Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ugly Christmas Sweater...getting close to finishing

So I have been working away at getting my Ugly Christmas Sweater project finished in time for the holidays (and in time for Generator's e-Textile social on the 18th).  It has proven to be a very fun and challenging project.  I finished up the code on Thursday night (with the help of my talented brother) and was able to start sewing yesterday afternoon.  I had actually been invited to attend an Ugly Sweater party, so the race was on to get at least part of it working in three hours!
It took a lot of sketching to figure out where everything was going to go.

 I used a little tacky glue to adhere the different parts and a marker to sketch out my paths for stitching.

I'm not going to lie, it was very tricky to start and required a lot of thinking and problem solving.  Once I got the hang of it, I was able to work a little more quickly :)

Before the party, I was able to attach the board, two LEDs, the buzzer, and the motor!  If you remember from one of my earlier posts, my goal was to have alternating lights, play Jingle Bells, and have the motor actually jingle some bells.  Everything worked as it should, BUT the buzzer was way too quiet and the motor was not strong enough to jingle the bells.  I also did not have time to add the other eight LEDs before the party.

Today I was able to connect with some other makers at Generator and got some good feedback and suggestions for helping to solve the sound issue.  One woman suggested I tear a speaker out of one of those talking greeting cards and use that.  Jill also found that they sell them on the Sparkfun site.  I tried adding a larger buzzer that I picked up at Radio Shack.  While it proved to be louder, the tones were different.  The other idea I am playing with is making a fabric speaker.  I am just learning about it, but it involves constructing a spiral out of conductive material and using a magnet to amplify sound.  I only had a basic kitchen magnet to play with, but I think a strong magnet could really work. Can you hear the difference?

This evening I was able to add the eight additional lights.  Here is a little video of what I have so far.  I hope to fix the sound and motor issues in the next few days!


  1. WOW... You Rock, Leah! Can't wait to see the sweater, and to learn more about speakers. Never heard of a fabric speaker.

  2. Leah, my goodness! Your sweater is even more glorious with all of those flashing lights! I'm so IMPRESSED! You forgot to mention that your creation was an award winner at your party!