This week was my most challenging Maker Corps week so far. The “assignment” was to create something with eTextiles. eTextiles are doing something to fabric to make it come alive – adding lights, movement, doing something to a shirt to make it interactive, etc. My cohort’s challenge was to use the Arduino FLORA on our EdVenture “I Make Awesome” shirt.
The first thing I did was take out the FLORA and figure out how to download and program it. The tutorials on the Arduino website are excellent for this and I was able to get my NeoPixel LEDs to work in no time (after a few technology issues were resolved – all by reading the tutorials carefully). Once I knew I could get everything to work on the computer, it was time to figure out how to sew it on my t-shirt. I spent about 4 hours last Sunday trying to teach myself how to sew, sewing the FLORA to my shirt, and then watching it NOT work. I managed to sew a hole through my shirt, break my battery pack, waste a lot of thread, and get really frustrated. I shared my troubles on our Maker Corps Google + Community and was given lots of suggestions for what I could have been doing wrong. The next day, I tried again and was SO EXCITED when I was finally able to get it to work! How? Well, first, I had a one-on-one lesson on how to sew with my super Media Assistant in my school library. She showed me some things I was doing wrong with my sewing, which was probably causing some issues with my FLORA the day before (threads touching, no knots…that sort of thing). After the logistics of sewing were figured out, I followed the suggestions of my friends in our Community (about where each thread needs to go) and WHAT DO YOU KNOW?! It WORKED! Now, I’m just waiting for my battery pack to come in so that I can put on my shirt and watch it light up as I walk around the house!