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Review: Brightech Magnifying Lamp

Brightech Lamp Review by Angela Bowman

Do you ever struggle to see small things clearly while doing detailed work? Do you need to brighten up your workspace a bit? I have found a solution for you! Plus, I’ll show you a hack for shooting overhead video.

When the folks at Brightech asked if they could send me a lamp of my choice if I write about my experience, I just wasn’t sure. I’d never heard of them before. I assumed the lamps would be too spendy, and I wouldn’t want to recommend overpriced items that I wouldn’t buy myself. I went to their website and was pleasantly surprised with their reasonable prices. Then I wondered about quality, but quickly found awesome reviews on Amazon. And not just a few good reviews here and there, but thousands of excellent reviews.

I went back to brightechshop.com and clicked on a couple of their lamp categories. I considered the modern-looking Sparq Arc floor lamp that would make a nice upgrade to my living room, but I opted for the Lightview XL Rolling Base Magnifying Lamp because… sewing.

My experience
The lamp arrived in just a few days, was packed very well, and was really simple and quick to assemble. I moved the head of the lamp towards me, noticing how smoothly the arm extends to whatever position I prefer, and it holds that position nicely. I twisted the knob to adjust the angle of the lamp head, and was impressed with the range of possible angles. The lamp has a high-quality feel, which is a welcome change from the cheap and plastic-y lamps I’ve bought from large craft retail stores in the past.

The first thing I put under the magnifier? My hands. And I quickly noticed how I could use a manicure! I turned on the light switch and clicked the arrows to decrease and increase the brightness. Very nice. The LED lights give a very crisp, bright, white light – which I love. While designing and sewing, I need to see fabric and thread in their true-to-life color, and this lamp is perfect for that.

I love that it’s on wheels, allowing me to use it where I want, whether it’s at a table or in my comfy living room chair. The base of lamp is heavy, too, which gives great support and weight balance.

Brightech Lamp Review by Angela Bowman

Brightech Lamp Review by Angela Bowman

What’s also cool is that I can choose to use just the magnifier, the magnifier plus the lamp light, or the lamp light only. I like having options. So far I’ve used it as an overhead light at my sewing machine, lighting & magnifying the tiny invisible stitches I like to make while hand-sewing quilt binding, and magnifying needle-threading, a manicure, and removing a sliver from my finger (those dang rosebushes).

And… I’ve used it for shooting overhead video. Yes, video! Here’s the hack: use the lamp head as a base for your smartphone! Open up the lens cover, place a folded paper towel on the lens to protect it, then place your phone with the camera side down so that it extends off the side to give a shot of whatever you want to capture. That’s what I did for every clip of this fun video I made with my iPhone 7 Plus.

Brightech Lamp Review by Angela Bowman

Who it’s for
This lamp is for people who need to illuminate what they’re working on and to see things close-up. It’s for people who make, build, inspect, or fix things. It’s great for people who don’t enjoy hobbies like they used to, since they can’t see as well as they used to. One of the reasons I don’t cross-stitch much anymore is because it involves a lot of tiny things that are hard for me to see: threading the needle, looking at the design chart, and seeing all those tiny holes in the Aida cloth. With this magnifying lamp, I’m looking forward to cross-stitching again. Time to find a nice pattern to nestle in with for some cozy winter sewing!

Pricing and purchase
The current price of the LightView XL Rolling Base Magnifying Glass Lamp is $94.99 at brightechshop.com, and shipping to the U.S. is free since it’s over $50.

Pros and Cons
The pros? The best thing about the lamp is the adjustable arm and lamp head, making it so handy for many different scenarios with just a tiny bit of effort. But I also really love the beautiful bright white light, magnifying capability, sturdy wheeled-base, and that it helps me record video. The cons? Maybe that the lamp is a bit awkward to wheel around. I hold onto the pole base to move it, requiring me to hunch over a little and walk with scooting steps alongside the lamp. But really, it’s not enough of a pain for me to not want to have this lamp.

Alternative options
Of course there are other lamps in the market that can illuminate and magnify. But most of them take up too much space on the work surface, can’t be moved around, don’t have the same adjustments for brightness or lamp direction, don’t have as large or powerful magnifying lens, or don’t have a flat lamp head that I can place my phone on.

My final opinion
The lamp’s quality, mobility, and multi-purpose use make it worth buying, in my opinion. And honestly, the price is fair.

If you’d like to get one for yourself or as a gift (I may give one to my Mom for her crocheting and reading at her recliner!), find it here: Brightech LightView XL Rolling Base Magnifying Glass Lamp. Note: when you buy something using the links in this review post, I’ll earn a small affiliate commission. But please know, affiliate sales is NOT what I’m all about – quilt-making is. And this tool is great for helping me make and share my love of sewing.

Patriot Quilt

Patriot Quilt by Angela Bowman

“Patriot” quilt, 59″ x 59″, made in October 2018.

My husband has many different sides. This is his patriotic side. I see a strong United States Navy veteran who navigated the ocean aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. I am thankful for his service.

I started with his recruit portrait.

I scanned it, cropped it, applied digital effects, put it in a grid, and translated for sewing by drawing straight lines. I made foundation paper piecing templates and gave myself the constraint of using only solid fabrics. I used Kona Cotton exclusively.

Here’s a video of my translation process, using the Procreate iPad app:

 

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Doing some #foundationpaperpiecing sewing translation in #procreate #patriotquilt

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When I foundation-paper-piece, it’s usually a creative frenzy that I cannot stop, and this was no exception.

I love the warm colors in this piece. I mean, look at that cheek. I almost smooched it.

Lots of big paper rows to join. Unwieldy, but worth it.

Nice backside, babe.

Now to choose quilting. I went for wavy lines. He served on an aircraft carrier, after all. Again, here’s a video via the Procreate app – it’s so helpful to audition quilting design.

 

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Back to this hunk. Trying to figure out the quilting stitches. #patriotquilt

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I applied a facing (instead of binding) for the first time. I couldn’t bear to put a border on his face.

Here’s the back in Kona Cotton Pepper. The quilting thread is Aurifil Dove in 40wt cotton.

One of my favorite parts of this piece: that jawline shadow.

Modern Patchwork Home

Modern Patchwork Home book

What an honor to be one of the contributors of Modern Patchwork Home! Curated from the pages of Modern Patchwork Magazine, this beautiful book includes 24 projects to make, all of them modern and most of them beginner-friendly.  To get your copy, find it here: Modern Patchwork Home (affiliate link).

Feel free to turn to page 63, where you’ll find my MAKE mini quilt. Wouldn’t this be perfect for your sewing room? To learn more, read my MAKE Mini Quilt in Modern Patchwork Magazine post, where I share my making process.

Vader Quilt, Upsized

Ever since I made the mini Vader Quilt, I’ve wanted to make an upsized version. Well, I did it, and it’s for meeeeee. It measures 60″ x 60″. I enlarged the foundation paper piecing templates and had them printed on 36″ wide paper at a local printer. Worked like a charm.

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

I used five fabrics from Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton line: Iron, Coal, Gotham Grey, Pepper, and Black. They all happen to be in my Greyscale 11 Bundle from Sewfinity, so I have plenty on hand.

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

Each block is 12.5″ square, and here’s the design wall progression:

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

Binder clips are pretty perfect for keeping the rows together for joining.

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

As I was removing the paper from the back, it was like I was one of the robo-doctors turning Anakin into Darth Vader.

Vader pulled through surgery. Minor complication in the lower frontal cranial apparatus. Grafted with Kona Black using FPP method. Next scheduled procedures: trim loose sutures and cauterize the posterior seams.  😀

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

FYI, I didn’t press ALL the seams to the dark side – only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

I backed it with Kona Coal and quilted it with a simple cross hatch grid using my Juki and Aurifil 40wt Black thread.

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

I applied Kona Black as binding. My binding assistant approves.

Vader Quilt by Angela Bowman

 

 

Idaho Mountain Block in Country Living Magazine

Country Living Quilt

Country Living magazine is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and they put together a collaborative quilt with 50 blocks—one made by a quilter in each state. When they asked me to make a block representing Idaho, I happily obliged. Find it on the second row, all the way to the right.

Mountain quilt block by Angela Bowman

Nothing says “Idaho” quite like a mountain. I was inspired by the work of Rick Murphy and translated his art into a mountain quilt block. To me, it represents Castle Peak in the White Cloud Mountains, one of my Dad’s favorite hunting spots. Who knew that half-square triangles make great mountain peaks? I used 3 Kona Cotton fabrics I got from Sewfinity: Breeze (light), Peacock (medium), and Indigo (dark).

Country Living Magazine - September 2018The quilt appears on page 72 in the September 2018 issue of Country Living magazine, and it will also be on display at Country Living Fairs and other events.

BB8 Quilt

Oh BB8, you cute little guy. I designed and made this for a BB8 collector as part of the 2018 May the 4th Mini Quilt Swap #MayThe4thMQS3. It measures 24″ x 24″. The designed started with a photo, applied some digital effects, put it in a grid, and then translated it into a foundation paper piecing (FPP) sewing pattern using all straight lines. Here’s the digital version:

Here’s my organized start:

Then as I sew, it turns into this:

Each block is just a little over 5 inches square.

Blocks done, now to sew them together.

Here’s what the back looks like when they’re all joined.

Then with the paper removed, before pressing.

A simple cross hatch quilting grid.

Binding. With my Quality Assurance Inspector 🙂

So many little pieces on this guy. If I ever make it again, I’ll simplify the design a bit. Before I started sewing, I was about to redesign him to be a bit more simple, when the unknowing recipient commented on Instagram “I would love to see it completed, even if it’s not for this swap.” That did me in. I caved. If a BB8 fan (who’s also making a quilt for someone else) doesn’t deserve him, who does?!

Sewfinity is Open!

Head on over to sewfinity.com to see what I’ve been working on. I’ve been curating fabric colors and bundles and it feels so good to release the first batch. There’s lots more coming, so check back often and be sure to follow us on Instagram @sewfinity. I’ve also been curating some really inspiring solid-friendly sewing over at @sewsolid – don’t miss out on those posts!

I love to sew as much as you do, and I’m doing my best to curate the best sewing supplies just for you.

Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

Book - Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

If you love art and if you love textiles (who doesn’t?), you need this book. It’s full of modern design inspiration, showcasing more than 200 quilts curated by the Modern Quilt Guild. Riane, Alissa, and Heather have done a fantastic job of gathering some awesome work into this book of eye candy. To get your copy, find it here: Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century (affiliate link). After looking through this book I bet you’ll think of quilts in a whole new way!

Feel free to linger on page 136, where you’ll find my self portrait quilt. Want to see how I made this quilt? Read my Self Portrait Behind the Pixels post, where I share quite a bit of my making process. (hint: I love to use tech!)

So what is the Modern Quilt Guild, anyway? It’s a community of over 12,000 quilters across six continents and 39 countries, whose mission is to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community. I’m a member of our local chapter, the Boise MQG, serving on the board as Vice President. My favorite part of being involved with the MQG is getting together each month with my sewing peeps – it feels so good to talk to people who love to sew as much as I do! Another highlight is attending QuiltCon each year – it’s the perfect motivation for me to get my design ideas out of my head and into textile form.

Some of the book contributors are hosting a blog tour for the book, and this is my stop. Check out Lysa Flower (yeah! fellow 80’s girl!) for the next post.

Sewfinity is Coming Soon

I’m planning an online sewing shop! It’s named Sewfinity. We wanted our logo to embody sewing and the infinity symbol. Simple, thick lines, and appealing to people who love to sew: young & old, male & female. Here’s what Kampfire Media came up with. We LOVE it.

Sewfinity will feature highly curated quality supplies, and we’re starting with the basics: solids. Keep your eye on sewfinity.com! Also, I’ve started a curated Instagram account that features sewing projects made with solid fabrics: Sew Solid. I’d love it if you’d follow both @sewsolid and @sewfinity!