Tech Your Weekend With “Code: Debugging the Gender Gap” and an LED class with Threadwitch!

As if National Maker Faire wasn’t enough, the weekend of June 20th and 21st is going to be jam-packed with Spanning Tree events.

On the 20th, we’ll be watching the 2:15 pm showing of Code: Debugging the Gender Gap at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD. Check out the trailer, then RSVP here:

Then on the 21st, we’ll be meeting at Creative Colony to learn how to create an LED cuff or brooch with Threadwitch (aka Sally Byers), a maker known for her skills combining traditional textiles with Adafruit electronics. RSVP here, as there are only EIGHT spots available in the class. We’ll provide you with all the materials for this beginner’s-level class, but participants will need to know basic hand sewing such as how to thread a needle, tie a knot, and sew a running stitch. Check out this video of Threadwitch’s Volcano Coat and other projects:



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Follow us to see more glorious projects from our last Meet + Make!

Meet + Make project of the day: felting kitty hair! #catlady #crafting

A photo posted by Spanning Tree (@spanningtree) on

Meet + Make project: trying to learn #Arduino using #adafruit lessons

A photo posted by Spanning Tree (@spanningtree) on

Volunteers Wanted!


Spanning Tree is on the hunt for volunteers! Have you ever wanted to…

  • Teach a class?
  • Interview DC makers of all shapes and sizes?
  • Help with fundraising?
  • Run a table at a makerfaire or craft event?
  • Organize a Meet + Make?

…then come to our next “open house” Meet + Make on May 24th and learn what it takes to get a feminist makerspace up and running! Can’t make it? Email Erica, our event coordinator, at, and let us know how you want to help!

Photo: Surface Mount Soldering by Paul Downey



Stand back: we’re doing SCIENCE!

At yesterday’s Make Afternoon, we assembled our cloud chamber out of a glass container, an old projector, and some very flamboyant duct tape.

Photo by @betsythemuffin

We then gathered in the glow to look for particle trails. As Katie said, looking for the “tails” left by cosmic particles was more like looking at the night sky for shooting stars–you’re barely able to register that you saw one before it’s gone–but we managed to glimpse several before the dry ice melted.

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As an added bonus, Threadwitch Sally Byers also showed up to work on her LED fashion. In this photo, she models her hat with the chemical symbols for chocolate picked out in beads and blinking LEDs. (Watch it in action here!)



Photos by Erica Stratton


Our next Make Afternoon will be happening in May. In the meantime, come see us at our table at Robotfest  on April 25th.

Help Us Make A Cloud Chamber

This March, as a special project for our Make Afternoon social, we’ll be making a cloud chamber.  Invented in 1911, it’s a tool that makes cosmic particle visible to the naked eye as they travel through a cloud of alcohol vapors. We’ll be able to identify protons, electrons, and many other particles by the trails they leave as they travel through the mist:

We should have all the materials we need to create this chamber, but check out the directions if you’d like to help us put it together. And, as always, be sure to RSVP! 

Would you like to sign up for a monthly donation? 

Donations help us rent spaces to make more cool stuff in (and keep us in tea!)

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Make Afternoon Projects

Our first-ever Make Afternoon featured many awesome things and projects. Highlights included:

Nametags with different pronouns
Preferred pronoun name tags!

Soldering iron and sewing machine

Sewing machines and soldering irons.


An embroidered spaghetti plot.


And lots of LEDs and textiles.

We’re thinking of doing one of these every other month, so watch our Meetup group for the next one!




Our First-Ever Make Afternoon Is This Saturday!


Join Spanning Tree for our first ever Make Afternoon on Saturday, January 17th.  We will be meeting at 1:00 pm in room A-9 of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for an afternoon of making, crafting, and getting to know each other.

This is the perfect place to finally finish those knitted mittens, put the finishing touches on your personal website, or learn how to solder. Bring a project to work on or just yourself. We’ll have tables, snacks, plenty of outlets, and — if our plans work out — wi-fi.

Additional equipment available for use: a sewing machine, extra knitting needles, a button-making device, a soldering iron and glitter glue. (If you’d like to bring artwork for buttons, try to fit it within a 0.875″ diameter circle — but leave plenty of margin around that, it will be set up to make one-inch-diameter pin-back buttons. )

Picture by Tony Hall on Flickr


More free classes in December!


Pictured: A hardworking 3D printer at the MLK Library.

If you don’t want to wait until the New Year to start a new hobby, Erica Stratton will be teaching more free classes this month at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Here’s the full schedule:

December 3rd: How to Make a GIF

Have you been wishing you could make awesome animated GIFs just like they do on Buzzfeed? Well, wonder no more! This hour-long class will show you how to create your very own GIFs using Photoshop CS6 and Quicktime. RSVP here.

December 6th: Introduction to 3D Printing

During this hour-long class we’ll explain everything you need to know about how different kinds of 3D printers work, give demos of 3D design programs that you can use to create your own items, and finally show you how you can have your design printed in plastic by MLK’s 3D Print Crew! RSVP here.

December 17th: Designing Jewelry for 3D Printing

If you missed it last month, we’re teaching this class again! We’ll show you how to create a simple bracelet digitally using TinkerCAD, then walk you through the process for getting it printed in recyclable plastic by MLK’s 3D Print Crew. RSVP here.