned I have virtually no shadows cast on my work, which has got to be a plus.
It's cordless and folds into a really flat little unit for taking to classes or stitch-and-sew sessions.
Ah, wouldn't it be wonderful if the small matter of lighting my work area was all that stood between quilting mediocrity and quilting excellence? Ha!
Or if I could just harness the light from the afternoon sun that beams a little too brightly into my apartment at this time of the year.
Its rays shine right through the length of my apartment, hitting the back wall of my kitchen, and for a few weeks in late winter it's potentially quite damaging to my furniture coverings and carpet. Besides, nobody wants to wear sunglasses to use the kitchen.
Possible solution #1
Draw the vertical blinds and angle them so I can still see the view.
This helps a little, but all those vertical shadows make me feel like I'm in gaol.
Possible solution #2
Completely close the vertical blinds.
No sun, but now my kitchen is plunged into a Stygian gloom and I have to turn the lights on at 3 in the afternoon.
Fortunately I've finally found a solution that works.
When I moved here I bought a nifty half umbrella, perfect for my balcony. It's just like a proper market umbrella, but with one flat side so that it takes up less room.
Recently I picked up 2 meters of shade cloth from Bunnings in the same sand colour as the umbrella, and hemmed the long sides.
Then I sewed Velcro tape to the flat side of the umbrella and to the shade cloth. Now I can have my doors open for fresh air, but my furniture is shielded from the worst of the damaging rays during those couple of hours each afternoon when the sun is low, and the shade shield is removable.
Two light solutions that are working for me!