Another year gone, and if you’re anything like me, you’re thinking hard about what you want from the next one! For me, that means reflecting on the parts of 2013 that meant the most to me, and how I’m going to bring more of that energy into the new year.
In 2013, I spent a lot of time on the road. There were new friends, old friends, and a whole lot of awesome SparkFun customers! You guys are really passionate about what you do, and it was exhilarating to get to share that excitement with you.
I’ve also been lucky to have a lot of opportunities to bring LilyPad and E-textiles to an enormous number of crafters, cosplayers and textile artists who are entirely new to embedded electronics. Shows like Dragon*Con, Starfest, and Costume-Con have been incredibly welcoming to myself and our instructors, and it’s been an inspiration to share something so near to my heart with such enthusiastic and creative people.
I’ve been doing my best with every resource I’ve got, but late 2013 has positively showered me with the tools I need, so this year should be better than ever!
Perhaps most importantly, Leah Buechley and Kanjun Qiu have bent the full force of their combined years of effort and experience on the creation of Sew Electric. Sew Electric is the book I’ve been waiting for, a delicate balance of theory and practice that uses both fun and practical projects to teach everything you need to know about E-Textiles. The basics of sewing, circuit design, programming, and materials are all there, beautifully illustrated by Sonja de Boer, and broken down so that the information is clear and easy to understand. Walking a student from their first stitches to a multiple-input microcontroller circuit in a single book is a difficult task at best, and pioneers like Leah and Kanjun make it look easy! A great book is one of the most important tools people new to E-Textiles request, and I’m really excited to finally have the perfect answer, so Sew Electric will be making a lot of trips with me!
On top of that, after a lot of work, the LilyPad Design Kit is on our shelves, and I couldn’t be prouder of it, so I’ll be packing those up as well! I’ve received a lot of requests for a kit to initiate those who have no experience with electronics, sewing, or both, and this is the answer I can’t wait to share!
Nick and I have also started a new video series, which has given us a great way to concisely highlight and demonstrate E-Textiles materials new and old. When you’re trying to learn a lot quickly, it can be tough to wade through all of the tutorials at once - we thought some hands-on demos would help showcase the parts people need for their projects!
I think these tools are going to make E-Textiles more approachable and easier to learn than they’ve ever been, and that’s why, in 2014, I’m resolving to share my love for E-Textiles and embedded electronics with as many new makers as I can, and I definitely don’t just mean children! I’m also talking about crafters, costumers, designers, artists, propmakers, and others who make things every day, but have never considered themselves makers, and may not even know that such a community exists! This year, I’ll be bringing kits, workshops, gifts, and talks to more events than ever before, and reaching out to bring E-Textiles to as many communities as I can!
In the spirit of sharing the love, I’d like to help you share your love of electronics with someone you care about. I’ve set aside one copy of Sew Electric and one LilyPad Design Kit. Leave a comment below telling us about a crafter, costumer, needleworker, or creative in your life that you can’t wait to introduce to E-Textiles. We’ll choose two of our favorite comments and send each commenter a gift to help inspire their friend!