For the odd moments I can manage to think of something.

“Double dog dare!” – Textiles and QR tech

So. I’m browsin’ online as usual swapping links, jokes and smart-arse comments when a good friend and female tech inspiration sends me a link on Twitter. It goes like this….
Interesting. The link (because that’s a jpeg and I won’t make you type in it manually) goes to a site called QR-3D. It looked good and I set myself into passive mode to keep an eye out and see how it all turned out. Rain is always making something interesting, complex and stylish. She’s created amazing electronic clothing in the past, so I thought maybe something she might do rather than me – I am still working on an old LED project – to my shame.

Then this happened a few days later…


I know right? Double dog dare….who can turn away from that? Apparently not me.

Of course I must be a little unhinged. Lynne Bruning is one of the best electric clothing creators and artists I can think of in the United States and she’s just called me out to be creative. Still, better to be challenged by the best in order to dedicate yourself to something. If I ever become famous – I will be requiring a Lynne Bruning electric evening gown…*cough*

Somewhere in the mists of time, I remember that I have a textiles qualification. (I rarely use the skills these days, I can knit some and sew on buttons). I was a dorky kid who liked the Commodore 64, learning about animals and huh – tapestry… I don’t own a sewing machine at the moment, so the methods available to me were becoming clear. I’d be damned if I was going to knit separate stitches into a QR code. So needlework it is.

First up, I have to decide what I am going to link to. A QR code can simply turn up a word – like this scarf which has a lovely punch line. Or it can take you to a page on the internet. Sometimes when used commercially it might give you a discount code. Sometimes it can hold an archive to someone’s life when it is etched on a grave stone. You can use them for lots of things – they hold data. There are many more examples of course, but I’m starting to bore myself so go look them up yourself if you’re QRious.

So, location chosen (nope – not telling until I have completed the project, then I can tell you why as well) I needed a QR code. You can generate these on a few websites like this site which makes simple codes and this one, which I used to generate my code because I could choose how big I wanted to make it. (In other words, how many stitches I would need to create the shapes.)

QR generated and it was time to familiarise myself. Now, being of a particular mind, I have drawn QRs before. Through this slightly laborious experience, I learned that to draw a QR you need ink. The QR reader on my phone would not read pencil, nut I needed to work in pencil because I am prone to making some mistakes and then having to go back and check.

I penciled in the QR code over the space of a couple of evenings to the apparent mixed reaction of friends online – Yes, I’m looking at you –

Steve Bowbrick “Like a QR-code? Using graph paper? I like that!”

Benjamin Ellis “‎#crazychickbutinagoodway”

Dan Simonsön “they’ve been making these things for a few years now called “printers.” you may have heard of them. they use a robotic arm to precisely spray ink on to paper. you ought to look into them–one may be right for you:”

Colleen Lin “no way are you copying that by hand. reminds me of my 2D animation class, what a beating. but I learned SO MUCH.”

Ana Lucia Gonzalez Paz “Are you going to be stitching this? Please tell me this is why you’re doing this…!”

Lee Wilson “JK, you are a nut job… but that’s why we all like you ;-)”

Some of you are very cheeky peeps! But I like that, so that’s okay.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the process –

The good news is, the pattern is all inked in and it works! I zapped it with my phone (shutup – that’s the technical term here) and it took me to the site I had set out to link to. Hand drawn inky QR, one sharpie knackered and graphite all over my hands again like when I was at art school. It was fun too – I am pretty good with shapes and spatial awareness and I saw all sorts while I was drawing, key tooth shapes, space invader shapes, Tetris shapes, hearts and the odd single pixel.

So – time for some needling I guess. I like hanging out in the haberdashery department of John Lewis (each to their own) and going back to Aida cloth (sounds like that awesome Lovelace lady verbally) and skeins of silks and thread. I have a hoop too – get me!

Time to start stitching, I’ll let y’all know how that goes…wish me luck!


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