Stitchable microcontrollers are great for sewing projects which need plenty of pads for inputs and outputs. However, what if you have a tight space where you only require minimal connection? Liza Stark has created some beautiful embroidery which nicely demonstrates the answer—an ATtiny. Think of it as the turkey without the trimmings. It’s small and inexpensive, but you do have to take some extra steps for programming since it doesn’t have a bootloader. Check out this Instructable which shows how to get the job done with an Arduino, which you probably already have at home.
Liza is doing some fun stuff with her circuit creating switches by using thread and touch in different ways. Her project can illuminate LEDs by bridging two areas of stitching with a finger, drawing two loose ends of yarn together or by pushing an accessory crocheted flower button that also uses conductive thread. All of this work is perfectly aligned with Liza’s experimentation in soft circuits. If you are a crochet or knitting fan, be sure to check out her Conductive Granny Square. If you are curious about how to link tiny parts to conductive thread, also look at my post on Making Awkward Electronics Stitchable. Finally, the best advice I can give on doing soft circuits is to invest in a Digital Multimeter. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to use the audible continuity feature. Listening for the beep is not only fun, but it means things are working! Have fun with your own conductive thread experiments and let us know what you make.
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