Today, a tip for those who use magnifiers (or might use one some day!) for embroidery and other needlework.
I don’t always use a magnifier, but I have a couple stand magnifier and light combo units that I really like – this one that I reviewed here is working out to be my favorite, because of the strength and clarity of the lens and the easy rotation and placement of the lens.
Now, I’ve always had the idea that every useful thing in my work space would also be beautiful, either embellished in some way with embroidery or beautiful in some other regard – like beautifully made wooden tools or beautifully wrought scissors or what-have-you. In reality, I have to admit, I have many purely functional things that can’t really slide into the Decorative or Beautiful categories. I mean, a screwdriver? A table clamp? A roller for packaging tape? An external hard drive? You get the idea.
Once upon a time, I had the idea I’d hand-make and embroider the thing I’m going to show you today. And some day, I might. Instead, I recently took a purely functional piece of packaging and recycled it for this use. It works well!
Not very pretty, is it? It kind of cracks me up!
This is The Thing: If you own a magnifier that doesn’t have, already attached to it, a lid to cover the lens, you need to concoct some kind of covering for the magnifier’s lens.
Two Good Reasons for Covering Your Magnifier
There are two excellent reasons for covering your magnifier when it isn’t in use:
1. A cover will protect your magnifier’s lens from dust, grit, and possible scratches; but – and much more importantly –
2. A cover will keep your lens from refracting light into a concentrated point and potentially starting a fire.
The larger the magnifier, the stronger the magnification, the more convex the lens, and the hotter the sun, the higher the potential for starting a fire if your lens is left exposed in sunlight.
So it is really important to have a cover on your magnifier, if you leave your magnifier set up where sunlight can pass through the lens.
I leave my magnifier by my stitching chair, which happens to be right in front of a large window.
And although I’ve toyed with the notion of making a custom drawstring cover with a bit of embellishment on it, I’ve not gotten around to doing so. In the past, I’ve always draped a large flour sack towel over the head of my magnifier and tucked the towel into a rubber band around the neck to keep it from accidentally slipping.
But I was unpacking a new set of sheets the other day, and I was momentarily captivated by the little sack that the sheets came packaged in. The sack, which is rectangular and closes with velcro, is made out of the same cotton the sheets are made from.
I contemplated the sack and thought, “Gosh, I could use this for Something.” But I really dislike collecting Stuff that I could Someday use for Something! And I was just thinking I would use it as a rag, when it struck me that it would fit really well over the head of my magnifier.
And so I slipped it on.
I marveled at the way it looked like a loose, baggy baby diaper hanging from the head of my magnifier!
Admittedly, I hesitated a bit when I realized that it is clearly visible (and rather weird looking) from outside my window.
But … it’s so very functional. And it’s easy to slide on and off. And I don’t have to do any tucking of towels into rubber bands.
In fact, I like it.
If you happen to have these types of sheet sacks lying around, and you happen to have a magnifier without a cover, you might consider adopting the sheet sack for your cover.
If you don’t have a sheet sack, but you do have a magnifier without a cover, I encourage you to concoct a cover of some sort. Especially with summer close by and the sun getting more direct and a lot hotter, don’t leave your magnifier up and in range of sunlight!
Want to Make Your Own?
A simple drawstring sack makes a great cover for a magnifier head. There are several good tutorials online for how to sew up a simple drawstring bag. You’d just have to adjust the bag size on any of the tutorials to make a bag large enough to fit your magnifier. Trace the head of your magnifier and give it a good four inches all around, and you should have ample room for a cover.
And if you want a video tutorial, this video tutorial for a simple drawstring bag from Made Everyday is excellent, too.
When you’re making a drawstring cover for your magnifier, you don’t need to box the corners of the drawstring bags, as shown in the tutorials.
You can always make your drawstring cover out of a cute cotton fabric (you don’t need any special fabric – anything will do), or you could make it out of something suitable to stitch on, and grab one of my free hand embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread to embellish it.
This particular Dancing Daisy Garden design – very simple in concept and perfect for beginners and beyond who want something very basic – is from a children’s class ages ago. We used it specifically for embellishing a drawstring bag. It would be cute and not hard to stitch!