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Category Archives: eTextiles

Recently took a great class from yarn artist and author, Donna Druchunas. She might have the best-named knitting blog ever – Sheep to Shawl.

The class was on Lithuanian beaded wrist warmers, also called Riesines.

Donna is a very enthusiastic teacher, and she’s done her homework and research in Lithuanian yarn shops and art galleries. She brought along her collection of riesines she’s collected through the years, along with a great slide show of the wrist warmers in action in everyday life in Lithuania.

Students in the class ranged in age from 16 to, oh, 65 and we bonded over yarn, beads, tiny needles, and a love of all things Joss Whedon. Donna’s one of those remarkable people who speaks and translates multiple languages and acts like that is nothing at all. Perhaps she is secretly European?

Having spent the past week knitting one wrist warmer, not even a pair, I’m beginning to see why they sell for upwards of $40-80 a pair on ETSY. I’m also thinking that, like socks, it will be best to start on the second one right after finishing the first. Wait too long and the desire for a pair of these will fade.

Riesines - Wrist Warmers

Yep, size 0 needles

I ended up dumping my original alpaca lace-weight yarn and switched to 100% bamboo crochet yarn from JoAnns. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that these are being knit on size 0 needles. Size 0. And Donna makes some on 00 and 000. Yikes.

You can use sock yarn for these, but that isn’t as fine a weight as the original Lithuanian ones. I remember seeing some smaller-than-sock wool yarn at Colorful Yarns, so I might have to plan a trip down there soon. You can see more of these by doing an image search on google. (Click at your own risk).

The idea behind taking this class was:
1) see my friend NekoMade
2) learn something new-to-me in knitting
3) incorporate objects into knitting

My original plan was to incorporate the LED sequins from AnioMagic.

Now I’m thinking it is a better idea to sew those on separately, just in case something goes wrong with the electronics. You can remove a sewn-on LED fairly easily, but if you’ve incorporated it into/onto the yarn itself, you’d have to destroy the knitted object to remove a faulty sequin. Or destroy the expensive LED in the removal process.

Plan. Plan. Plan. Design. Design. Design. And Think. Things I’ll have to do as I work my way into eTextiles.

“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

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Gobsmacked

That pretty much has to be the word of the week, month, year. I spent most of the weekend at a workshop on eTextiles sponsored by SparkFun and PlugAndWear

The brains behind the thing were Lynne Bruning and
Troy Nachtigall amongst others.

AnioMagic also stopped by to give a demo of their program-on-demand LED lights.

We all received a SparkFun LilyPadPro starter kit as part of registration. If you look at the photo you can see how small this is. A little electronic board, 2 inches across, which (when wired up and programmed properly) enables you to do amazing electronic things with and to textile objects.

LilyPadPro Kit

LilyPadPro to blink and bling

I wasn’t able to stay for the Make and Play session (had to go to work), but I’ve been gathering supplies. In fact, have already spent money today at ARC (things to bling), RadioShack (things that blink), and Resource (cheap wire to help make things blink and bling).

Put my five skeins of 100% bamboo yarn in one place. I’ve been hunting for 100% bamboo yarn online, since bamboo is recommended for eTextiles (along with linen it wicks away water from sensitive electronics). Good luck with finding any of that yourselves, since most of the 100% bamboo knitting yarn seems to have been discontinued. If you find it, I suggest snagging it asap, even if you aren’t crazy about the color.

Next stop, Weavolution eTextiles group. Okay, and the used book store to find an old book on C+ programming.

Current DVD: Warehouse 13 Season One

Current Book: Nargun and the Stars by Patricia Wrightson. From Philip Reeve’s list of favorite books.

“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success… Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.” – Nikola Tesla