Candle flicker LEDs are an easy way to add movement to your lights, without a microcontroller.
Wire the flickering LED in parallel with non-flicker LEDs and they will alternate flickering. Make sure the different LEDs have similar forward voltages, otherwise some might not light up at all.
Slow-Fade RGB LEDs offer another easy trick, cycling through a rainbow of colors. It looks very cool set off by single color LEDs. If you limit the current enough with a high resistor, some of the LEDs will go dim at different points in the cycle.
With the above circuit, I slipped a piece of resistive velostat under the battery contact, as a dimmer. Without it, all 3 LEDs remain on, continuously.
Aushra knits on the Passap
2015 was the year of the Donated Double Bed: two Passap Duomatics and a Superba S48. I had no experience with either brand, so it's taken awhile to get one working and online. There was cleaning and repair (tag-teamed with Dan, Erica, and Will), designing and building a worktable (thank you, Shae!), followed by the scavenger hunt for missing parts (props, Katrin and Richard!).
But I'm pleased to report it's finally happening! At a recent "Knitting Machine Office Hours" at Pumping Station: One, we tested settings that work with the Passap using fingering weight Tamm 3-ply Astracryl yarn. And we figured out how to knit from cones (no cake winding required)! Read on for a complete step-by-step.
- holes between colors
- uneven felting due to pattern and color
- felting technique
The designs pictured are "single motif": the pattern does not repeat and the contrast yarn stitches are wider than 5 stitches in a row. This results in long "floats" of yarn on the back side. Normally you'd "wrap" the edge needles while you knit to avoid big gaps caused by the edge stitches "laddering." Instructions for this are often included in machine manuals under "how to knit single motif".
I crafted this small circuit from bus wire, solder, SMD LEDs, resistors, transistor, and an ATTiny45 IC.
I programmed the Arduino to create the flicker effect and fade out, and used shellac to isolate the bus wire where necessary.
Lighting and photographing LEDs (esp surface mount!) is a challenge. Some notes for next time:
I've been working on a method to machine knit with copper wire, for creating eTextiles.
- wire needs to come off the spool with zero drag
- 30-36 AWG magnet wire is super thin and breaks easily, also tangles
- magnet wire spools are heavy, which means inertia and momentum if the spool spins, which will snap or tangle the wire.
- it's got to be cheap
the solution (so far):
- place the spool on the floor in front of the machine
- mount a wisker disk on the top of the spool
- place a guide hoop above the spool for the wire to pass through
- attach a light-weight rope thimble to the tension mast, to minimize bending of the wire
things to improve:
a better stand
experiment with larger rope thimbles (maybe 3D print?)
I based this design on industrial coil winding methods. For instance:
This research has been a part of my Public Engagement Maker Residency at UIC/Mana Contemporary, working with Professor Sabrina Raaf. Also, props to Ed Bennett, for pointing out the tension mast wire-bending issue.
I recently found a Brother KA-8310 linker for $35 on eBay ("working condition"!). I hear these things break more than work, but for the price, I figured, why not? The linker arrived, in clean condition, with original packaging and manual. I knitted up a test swatch, followed the instructions and.... sure enough, it didn't work. Parts moved when I turned the crank, but it did not advance on the bed of my Brother 940.
Then I realized my mistake. I hadn't let Dan tinker with it first.
So, I brought it home, set the box in front of him, and said, "Wanna fix this?" He picked up a screwdriver and I grabbed my camera. (Thus began another romantic evening at home...)