Archive for the ‘Crafty’ Category
So in the middle of March I was panicking about whether I would get everything ready in time for Maker Faire UK. Like last year Maker Faire UK was held at the Life Science’s Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne as part of the Science Week there. Unlike last year, this year I had been accepted as an exhibitor and was going to display a variety of projects, so I took the Friday as vacation for final preparation and I needed it. (more…)
I am delighted to announce that I have been selected to exhibit at Newcastle Maker Faire. The theme of my display will be crafty geekery.
I am intending to take along items which are a mix of traditional crafts such as knitting and jewellery making combined with tech. For example programmable earrings, a temperature sensing hat and a bag that has a proximity detector and RFID tag so it can detect its owner.
I am also going to show off a couple of my other projects like an ethernet adapter for a BBC microcomputer and a “Mood Wall” (It analyses twitter tweets for the mood of the content displaying patterns and colours which reflect the prevailing mood).
Hopefully I will see you there!
A short while ago I went down with the ‘flu’. Usually in these cases the best thing for me to do is rest and sleep. But eventually I get bored so I have to find something to do. So this time I sat in a recliner, watching a movie, whilst teaching myself to Purl. I wanted a project I could finish in an evening to use my new found skill so I modified the “Cricket’s Cell Phone Cozy” design and learnt to do stockinette stitch and add and remove stitches in rows. Below is the result.
It has a couple of things I could improve on. I put the cutout for the headphone cable on the wrong side and you have to take it out to charge. The next one will have a button hole type slot in the bottom for the charging cable.
Knowing Purl has meant I can do ribbing so I’ve started knitting a ribbed scarf out of some great multicolour yarn.
I finished my first knitting project in a long long while. Its a simple knit scarf of 24 knit stitches per row in Rico Design “Roxy” yarn (73% acrylic/27% new wool – 50gm/60m – Colour violet 007). It took four balls to get a decent length using 8mm needles.
Finishing it off turned out to be problematic. I didn’t realise how much yarn I would need to bind off and ran out half way through. This meant I had to undo the bind off which wasn’t easy and I dropped at least one stitch doing it. I then had to unknit a few rows to give me the length needed and to be able to correct the dropped stitch. Whilst doing this the yarn broke. I ended up having to lay the piece flat, take it off the needle, pull off several rows and then carefully rethread the needle. I succeeded though and here it is.
Knitting was once a necessity if you were anything other than very rich. My grandmothers’ generation all could knit. My mother can knit but many of her contemporaries do not. Knitting when out of favour especially amongst feminists who saw it as “women’s work” (even though there is a rich history of male knitters) and everything they were trying to fight. But a new generation of feminists have emerged, many of them geeky women, and they are reclaiming knitting. These third wave feminist knitters think that rejecting the craft devalues the work of past women and rather than rejecting it we should reject the opinion that knitting is in any way a second class activity.
When I was very young my mother taught me to knit. I knitted a small red stuffed bear which my mother probably has stored away somewhere. I haven’t really knitted since then, until now.
A couple of months ago I decided to give it another try so I ordered both Stitch’n’Bitch and The Happy Hooker from Amazon. These books, by the same author Debbie Stoller, are partly teach-you-self books and partly pattern books for knitting and crochet respectively. The approach the crafts in a fun way working through from the basics to advanced techniques with instructions and diagrams. The second halves of the books comprise funky patterns, such as hoodies, alien scarves, fingerless gloves and so on. These patterns are devised by young knitters and crocheters, by a new generation for the new generation. They are an excellent buy and thoroughly recommended.
My current project is a beginners scarf. Knitting is like cycling you never really forget how to do it and its amazing how quickly you pick it back up again. I find knitting relaxing and carry wool and needles everywhere. I am learning slowly but it is now something I will stick with. I’ve already had a request for a scarf from my sister and with Christmas two months away there are bound to be a couple of gifts I could make for people. I haven’t really tried crocheting yet so that’s my next challenge.
Last Sunday I woke early so I started on a project I’ve had in mind for a while but not gotten around to doing. I built a power supply module that plugs in to a breadboard. There are a few kits for these kind of things around from Adafruit and others but I had slightly different requirements.
Well I have a name for my project of getting ethernet on to my BBC Microcomputer. Its now called Beebthernet. After some prototyping on copper strip-board and testing I revised the schematic for the interface.
In March I went to the first Makerfaire in the UK. The Newcastle-upon-Tyne Makerfaire was part of Newcastle Sciencefest. Its not that far from where I live so I drove up there for the day.
There were lots of kewl stuff as you’d expect. I particularly liked the electro-mechanical fire breathing horse robot. Amusingly I met one of the Microsoft guys who’d demonstrated the Microsoft interactive table at PHP London. He was there with his cheap, home brew, version of the table which used back projection of the image and a camera to detect the finger position. The guy with the UK101s who I’d met at Techadventure was also there.
Naturally there was an O’Reilly stand as they are publishers of both Make and Craft magazines. They had a pile of kits from Adafruit including the boArduino. This is an Arduino clone designed to plug in to a breadboard. There are two versions. One with a USB to Serial adapter on board and one which has a power supply onboard but requires TTL level serial which can be easily supplied by an FTDI lead. I bought one of the latter.
The kit languished on the shelves at my computer workstation until about a month ago when I decided to solder it together and play with it. Its a through hole double sided board which is relatively packed and so requires some experience of soldering. Apart from stupidly soldering in a LED the wrong way around and then having to desolder it and obtain a new one I had no problems. It worked first time! Limor aka Ladyada, who designed it and runs Adafruit makes good stuff.
I videoed it using my G1 phone (hence the poor quality due to low light). I have the Arduino IDE running on my MacBook. The FDTI lead is based around a common part with easily obtainable drivers for Windows, OS X and Linux.