chebe: (Default)
2014-10-12 11:25 pm
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Busy, busy, lots of events

Things have just kept on keeping on.

My work with Niki is just finishing a run on display at a felting exhibition in Farmleigh called Common Ground. I was at the opening on the 25th September, feeling quite out of my depth amongst the very talented craftspeople. But the nibbles were delicious, and I got to see some beautiful pieces.

Kelp piece displayed on a square of clear perspex, with mine and Niki's name visible on a label next to it

Kelp piece on display at Farmleigh
Photo by chebe

The 4th October then saw newer versions of our work on display at RuaRed as part of Digital Week. I was unable to attend, but Niki tells me there was great interest, which is exactly what we're doing all this for! At least she wasn't alone, with plenty of company from toglodytes. (Photos; close-up of the kelp, and newer, larger version of the talking torque.)

Niki demoing the kelp piece

Niki demoing the kelp
Photo by Joseph Carr at Rua Red

Yesterday, 11th October was the UNs International Day of the Girl. Intel had an idea and got in touch with both tog and CoderDojo Girls and #GalileoGirls magic happened. 75 (or so) girls and teens crowded into the usual CoderDojo space, and got to play with some hardware. From getting started with the Galileo board, to then choosing to play with electronics, wearable electronics, or social media programming. It was a long, chaotic day, but fun seemed to be had, which is very important imho.

Some of the CoderDojo mentors early in the morning

Mentors on parade
Photo by Niambhs, source

Next Saturday, 18th October, Niki and I will be running a 'Playful Wearable Electronics' workshop. I'm looking forward to it as it's a slightly different demographic and I'm curious on what aspects they're interested in, and grasp the fastest.

It's also my last commitment for a while, so I'm looking forward to break afterwards. And I totally mean it this time.
chebe: (WalkSign)
2014-01-20 09:00 pm
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TOG at the Exchange

Our hackerspace is currently showing off some projects at the Exchange. Among the projects are the constellation quilts we made for MakerFaire Dublin last year.

Always with the last minute )

View from street through window of the Exchange. The quilts are visible on the back wall, behind other LED projects from TOG.

Display at the Exchange, from street
Photo by chebe

So if you get a chance pop down to the Exchange and have a look. They're a great group and do some really cool stuff. You'll be glad you did.
chebe: (WalkSign)
2013-06-30 02:43 pm
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GaelHack, and Arduino digital real-time clock

The first GaelHack took place a couple of weeks ago, the weekend of Friday 7th to Sunday 9th of June. It was a nice way to start a new tradition, with about twenty people from all over Ireland attending. (I think all but two of the hackerspaces were represented.) It was held on a scorcher of a weekend, in a boarding-school-converted-into-Scouts-Centre, with the option of camping or boarding in the hostel like rooms.

We took over a large room with a bunch of tables and chairs, set up the projector, and got started. There were a few presentations, a couple of hands-on workshops, and a few excursions out-of-doors into the beautiful sunshine to play with aerials and satellites. And to get the occasional ice-cream. In some ways the location was ideal (sunshine, quiet, facilities), but it did lack in some respects (insufficient internet, barely any phone signal, children everywhere). It was definitely a good start though, and at the end there was a great discussion, with people from different hackerspaces volunteering to look around their own localities for alternatives. I'm looking forward to next years. (There's a very thorough write-up by another attendee on the way, I'll link to it here when it's live. *EDIT* link)

Throughout the activities, in spare cycles, we worked on our own projects. It struck me how awkward Ardunio can be when you don't have an awful lot of internet to go looking for, and downloading, documents, tutorials, and libraries. But I persevered, emboldened by fellow attendees reminding me that there is almost always a library out there already. I got started learning to use I2C, real-time-clocks, and seven-segment-displays. Obviously I built a clock. This is the first step towards something else, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Arduino Uno, (you can ignore the MicroSD-shield, it's not doing anything here,) Sparkfun Real Time Clock Module, Adafruit 4-digit 7-segment display. The display requires you to install two libraries details here, and even though I'm using the Sparkfun RTC it uses the same chip as the Adafruit one, and Adafruit provide a library here.

The only gotcha that I ran into is that the RTC time is not set, and it is not running when you get it. (It also needs to be hooked up to 5V, otherwise when you query it you get a nonsense response.) To set the time to the time on your computer there's a section in the Adafruit example setup().
  if (! RTC.isrunning()) {
    Serial.println("RTC is NOT running!");
    // following line sets the RTC to the date & time this sketch was compiled
    RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));

By default it doesn't execute. I had to remove the not to get it to run, i.e.
  if (RTC.isrunning()) {

You only need dto do this whenever you want to change the time, so ideally just the once. After that I just played around with the display, and got the colon blinking like commercial digital clocks.

Photo and video )
chebe: (Default)
2012-07-18 08:04 pm

Dublin Mini Maker Faire 2012

Bear with me, this is going to be a long post.

This Saturday just gone, July 14th, was Dublin's first Mini Maker Faire! It was held in the Science Gallery and on the Physics Lawn of Trinity College. I was there as a part of TOG, the Dublin maker/hacker-space. It was a fantastic day. So many people showed up who already knew a lot and came up with interesting questions and ideas. Some people were just wandering through Trinity like they do every weekend and were a little confounded to find us there. Yet others showed up wearing ESOF lanyards! I'm sad I didn't get to see much of the other makers or exhibits, things were just so hectic! It certainly seemed like everyone was having a good time.

Maker Faire )

TOG's new tshirt )


Arduino IR receiver )

LED matrix top )

Constellation Quilts )

Well, I fairly collapsed with exhaustion about 4pm (missing the after-party and everything), but up until that point it was a great day and I'm already looking forward to next year!
chebe: (HandAgainstGlass)
2012-04-08 04:22 pm
Entry tags:

Checking in

Hi! Still really really busy, but that should be easing up a little in the next few weeks. In the meantime if you find yourself missing my ramblings (ha!) I've written a short Intro to IRC and Intro to Mailing Lists for tog. I'm thinking of doing another one on website certs, and email signing/encryption, but I doubt they will be the least bit short.

For instance, tog got itself a cert from It is not one of the Certification Authorities (CAs) trusted by default in many browsers, but is a not-for-profit and popular amongst security/computer folk. In order to use the tog website in https you either have to accept the cert when the browser gives you a warning, or import the Class 3 cert before visiting the page.

Other than that I'm just spamming my twitter with links, and not enjoying my distinct lack of chocolate this day. Okay then, back to assignments! ... *sigh*
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
2011-10-25 12:31 pm
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More updating through the medium of pictures

The Electro-Sewing Workshop was last Friday, and I feel it went very well. Even with starting on Irish-Standard-Time and forcing the class to sit through a slide-deck, there were seven very pretty LED-flowers two-and-a-half hours later. Definitely a success!

Here's a couple of pics from the night.

Aren't they pretty! I am planning to write up a how-to for these, but truth be known, they follow essentially the same method as for the LED-horns from last year. Nonetheless, people seemed rather enthused about the whole experience :)

I've also gotten my hands on the new LilyPad ProtoSnap Development Board. It's very nifty; all the main components of the LilyPad range, pre-connected on one board! So you can practice your programming, or simply getting the components to work together the way you want, without having to worry about any of that sewing malarkey. Then, if you want, you can snap the pieces apart and sew them into an actual project!

I plugged it in just yesterday and was highly amused to find a pre-loaded program that tests most of the components (make sure to play with the switches!). But, looking closely, I've noticed that only the RGB-LED, the five white LEDs, and the momentary push-button are connected to actual sew-holes on the Simple Microcontroller Board. The rest of them are connected through paths that would be available on the full Microcontroller Board, but that aren't exposed on the Simple board. Makes sense, seeing as how the LEDs/button take up all the existing holes! (Still, I imagine the numbers printed on next to the other components could get confusing for someone just starting out. Speaking of, there's a nice tutorial available to get you up and running.)

And all this has inspired me to maybe run a LilyPad course in tog in January. We'll see.

In other news, I don't have any photos from Octocon, but we made the same flowers as shown above, and you can check out the photos from Darklight (where I spent some time teaching people to solder) in the Gallery. (Can you spot me, or rather my Dresden Dolls hoodie?) That's almost it for my busy October. *phew*
chebe: (MangaMe)
2011-10-12 04:27 pm
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The Basic Hand-Sewing Workshop was yesterday at tog. I still have to work on my handouts, and really nail down the drawstring bag project, but otherwise it went well and I met some very nice people!

Here's a couple of pics from the night.

Basic hand-sewing is a pre-requisite for the Electro-sewing workshop coming up next week, and I think everyone will be more than able to handle it :)

Speaking of electro-craft, you can check out the pictures from Electric Picnic in the Gallery.
chebe: (WalkSign)
2011-10-10 11:09 am
Entry tags:

Just checking in

Okay, I've done it again, I've left it too long without posting! I am working on finishing up two projects (which I won't talk about until they're finished), I've been prelaundering fabric, and getting ready for a series of short workshops. And that's before we get to regular life stuff! I'm a busy chebe.

Tomorrow (Tuesday 11th) I'm running a basic hand-sewing workshop in tog.
This weekend (Saturday 15th) I'm running at least one electro-craft workshop at Octocon. It'll be making the LED-flowers we made at Electric picnic. And it's the first step in a series of projects of ever increasing complexity to get you comfortable with etextiles.
And if you can't make Octocon, don't worry, because we'll be running the same workshop in tog, on Friday 21st!
On Saturday 22nd I'll be helping out the tog guys run some workshops at Darklight (and a couple of my projects might be on display the Friday before).
Then the following weekend I'll be hanging around Gaelcon, just for fun, and desperately trying to finish my Hallowe'en costume! (Ideas, quick, I need ideas! ... and sleep.)

I'll try to post some content as we go along, but it's a busy month!
chebe: (Default)
2011-06-20 02:59 pm
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Synchronous Hackathon Money Bag Challenge at tog

Do I know how to make a wallet or bag? No, but I'm going to make one anyway. Do I intend to use a pattern or instructions of any kind? No, I'm just going to figure it out as I go along. This is what I consider the Synchronous Hackathon Challenges to be about; jumping in and making it up as you go along! This month, the weekend just gone, was the Money Bag Challenge.

I've had the idea to try my hand at making small bags recently, and have been examining the ones already in my possession for ideas on how to construct them, so this Challenge was the kick I needed to get started. But I just can't seem to do just one thing; so as well as making a wallet/bag for the first time, I've added RFID-shielding, and internal LEDs!

Details... )

chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
2010-11-11 01:11 pm

Group Sew-Along musings

I find something very calming about reading blog posts. Gets me in a nice head-space. So much so, that I'm motivated to write my own! Sorry for being absent, I'm in the middle of the semester at college and assignments are really starting to pile up. Actually, I've a few essays to write, a precis, an ethics essay, and some regular write-ups. If I'm not ashamed of them they might end up being posted here.

But, what I want to talk about now is the sew-along I mentioned in my last post. Gertie runs a popular retro sewing blog. She's fun to read and provides clear instructions on many aspects. Thanks to her I've learned how to do tissue fittings and a proper narrow hem (I'm obsessively reading the archive from the beginning).

In December she is starting a Sew-Along project, where she'll step-by-step go through the making of a garment. This time it's going to be a wrap dress, at beginners level. Details.

I managed to get someone else interested in giving it a go with me, and then it occurred to me that there might be others too. I'm not an expert by any means but am confident in being able to handle this dress, so I've offered to help out where I can. I suspect that the dress will require some machine stitching, so I'm offering up the machines in TOG, and my mentorship should you need it. I doubt you will, Gertie is very good, but sometimes you just need terms explained.

If you are interested you can get the pattern from the manufacturerdesigner in the States (20% discount code for this month in Gerties blog post), or even more handily for a beginner, you can use a pattern pack (pattern, fabric, interfacing, and thread, for about a 27% total saving) from a UK company, SewBox.

There are a few things that Gertie intends doing that I don't know much about. She says to start with choosing a light to medium weight, cotton or cotton-blend fabric. (The difference between version 1 and version 2 is the shape of the neckline, and that the sash/tie in version 2 is a contrasting colour. So if doing version 2 like Gertie get two fabrics in colours that go together.) She intends to do a muslin mock-up before hand, underlining the dress with cotton batiste, and staying the neckline with silk organza. Each of these steps will require more fabric, but no further details yet. And they're optional, extra techniques to help you achieve a really great garment. If it really is your first time maybe stitching to the basic pattern will be easier, and learn about these others techniques so you can apply them next time.

I intend to post progress pictures here, and possibly on the TOG site. If you're interested in taking part just let me know and we'll see what we can do.
chebe: (AsciiC)
2010-08-18 09:17 pm
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Conductive Thread & E-Textiles talk

So, I'm going to try out Google Docs for now. I've uploaded my talk, the old fashioned kind of slide deck with lots of words, bullet-points, and barely a full sentence. It probably doesn't make much sense by itself as it was mostly reminders/orientation points for myself and the audience. But, if you'd like to take a look, you'll find it here. Feel free to leave feedback here, or if you'd like me to explain something I'd be happy to.
chebe: (MangaMe)
2010-08-16 11:33 pm
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Monday, of Irish Hackerspaces Week

I've just had a really amazing evening. And I'm really surprised. Not that it was great, but how refreshing I found it, sitting there, listening to people talk about their passions, and be passions that involve changing some aspect of the world.

My own talk was first, and how at ease I felt with the material surprised me. It's something I've only been doing about a year, but I felt comfortable. I talked longer than I expected, people asked questions, we didn't make anything afterwards, people were too busy asking what stuff was (and I didn't leave much time). But when they started talking out ideas for projects! I was so happy. Overall, I enjoyed myself. (I'm trying to find some way to share an .odp file... it's like they don't want us sharing files...)

Then there was a talk on Arduino, and then Processing. Oh! I've fallen in love with the language. The demonstration was using OpenGL through JOGL library ports! And it was all done so easily, in so few lines, and so clearly. I definitely recommend Processing to anyone wanting to play with graphics, and isn't too concerned about performance. The presenter did a great job (though, imho, it is somewhat cheating if it's also what you do for your day job :), and there was great discussion afterwards about all manner of things that I was sorry to drag myself away from.

All in all, great day! And another one tomorrow!
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
2010-08-09 11:03 am
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Hot Off the Presses

The full low-down on Irish Hackerspaces Week can be found here:
chebe: (South Park)
2010-08-06 11:33 am
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Nothing's gone public about this yet, no timetables, no contact info, and no pretty descriptions, so this is just a friendly mention; from the 14th - 22nd August will be the first Irish Hackerspaces Week. There'll be talks, workshops, and more social things like screenings and quizzes, on all week in the participating hackerspaces.

The talk I'm most looking forward to is the Sugar learning environment by Julie Pichon on Tuesday. The blurb goes:
"Come and learn about Sugar, the learning platform for children. Sugar offers an innovative desktop environment designed to encourage collaboration and critical thinking through Activities. Initially developed as part of the One Laptop Per Child project, Sugar is now community led and can run on any machine thanks to Sugar on a Stick."

I'm also giving a talk/short workshop on Conductive thread and textiles on Monday. My blurb goes like this:
"A brief beginners look at conductive thread, conductive fabric, soft switches, and an introduction to sensors and wearable micro controllers for making your soft circuits that bit smarter. We'll take a look at some existing applications, and then there's a hands-on session where you'll make your own soft circuit."

I'll post the slide-deck and supportive material here afterwards.

More information will be provided when everything goes up live. There really is a lot to grab your interest. And I encourage you to drop by during the week and take a look at what people are doing simply because it interests them.
chebe: (Default)
2010-07-27 11:19 am
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Last minute Crafting?

Hey guys, we've had a couple of cancellations for tonight, and I know it's last minute, but if you're up for it (we have tea and coffee!) drop by! We'd love to see you :)
chebe: (Shimmey)
2010-07-16 11:49 am
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Yay Crafting!

The aforementioned Craft Night last Tuesday went really well. Really, really well. So well in fact that it's becoming a regular event every two weeks! More details here. So, em, squeeee. *cough* Excuse me.
chebe: (WalkSign)
2010-07-07 01:57 pm
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Signal Boosting: Craft Night at TOG

Hey, just spreading the word. First Craft Night at TOG this Tuesday (13th July). Free to all, bring-your-own (sewing machines will be available for use), just a night for people to bring whatever crafts they want to work with along, and hang out with other crafters. More details to be found in the blog post:

Friday, 9th July
I can't quite believe it, but we're full already! I'm quite excited about this, heading into the space tomorrow to set-up, try out the machines, etc. If all goes well we'll probably see a few more of these nights happening soon.
chebe: (Wild)
2010-03-14 02:07 pm
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This Paddy's Day

Wednesday 17th March. If you're Irish (and not working in hospitality) you likely have the day off. Before you head off to kill a few braincells consider heading over to tog for a hackaton painted green! There will be general green-/Irish- themed projects going on. And I'll be around with lots of things to share:
- Green fabric paint, green black-light pigment, green thermochromatic paint, glow-in-the-dark pigment (which is pretty much green), and hopefully some green electroluminescent wire.
- There may even be face paint and green glitter (if I can find it…).
- Will probably bring some wax and pre-made candles for decorating (everything looks better painted with shamrocks).
- Am considering throwing together shamrock-shaped handbags as well, just to see if I can.

It's free, it's open (in the sense that if you're a non-member just let me know you're coming beforehand), and it should be crazy fun. Even if you just want to take a look, that's cool too :)
chebe: (South Park)
2010-01-03 10:14 pm
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Hands Up

Hands up anyone who would like to, and is able to, attend the basic hand-sewing (with a little mending thrown in for good measure) workshop. Remember, I'm not any kind of expert, but would like to share what I do know.

Date: Sunday, 24th January.
Time: open to negotiation, probably sometime between 2pm and 6pm.
Place: tog space.
Numbers: strictly limited to a maximum of 6, so please make sure you can make it before booking a place. (That's a minimum 2 members, maximum 4 visitors.) Full, no places left! Awesome.
Fee: €10, if you bring your own kit, otherwise it'll be €10 + cost of materials. For tog members it'll just be any cost of materials.
Materials: Pack of hand-sewing needles, needle threader, wheel of pins, thread.
Provided: (Although you may want to bring your own.) Scissors to be shared. Scrap fabric. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits.
Also: If you have any clothes or such that are damaged bring them in, and we'll see about mending them.

If the time doesn't suit, don't worry, I'll keep running these as long as people are interested.
chebe: (South Park)
2009-10-08 10:50 am
Entry tags:


I admit it, I'm awful at updating, especially when I have nothing to update about. I got distracted from my gloves project, and am currently working on how to use audio signals. I got myself a tiny microphone, and hooked it up to my Arduino Duemilanove via breadboard. Only, I've realised that I know nothing about audio sampling or analysis! So, I'm trying to piece together a working knowledge, all the while hoping that the microphone is connected up properly (I have a sneaking suspicion that the contacts aren't being properly contacted). So this is likely to take my full attention until I either crack it, or get bored.

In other news, there is talk of workshops in TOG. One on electro-clothing (essentially playing with EL wire) will be first, in the next two weeks. Also, there may be one on more traditional forms of sewing in the next few months. Keep an ear out if you're interested.