Code of Creativity
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Code of Creativity

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

How I Plan to Construct an Ugly Christmas Hat

Or perhaps, more aptly, an 8-Bit Christmas hat.

I’ve been knitting for the last twenty years and I love the holidays. After designing a Samhain altar for Halloween as my midterm, it seemed like a natural progression to follow it up by engaging in the ugly sweater motif.

Design the Hat

I was trying to think of ideas or a hat and I decided to look at Pinterest for some festive fair isle. I compiled this mood board using Pinterest which set the tone for my project and prototype.

I made multiple sketches for how the design should look, but I wasn’t happy with any of them until Scott mentioned Krampus.

Krampus is a German Christmas devil who steals naughty children. I started looking at photos on and was able to incorporate the face of the Christmas devil as well.

With that in mind, I went to EnvisoKnit and started creating my Krampus Hat pattern.

I am not particularly worried about materials for this because over the last four or five years I have accumulated an abundance of scrap yarn. Using that as a palette I decided to create a woodland scene with snow falling. The snow will be augmented with LEDs and ideally, a weather API will trigger a certain pattern when snow is falling or imminent to give it an element of realism.

Adding the Tech

When it comes to constructing the hat, The LEDs will be placed inside with conductive thread. I plan to use a duplicate stitch technique to hide my stitch work and make sure the stitches are relatively seamless.

When it comes to the tech I can use, I know of two wearable microcontrollers at the moment: the Flora from Adafruit and the Lilypad. Given how small these are, I anticipate making the brim longer accommodate making a pocket to hide the controller and power source.


I have staged my goals into two parts:

  • Create a hat that lights up on command.
  • Program the lights so that the pattern simulates a snowing effect.
  • Interface the lights with weather API so that it snows when it’s actually snowing outside.

Possible Materials

Research and Technical Sources

Since this is my first wearable project, I have decided to take a look at books online. I found the following that might be useful in further developing this hat.

Where I Expect to Run Into Trouble?

The hat itself is not a problem. I’ve made hats like this before and know I can get it knit by the end of Thanksgiving weekend if not early the following week.

I expect that I will run into trouble in one of the following places:

  • Constructing a circuit with the Adafruit Flora or LilyPad: I suspect I will need to string the LEDs and test my code numerous times.
  • Incorporating the API and getting it to work. I’ll likely have to fudge some numbers in places where it actually is snowing to get a read on if that works. (Knowing me, it won’t snow when I start testing my code.)

Stretch Goal

If time allows, I am hoping to construct a virtual scene that mirrors my hat with a class of snow that syncs with a weather API. This is a stretch goal if and when this hat functions before the deadline.

For the virtual interface, I imagine that Bluetooth might give me some trouble and that programming snowfall to correspond to weather conditions might also be difficult. (It may even require a robust weather API that I can’t afford.)



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Lauren Busser, M.S.

Lauren Busser, M.S.


TV. Books. Navigating burnout. Holds an M.S. from NYU in Integrated Digital Media.