Last month, (coinciding with the shortest and darkest day of the year), I attempted to knit with black yarn. That yarn is not the yarn you see in the photo below. The reason that you don't see it in the photo below is that the black yarn was sent to Time Out, until such time as I could find a light to work by. Instead, I switched to the green yarn project, which, as you can see, is worked at a much more fatass robust gauge. You'll also notice that the light I pressed into service is a poor excuse, at best. It's a $3 clip lamp I use for taking photos; not intended for the kind of workout I was giving it (and my eyes) as a work light. It kept losing its feeble grip on the back of the chair and falling on the floor. And it got hot. Ridiculously, distractingly, dangerously(?) hot. I concluded that Something Must Be Done. Knitting is my job, after all, and my eyes have been through a lot this year. And sometimes the yarn is just going to be black, so that's that.
This was a big decision for me, in that, A: I have never paid more than $19.99 for a light-throwing device in my life, and B: Doing so would be an admission that I am now an old lady who can't see well enough to knit beyond dusk.
It comes in a nice, condensed box. The UPS man actually groaned when he brought it up the front steps to my door. The base makes the box heavier than you might expect for its size. The packaging was very protective and everything arrived in pristine condition. I do wish there were a way to achieve this without the use of styrofoam, though.
The lamp requires some minimal assembly steps. You screw the post together at the threaded junctures, for which the instructions were very clear.
Here's the fancy-pants full-spectrum bulb. Replacements are a little exotic, as in, you can't dash out to the store for a new one. They have to be ordered. However, the manufacturer states that the bulb will burn for 10,000 hours, so hopefully it won't be an issue any time soon. Interestingly, the $9.99 bulb is the same model used in the Verilux "Happy Light", which is recommended for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Here is the view from under the lamp. The diffuser shield is attached with screws (tiny screwdriver included - how thoughtful!), reinforcing the idea that it won't have to be removed very often for bulb changes. The shape and shield throw a pool of light which is focused just on my work, allowing me to keep knitting, even when my family want to watch TV with no other lights on. Peace at last in the living room. Who knew?
And here you can see the lamp in its natural habitat. I was worried that the angle of the arm would cause the lamp to take up a lot of space in this tiny room, but its huge range of adjustment allows it to snuggle up nicely to the furniture. I can easily adjust the direction and position of the light, even while I'm seated in front of it. I especially like the largish, knurled on/off switch. It's easy to find without looking, and engages the light with a decisive snap. The bulb fires up immediately, unlike some florescents, which take a while to "warm up". It's totally silent in operation, and casts a clear, bright light with no flicker or pulse. I would describe the light as "blue-ish", compared to that of an incandescent, but not the creepy, industrial pallor of some florescents. Colors seem very true under it, and stitches easy to read, (even black ones!) without my glasses. It's bright, without being too bright; the glare filter lives nicely up to its name. Best of all, the lamp stays completely cool to the touch, even after an entire winter workday of use.
I'm giving this product a hearty recommendation, for any of you who may be cursing the darkness like I was. Since it's January, and Selfish Knitting Month, I hereby authorize you to go crazy and get one of these to let yourself see better. Having some gear that helps you knit better and enjoy it more does not make you old. Sitting in the dark does.