Thursday, July 11, 2013

Clip-on magnifiers and clip-on readers

I had an interesting morning yesterday trying out clip-on readers at my local optometrist. I have been using a pair of clip-on magnifiers and can see clearly to do fine embroidery with them. The problem was they don't fit my specs very well. They snap themselves off every now and then and have resulted in more than a few pricked fingers as suddenly without any warning they clatter down onto my embroidery!

Clip-on magnifiers
As a comparison I took along the clip-on magnifiers that I'd bought some time ago from Cape Watch. The only way to compare them was to take along my embroidery, sit down and try first the readers (+1), then my magnifiers (x2), then the readers (+1.5), then my magnifiers again, then the readers (+2.0) and so on.

To my surprise there was no comparison. My magnifiers worked better for me than the readers. I have been doing pulled work on 60-70 count fabric and I couldn't have done it without magnifiers. The magnifiers actually make the tiny threads and holes a bit bigger and I can see exactly where the needle has to go in.

I know several embroiderers who use readers quite successfully with their specs. Perhaps I am past the stage already where clip-on readers will improve the vision I have with my specs.

The optometrist acknowledged that they couldn't improve my vision with their readers and graciously made some adjustments to my magnifiers so that they don't flip themselves off my specs when I least expect it.

I asked about the difference between magnifiers and readers, but all I learned is that a "2x" magnifier does not relate in any way to a "+2" reader!? They are different. Perhaps it has to do with the magnifiers being situated a little distance from the spec lenses while readers fit right next to the lenses?

But then I don't really need to know the answer to this to do my embroidery, do I? All I can say is its important to try out various options and see what works best for you.


  1. Thanks for sharing! The clip-on magnifiers are just what I need - I wear multifocals but am still unable to see anything that is very fine. So I am off to Cape Watch next time I go into Cape Town.
    Sandi, Somerset West

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Oops! I somehow deleted my comment!

      So glad you found the post useful, Sandi! Mine work well with my multi-focals. I hope it works out well for you too. Just a note of caution: The magnifiers I have are 'inexpensive' and I had to exchange my first pair as the lenses wouldn't stay at the angle I wanted. This pair is fine.

    3. Thanks for the note of caution Lyn. I had a look at the catalogue of Cape Watch and they only seem to have one kind of clip on magnifiers. Is this the 'inexpensive' one and is there another supplier other than Cape Watch that you could perhaps recommend? Apologies for asking all these questions on your blog - I looked for your e-mail address but could not find one.
      Thanks, Sandi

    4. Hi Sandi.
      When I got my magnifiers, Cape Watch only had one type of clip-on, the inexpensive one. The lenses are really good, just make sure the rest is working the way you want it to. I don't know of any other suppliers where you can go and try out the different strengths. Good luck with your search.
      Sorry about not having an email contact address on the blog. I still have to figure out how to hide it there!

  2. Many thanks for this Lyn. The comparison is really interesting. I have had clip-on magnifiers for a while but only use them for fine counted thread work. I get out of the habit in between. Thank you for your comment on my blog - I have been using the clip-ons to great effect in the last day or two.

    1. Hi Jillian. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad that the clip-ons are working out so well for you. Its always nice to know that someone else out there is working on the same problem because we can learn so much from each other. I look forward to perhaps reading about your experiences on your blog.

  3. Hi Sandi. I have added a contact form at the bottom of my blog page if you wish to email me directly.