After messing around on the breadboard for several hours, I finally found a suitable amplifier for my microphone. It uses an operational amplifier to boost the signal from the mic - schematic from http://afrotechmods.com/tutorials/2011/11/28/amplifier-tutorial-super-spy-microphone-circuit/ . Then I put it on a piece of proto board and added some SILs at the other end for interface with the arduino. The board slots on top of the arduino, it has the potentiometer of board as well as the microphone. A cool feature are the poppers which will allow the LED circuit to be easily separated from the control circuit and allow easy connection to the conductive thread.
On the right is the LEDs still in the package, these are WS2812 RGB LEDs, each individually adressable, in the middle is one working. As I mentioned in a previous post I plan to mount them toping pong balls (below) to dissipate the light and make Christmas tree like decorations.
Finally, below is the first LED mounted to a ping pong ball; afterwards I realized I did not have a clue which end was the top of the package (oops!). Fortunately I was able to use my torch to identify the small notch out of one corner. After, I marked the top end of the IC with a small dot using a sharpie.
Now all that is left to do is sew everything to the jumper and write some code for a few cool animations!