Tools for Electronic Textile Crafts

A toolset is decisive in how the material can be handled and what can be produced. It also frames the skills needed to handle them. Introducing new tools to a discipline allows for new interactions with materials and makes new materials and routines accessible. Here, needlework tools are adapted to integrate electric engineering needs, making way for diverse materials and knowledge to be incorporated in both textile and electronic making.

Functionally, these tools augment processes of textile crafting with information about electric properties. More broadly, they are a tangible provocation to assumptions about the roles and cultural assumptions of the technologies, and indeed crafts, that these tools enable, how, and for whom.

Needlework Probes

Needlework probes


Dillmont gif

Thérèse de Dillmont. Encyclopedia of Needlework. 19th Century. Collage.

Connectble Crochet Hook

Pin Probes


Pin Probes for the eTextile Swatchbook 2017

Pin Probe DIY-Instructions

The Pin Probe is a test lead to connect between a multimeter and conductive fabric or thread. The probe consists of a pin to make temporary but firm contact with textile materials without harming them. A soft and flexible textile cable then connects the probe to a banana plug to connect to a multimeter.

The Pin Probe is designed to aid processes of textile electronic making, allowing to pin the probe to the textile material and have both hands free for the crafting routine. Directly while stitching the connection, the multimeter provides continuous information about its current electrical value. The immediate feedback allows instant action, facilitating an aesthetic-driven workflow to reach precise electronic results.

PinProbe Schematic

Pin Probe schematic drawing

Pin Probes connecting between Arduino board and pin cushion


Clip Probes

Clip Probe

Clip Probe DIY-Instructions

Pincushion Voltage Supply


Pincushion, 9V

Pincushion gif

eTextile Tester

eTextilers Tape

eTextiler’s Tape (circuit under test: ATTINY POV by Mika Satomi)

Travel Tester

Travel Tester

eTextile Tester

eTextile Tester

eTextile Tester

This research was in part supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): AR 284-G21 in the Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK).

Irene Posch and Geraldine Fitzpatrick. 2018. Integrating Textile Materials with Electronic Making: Creating New Tools and Practices. In Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 158-165. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3173225.3173255 [Honorary Mention]

Irene Posch. 2017. Crafting Tools for Textile Electronic Making. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA,

Irene Posch. 2017. Pin Probe. In: eTextile Swatchbook 2017

Irene Posch. 2017. Crafting Tools. interactions 24, 2 (February 2017), 78-81.

Digital Design Weekend. September 23 – September 24 2017. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

Interactivity. May 6 – May 11 2017. Colerado Convention Center, Denver, USA

Irene Posch. 2015. eTextile Tester. In: eTextile Swatchbook 2015



Irene Posch, 2023