DFN Happy Hour No. 10: Make a Hug

Coming up Friday at 5:30 pm PDT members Barb Noren (BarbMakesThings), Tod Kurt (todbot) and Carlyn Maw (carlynorama) are back streaming again! Two weeks ago we spiffed up making dress-up gear for video meetings (video | post) and this week we’re making “hugs.”


If you make a project based on any of the DFN themes or have an idea for one, let one of us know!

Last Week Redux

Beverages Consumed:

This Week Preview


The concept of actual physical hugs right now is different for different people. Some people miss being able to hug their friends, but still are able to get hugs from people inside their quarantine bubble. Some people, especially those who are keeping to the mandates for social distancing, may have gone months without actual human contact.

For this prompt, I decided to make an octopus arm in the style of Helen Leigh’s conductive thread sound sculpture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1DXuOvg2hM

I’ve had the opportunity to try it in person, and it is super cuddly and comforting. So I decided to make one for a friend who lives without human roommates in her apartment (and pets like lizards, spiders, and cockroaches are less cuddly). Unfortunately, the first version wound up a little small. Version 2, here we come.


With this week’s theme of “hug”, I thought trying to do something with audio would be interesting.  Can I create a sound that elicits the feeling of being hugged?  While I don’t feel I quite hit my mark, my result is here (bandcamp link: https://todbot.bandcamp.com/track/deep-fried-neurons-audio-hug).  It was created in Ableton Live and is composed of three different sounds: an underlying chord with a warm analog synth string sound that gets surrounded by two gradual thick bass sounds, and to that is added higher-pitched scintillating descending arpeggios. Movement is created by modulating overlapping filters to create a phasing effect and then it’s all drenched in huge reverb and a multiband compressor to really envelope your head.


Thinking about hugs makes me think about snuggly warmth, so a scarf seems like a good fit. I have been working on this one scarf for Tod on and off for about 4 years. This week I picked it up again. If I recall correctly, when traveling for a conference I kinda just marched into a yarn store and said, “Hey, I want to be able to knit on the plane on the way home” and the woman running the shop just handled picking out the pattern, the wool and the needles for me. Never again has my useless indecision been handled with so much grace by yarn retail employee. Unnamed employee of Knit Purl in Portland (closed), you were a pro. I salute you. I can’t quite get the hang of doing this pattern while we watch TV, but I was able to do a bunch while on the phone the other day, so that might be a new good time to yarn-craft.

Favorite Learn To Knit Videos. Highly recommend learning continental style and Norwegian purl.

I’ll also make my regular pitch for heated shiatsu massagers. Priceless.


I make things that do stuff. The best, though, is teaching others to do the same. Founder of @crashspacela Alum of @ITP_NYU

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