It’s been a busy last year and a half.
School has been taking up the vast majority of my time. I changed up my major/minor status a bit, and decided I am going to go to grad school. Probably for bioinformatics, though I’m open to exploring other data science possibilities. I’m going to be doing a few data visualization research projects here in the next few weeks, and I’m starting to become more and more interested in that aspect of science. (It’s the designer in me.)
Unfortunately school has left me with less time for creative endeavors. I have still been doing things, but not keeping up with styling them/photographing them/showing them off. I also haven’t been knitting very much in the last year or so, only a few small things for myself. I sort of burnt myself out last winter making everyone gifts, and also fucked up my shoulder. When I’m hunched over in school taking notes/on the computer all the time my shoulder doesn’t feel so great and knitting/crocheting immediately makes it worse. So motivation for that has been low lately, but I think this is a temporary lull. (I also think that the general lack of exciting designs that I’ve seen on Ravelry in the last year has contributed to my lack of feeling creative/inspired in that department. The knitting world in general feels like it’s in a lull right now, but that’s probably just be me hardcore projecting my own feelings onto the whole thing.)
Also contributing to the fact that I’m knitting less is that I started getting into new hobbies: hobby electronics. Shortly after my last post (in August of last year) I started getting into E-Textiles. I made a little scarf from some supplies that a local maker space gave me to experiment with in exchange for them being able to keep the scarf and show it off to people and I got super pulled into the whole Arduino/Adafruit/Processing world. So here are some of the projects I’ve worked on during the holiday and summer breaks over the last year or so.
For Oregon Country Fair this year I put together a pretty nifty costume. I made a crop top with an LED matrix.
I also made some sweet ass light up horns.
And I used some old costume pieces to put together this sort of Sorceress deal.
I also wore this costume to a medieval-ish-themed feast I went to with my sissies.
And I reprogrammed it with creepy green lights for my halloween costume, and did some nifty looking makeup to become a Lich.
The LED shirt was pretty challenging and fun to make. I learned a lot and realized some things I’d do differently in the future, but am overall very satisfied with how it came out. I hand soldered tiny little individual 5050rgb LEDs into a flexible matrix, and while it took forever I am very glad I did.
It is very flexible and has held up very well so far to wear and tear. Originally I had made this vest, and I had used stainless steel yarn to sew all of the LEDs. But it was kind of a disaster. The LEDs would short out all of the time, and the ones at the end of the line were much less bright/would do weird things with colors because of resistance in the stainless steel. Thats why I upgraded to soldering a wire harness, it works out a lot better in the long run.
As can be seen in some of the above photos, I have also gotten into some art makeup (because the makeup world is crazy right now, I have been ~influenced~) I go through phases of being more or less enthusiastic about doing crazy makeup, but here are a few of the looks that I’ve done that I really like. Obviously I’m not about to be instagram famouse with my makeup skills, but I really enjoy being able to do it for myself or a friend for special occasions, or like, a Monday when I’m feeling extra sassy.
I bought an Adafruit Pi Grrl kit and made it. I 3d printed the case at the local maker space. It was an awesome experience and I used it to learn how to solder and put all these components together, and it was fun to learn how to use the 3d printers. The finished product was pretty underwhelming. I don’t even know that I took a picture of the final thing. It worked–you could totally load it and play games. But it wasn’t fun to hold or play at all! It was satisfying to finish but the ABS plastic made it feel pretty cheap, and I think I must have messed some circuit up in my rookie status because while you could play games you couldn’t press more than one of the round buttons at a time, so trying to play SNES games was impossible because you couldn’t run or do anything besides like walk and jump.
I recently picked up a new little case for the raspberry pi and transferred it to that. I’ll recycle the other components into some other project, and I still haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to use the pi for but I’m excited to have it to SOMEDAY mess around with.
One of my weirder miniature obsessive moments that I quickly got over was last summer when I decided I wanted to get into doll makeovers. I got so far as to half make over one Monster High doll and then got on with life. But she has a pretty cool looking face I guess.
New Electronic Toy
I bought my nephews Adafruit’s MiniPOV kit for Christmas, and I got myself one too. Partially so that I could put one together before I tried to sit down with them to do it, and partly because I just wanted one. This thing is sooo much fun. I dont’ really know what I’m doing with the photography yet, but I really am looking forward to experimenting with light painting and stuff, because its very much up my alley and with my sweet little programmable toy I can see making a lot of fun things. The boys also (I think) had a lot of fun putting theirs together. It was really fun watching them learn to solder, they both picked up on it very quickly and I was very impressed.
I actually made this ages back, I think I even made it before my last blog post in the summer of 2015. I’d like to paint on it some more (probably some like geometric rainbow shit) because there is still a lot of white space on it, but it’s pretty rad. The bird is painted with glow in the dark paint on some parts, so if you run a flash light across it it looks pretty cool. It’s very small, so its a very cozy fit for two people but I do most of my festival camping solo anyway so it works. It’s not super weather proof, because I had summer festivals (namely OCF) in mind when I made it, but last year it was super rainy at OCF so I am probably also going to come up with some plans to weather proof it a bit more. It can handle a light rain no problem, but deluges are more worrisome.
A lot of people think it’s a crow for some reason. I wouldn’t expect most people to know what a pitohui is, but it’s funny to me that people default to crow rather than assume that it’s just some kind of bird they don’t recognize. (Which is definitely what I would do because I am really bad at identifying birds.)
I have been working on campus for the last year and a half doing web development.. I designed and help to develop the website for the magazine they send out to alumni. This was a good learning experience as I had to learn AngularJS and how to import things like JSON data (which is populated from Drupal) so I have got lots of new good skills from that. I’ve also done some of the development on some of the campus websites. It’s been pretty good all around. I won’t pretend like I don’t wish it paid a little more (definitely a big pay cut from some of the other jobs I’ve had in recent years) but I can’t complain about the great learning opportunities for obtaining useful skillsets it has provided. It’s also very convenient working on campus.
I also taught a coding class to middle schoolers on campus, along with two other women. I’ll be teaching more classes on my own this summer in coding and also some Arduino art projects, which I’m looking forward to. I learned a lot from this first class (which is my first time ever teaching anything in a formal setting, and first time working with kids this age) and I have a lot of ideas for improving the lesson plans going forward. It was pretty cool though.
Onward and forward
I have many electronic projects in mind that I plan on making over the Spring/Summer, so maybe in a year or two I’ll post about those. I’ll also be graduating either in the Fall or Winter, so I’m sure in the time period after that and before I start grad school I’ll have some time to get lots of cool projects done. Til next time!