Finished Penelope Cat But Couldn’t Fly Her

Last night I finished the Penelope Cat kite.  Sewed the hems and made the rod pockets.  Gosh, she looks good.  Today I got the spars and the line for the bridal.  Wanted to fly her so bad that I endorsed the idea of going to the beach before supper and flying.  Being the optimistic soul, I checked the wind and saw a downward trend as the sun set.  And the current winds were around 16 mph (or so the internet said).  So one would think that by the time we got to the beach things would be calming down.  Foolish me.  The winds were blowing the sand across the beach as they blew in off the ocean.  The only kite that made it up was the Firefly.  And it hung up there beautifully.  Nothing I brought with me, including Penelope, could take the wind.  So to avoid damage, I flew nothing.  Bleah!

I am trying to decide what kites to take to the Blue Ridge Kite Festival this weekend.  I want to take some of my larger kites and put on a show but I’m afraid there won’t be enough room.  And I don’t want to deal with crossed lines, cut lines and damaged kites.  Neither mine nor anyone else’s.  I want to take a variety but taking everything is overkill.  I will never come close to flying them all.  And then there is the weather prediction.  Winds around 20 mph and an 80% chance of thunderstorms.  Most likely, whatever I do take will remain in the bags.  Oh, what to do, what to do!

It is a given that most of my handmade kites will go.  Pepe Le Pew, Penelope Cat, Kokopelli, and the pan flute.  Oh, mustn’t forget the Green Bay Packer.  I guess I will decide at the last-minute as I am putting bags in the car.  And on the day of the festival I will wish I brought this kite or that kite.  But that’s just the way of it.  And, in the end, I will still say; “A good time was had by all”.  So keep you’re fingers crossed that the weatherman is wrong.  And I will try not to take every kite I own.

Fair Winds All.

I Survived The Workshop

Kokopelli (workshop kite)

Day two of the kite-making workshop is over. I was just too exhausted to post anything so it had to wait until today. The workshop day started at 9:00 am. I finished cutting the large applique figure, the third and last, and learned how to do small inserts. I had read about this before but it didn’t really come clear until I saw it and did it for myself. So easy. Instead of the shapes on the pattern, I customized the kite with my own icons. That took up some time as I had to decide on shapes that fit the kite style and I felt comfortable with. Circles! Ah ah! It was that simple. And then picking colors was just as exacting. Had to like the balance. Oh, the perfectionist in me took over.

The next step was pockets and framing. The pockets were a nightmare. If ever I thought the kite was “over-engineered” it was the pockets. Measure, measure, fold, fold, sew, fold, sew, measure, cut. The on to the next one. Repeat six times. By now everyone is getting tired. And, of course, my machine decides to act up and not feed the pocket material. Granted it was heavy stiff material. But my sewing machine is not a cheaply made machine that isn’t up to it. So I got the experts to work on it. After much trying of different ideas, we got the right combination and it began to sew again.

It was now about eight hours later. Two members of the group finished their kite. Several others were worn out and left, to finish their kites at home at a later date. Two of us, were bound and determined to finish and fly our kites this morning. Yes, I was one. Pockets done. Sew pockets on kite. Eleven hours later, ready for framing. No, wait! One of the pockets is on the wrong side. That was it. I could barely see straight. I was done. No finished kite.

But that was not the end. I re-sewed the pocket this morning. I framed the kite myself this morning. The workshop leader would have the necessary lines ready for me at the kite field. This baby would fly with the rest. I was too stubborn to totally give up. And it did.

Four of the seven participants flew the workshop kite this morning. It was glorious. There were a lot of other fliers there, too. We had one of the best kite flies we have had in months. I would say there were at least fifteen fliers there. Single line kites, dual line kites, quad line kites, many handmade art kites, and some very unusual kites. The only thing that could have been better was that the sky was cloudy. The winds were a little on the light side but still flyable. It was a wonderful communion of people and kites. A proper ending to a somewhat stressful workshop.

Workshop Kokopellies

Would I do it again? You bet. I learned a lot. I enjoyed the company. I love my kite. And I am not afraid to cut, paste, sew and modify. I am thinking I would like to use the framing technique from the workshop on another type of kite. Oh, knowledge is a dangerous thing. It leads to ideas. And ideas add to my list of kites to make.

I am a happy camper.

Fair Winds All.

Day One of the Kite Building Workshop

As I sit here yawning, I thought I had better give an update on day one of the kite building workshop. We have seven participants and two instructors attending. The instructors put together kits for everyone containing all the necessary ripstop, spars, reinforcements and step-by-step instructions. Including illustrations. The kite involves a two color background with three kokopelli figure appliques. Most of us have had some sort of experience sewing kites, however, there a couple of newbies. The pattern is a challenging one and the newbies are not finding it easy. With lots of guidance from the instructors, they are persevering. And, of course, there is one person who is reversing the color pattern in order to have a distinctive kite. There is always one in every group who is an individual.

I have managed to get all three figures appliqued but only two trimmed. As per usual, I was the last to leave. I am a slow sewer and as it turns out, the workshop photographer as well. I was also informed today, I am supposed to be the on-site reporter and write an article about the workshop for the Kiting magazine. With photos, of course. I fully intend to get a group shot with the completed kites. So I either have to find and accomplice or use the timer and a tripod. Hmmm.

If any readers of this have visited the kite builders forum, they have seen a photo of the workshop kite.


It is a Ohashi kite with a single tow-point.  I saw the prototype of this kite at our New Year’s Day fly.  The single tow-point amazes me.  While this kite has a blue and coral background, our workshop kite is teal and raspberry.  Just can’t seem to keep away from some sort of “pink”.  It is a good-looking kite.

Tomorrow we have to get everything done.  Sewing, hemming, reinforcements, sparring.  Then Sunday morning, at our regular weekly kite club fly, we will put all the kites in the air at the same time.  Should be pretty magnificent.  Stayed tuned for the final result.

Fair Winds All.

Looking Forward To Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the beginning of a two-day kite building workshop at the beach. Several of my friends will be there. I am really looking forward to it. As I understand it, we’re going to be making a single tow-point Edo. I’ve never worked with this type sparring before. It doesn’t appear too complicated. And I’m still amazed at how well this rectangular kite flies with just a single line attachment at the very top. I got to see the prototype for this kite at the New Year’s Day fly. I have no idea about colors but I do know that we will be appliqueing a kokopelli on the sail.

My only request to the workshop organizers was that I not have any pink in my kit. This dates back to a kite made in this style that had pink as a background. It became known to a few of us as the “Pepto Bismol” kite. Of course there always is the possibly I will end up with pink on purpose. Random comments do often come back to haunt you.

I will try to remember my camera and take breaks now and then from sewing to take pictures. A Sunday morning fly is scheduled for all participants to fly their finished kites. It should look pretty spectacular. More later.

Fair Winds All.