DIY: Gesture Controlled Star Wars Stockings

Earlier this month I found some adorable Star Wars Christmas stockings at Target and decided to augment them with some electronics to make them more interactive.

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The Star Wars stockings hang by the chimney (of course!)
To activate them you must use the Force!

These augmented Christmas stockings play sound effects when you move your hands in front of them. Each recognizes four gestures - up, down, left, and right. Created with a LilyPad MP3 player, APDS-9960 gesture sensor, and NeoPixels connected with conductive thread so the circuit is embedded directly in the stocking. Programmed in Arduino.

This has turned out to be one of my favorite interactive fabric projects so far! Here are a few photos from my build, scroll down for a link to a full tutorial I've published on Instructables if you want to try building your own.

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DIY: Three Easy Glowing Christmas Stockings

This weekend I crafted up a storm decorating my house with some glowing Christmas stockings. I saw these stockings as I was wandering through the Christmas aisles of Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and immediately had some tech in mind to add to the designs. Here's a showcase of a few different ways to add some electronic sparkle and shine to your stockings with without any soldering! Read on for some progress shots and links to the full tutorials on Instructables.

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Fairy Lights Stocking

The first stocking I created was super easy, using a string of fairy lights to trace a reindeer silhouette. Using invisible/clear thread to attach the string lights made it look like the stocking was purchased that way! The battery pack is hidden on the back of the stocking and kept in place with a little velcro. 

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 Stitching the string of lights around the edge of the design.

Stitching the string of lights around the edge of the design.

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EL Wire Stocking

The second stocking I built uses chasing EL wire, which is a fun EL wire that turns on and off strands within the casing to create an animated effect. I placed the EL wire along the lovely waves/curves of the embroidery. It was a little trickier than the fairy lights design, as I wanted to hide pieces of the wire so the one strand looked like multiple strands. Cutting holes in the stocking to thread the EL in and out of the lining worked great. I'm really happy with how this one turned out.

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 Pinning all the EL wire before stitching onto the fabric.

Pinning all the EL wire before stitching onto the fabric.

 Threading the EL wire through the lining to hide sections of it.

Threading the EL wire through the lining to hide sections of it.

LilyTiny Sparkling Stocking

The last of the three involved a little more construction and time, but it is my favorite. This stocking has sewable electronics embedded directly onto the lining of the stocking using LilyPad pieces and conductive thread. I used a LilyPad LilyTiny, which comes with pre-set modes that will display on the LEDs hooked up to it. The beaded sequin design of this stocking was perfect for some white LEDs to shine and twinkle through.

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 Fritzing diagram for the hardware hookup.

Fritzing diagram for the hardware hookup.

 Prototyping with LilyPad pieces before sewing into the projects. Alligator clips are a great way to quickly test your connections before committing to stitching.

Prototyping with LilyPad pieces before sewing into the projects. Alligator clips are a great way to quickly test your connections before committing to stitching.

 Conductive thread connections.

Conductive thread connections.

Sparkling stocking with LilyPad LilyTiny and LEDs.

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Celebrating 10 Years of Innovation in Education With LilyPad Sewable Electronics

I wrote up an overview of the history of updates and developments in the LilyPad sewable electronics line since its launch in 2007. Many of these updates I watched happen and appreciated before joining the SparkFun team in 2013, and some I was an active part of developing and creating. It's been an amazing evolution!

  An instructor at  iD Tech's Alexa Cafe  collaborates with a student prototyping with LilyPad sewable electronics. Photo via  SparkFun on Flickr

An instructor at iD Tech's Alexa Cafe collaborates with a student prototyping with LilyPad sewable electronics. Photo via SparkFun on Flickr

Read the full post on the SparkFun Education blog.

Welcome to GellaCraft!

Today was the official launch of the site, which is a combination of a few of my project efforts. I've migrated my blog posts from Soft Circuit Saturdays and my personal blog onto the site and added my workshop calendar to a central hub for all of my electronic (and non-electronic) craft and costume pursuits. Check out the Showcase section for my completed projects by category, browse my Tutorials and How-Tos, or see what my latest project is on the home page.

For snippets of works-in-progress, follow me on Instagram.

 

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E-Textiles Webinar for SparkFun

Today I hosted Intro to Sewable Circuits: Teaching Electronics Through Arts and Crafts, a webinar for SparkFun Education. Joining me for the broadcast was Melissa Felderman (Feldi) one of SparkFun's creative technologists who also works quite closely with wearables, soft circuits, and craft tech for her projects. View the recorded webinar below:

Inspire students to explore prototyping with electronics through combining craft and technology. Join Angela Sheehan and Melissa Felderman in an examination of alternative ways to teach introductory electronics and programming using LilyPad sewable electronics. Now through 11/10, get 20% off LilyPad products with code SEPT19WEBINAR

View the rest of the SparkFun Education series Maker Education in the Classroom.

Desk of an Engineer: the Angela Edition

Over at SparkFun, they have a series called Desk of an Engineer where they surprise an unsuspecting engineer with an interview about their workspace. In honor of the LilyPad 10 year anniversary I was the featured guest. Though I am not technically an engineer, I work very closely with engineering through my role in product development. Go check out the full post and pictures of my unique office space over on the SparkFun blog.

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Presenting at SXSW 2018

 

My colleague Melissa Felderman and I were chosen as speakers for the 2018 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. We will be cohosting a session on wearable electronics.

Design x Tech: DIY Wearable Electronics

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Join a discussion around sewable, soft, and wearable electronics for the hobby and handmade level. Learn about tools and products designers need to develop handcrafted wearable electronic projects. Engage in Q&A with experts in hobby level electronic product development and project creation. Discuss the challenges facing soft electronics, how to work around them, and how working with these materials taught them lessons in design thinking. Bring projects and ideas to share and discuss!

Date and time for the workshop TBD, stay tuned with future updates as SXSW releases more session details and programming.