I haven’t had a chance to fly kites for almost two weeks. Last weekend my daughter and her husband came home and we spent as much time with them as we could. They brought us some rather “shocking” news. Shocking in a good way. They are going to have a baby. Which means I am going to be a grandmother. I’m beginning to feel old. But I get to help decorate the nursery. My daughter is decorating with, of all things, kites. So I am going to build a special request kite to hang on the nursery wall. I’m going to start as soon as possible so it will be ready.After all, I only have seven months until the due date.
This weekend is the Carolina Kite Festival. Today it started with an all-day kite building workshop. I got my kit early so I could finish it for the workshop. For some reason, I had a hard time focusing on this kite. But I did get it done on time. I spent the day at the workshop answering questions, talking with participants and getting the pattern ready for my next build. There were twelve sewer there to build the kite. Most hadn’t sewn a kite before. A couple were old hands at it and finished without any problems or questions. There was only one person who didn’t finish the kite and she had to leave early. The kites were in a wide range of colors but all the same pattern. Although some of us made changes to the pattern to personalize the kite. Tomorrow at the kite festival we will all fly them at the same time. It should be a pretty good show. I took my kite out to the parking lot and held it by the bridle to see what it would do in the somewhat gusty winds today. It flew like a champ.
Tomorrow the festival starts in earnest. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t look like it will cooperate. Possible rain with extremely strong winds. And the temperature has dropped about ten degrees from what we have been having. t almost seems like this year’s festival has been cursed. First we had to change venues because our regular location was damages by Hurricane Irene and had to close until the first of the year. Thankfully we were able to get the required permits to hold the festival at the public beach access in town. Then we had to arrange with some of the smaller local motels for rooms for attendees. And they did step up and help out. To make things worse several of our regular attendees had family crises and would not be able to come this year. So we have a smaller work crew with just as many jobs to fill. And a smaller number of regular fliers to put kites in the air.
But the goal of the festival is to have fun and enjoy the camaraderie. And, of course, to introduce kiting to the general public and get them to join in. Many people come to see the kites and are usually amazed at the variety of dies and shapes and colors. And many bring a kite or buy a kite and join in. This is what it is all about. This year we will have a show of the large kites, kids’ kite building, candy drops for the kids, a show of the favorite kites of our kite club and friends and several mass ascensions. A mass ascension is when everyone flies the same type of kite at the same time. It makes for a great show of the different varieties of the same type of kite. We will also have an area for people to learn how to fly stunt kites. And maybe some of the attendees will coerced into putting on a display or two.
It’s all weather-driven. So there is no set schedule. Good weather, a great show. Bad weather, we make do with what we can. It is a lot of work and planning. But when it is over, we look back and say “It was fun” and start planning for the next one. So wish us luck and good weather.
Wanted to fly today but, once again, the wind wouldn’t cooperate. We have a couple of new Skydog kites to test fly. Tried to fly them a couple of days ago before the sun set. While the wind was stronger than today, it was not strong enough to get one of the kites into the air. The other took some work but did eventually fly and fly quite well. It just hung in the sky above our heads, no waving, weaving or wobbling. Maybe tomorrow we can try again.
So instead of flying, I worked on a kite for the upcoming kite festival workshop. I got my kite early so that I could get my kite finished for use as a sample. Because of this, I’m moving rapidly into the position of a perfectionist. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not competing in the Nationals so it really doesn’t matter. This is a fun, good-looking kite and I should be having fun making it. And why is my kite a sample kite? I have been given the assignment of workshop assistant instead of workshop participant. Apparently people believe I already have the skills for a beginner class and have moved on. We will see. In one week, it will be only be a year since I made my first kite.
The applique sewing is complete and I am cutting away the unwanted layers of ripstop. Tomorrow I have to get some more thread for hemming and pockets. Then I need to do repair work on some of my kites so they will be ready for the festival. Yes, I have been procrastinating. I hate repair work. Mostly it’s ripping out pockets and replacing them.
My next project is a kite for my daughter. She wants to hang it on the wall in the spare bedroom. So I had better get back to the work table.
Beautiful morning this past Sunday. Temperatures were mild, sun was shining, brilliant blue sky with only a few clouds and the weatherman said the winds were around 10 mph building to 15 in the afternoon. Never believe the weatherman. I went to the kite field looking forward to a day when I could put up some larger kites and anchor them and then practice with my Vamp Devil and try out my new Mojo on longer lines. It looked like a perfect day for kites when I left the house. I was so ready for this day I arrived early, before anyone else. Great. I could get my stuff up first and have a show in the air for all the other fliers to see when they arrived.
So I hauled my cart down to the beach and began. The wind was only about five mph or so. I managed to get the parafoil up after a long launch and a lot of work on the line. Another flier arrived and put up a couple of delta kites so I left my mesh delta in the bag and tried to put up my Buka-Dako-Esche. I hadn’t flown this kite in a few months and had forgotten how many spars it had and how to put it together. Each spar comes in three pieces and there are three spars in the bag plus the vertical spar that I left attached to the sail. So when I first put it together, I had one spar left over. Where did it go? There were no empty pockets or sleeves. So the call for help went out. Luckily, our local kite shop owner showed up and he showed me where the last spar went. Yes, I had missed a sleeve across the top of the sail.
Never believe the weatherman. The kites went up and the kites came down. We put the kites back up and they stayed up for a while and they came back down. The winds were weak and erratic. Even the larger delta kites were having problems and they are usually the easiest kites to keep in the sky. Our resident KAP flier didn’t even try to put his camera up. The way the wind was acting, there was no guarantee that his camera wouldn’t be bouncing off the sand instead of flying high. And I didn’t get a chance to play with any of my stunt kites. There are only a couple of weeks before our kite festival and I need more practice.
It was with some frustration that we all packed up our kites and headed to the kite shop. Even though the kite flying wasn’t the best the day was beautiful. It was hard not to just settle in the sand and watch the gulls and pelicans play in the waves. But there were things to do and places to be. So never believe the weatherman when it comes to the wind.
Winds have been rather light these past few weeks. Things started changing and we actually got to fly a couple of extra times this week. I’ve decided to do something that I’ve never had the courage to do before. I am working on a performance routine for the upcoming kite festival. The first evening we went out I didn’t get much practice done at all. Instead I played with a little girl. I was flying the Vamp Devil and along came a family with a little girl. She loved the kite and I made it swoop and dive and dance near her. She giggled and giggled. Her family wanted to continue their stroll but she wouldn’t leave. She and her Dad ended up staying by me as I continued to entertain her and the rest of the family went walking. We had fun together until the sun began to go down. I didn’t get much practicing done but I had a great time, too. And that’s what kiting is all about.
The second evening we went to the beach, I did get some great practice and planning in. I had the iPod on continuous repeat of the music. So I improvised and planned as the music went on and on and on. It was a good practice. I was flying on short lines to get used to the response of the kite and see what worked and what didn’t. Again, we stayed until the sun was going down. I really like flying in the evenings. The air is cool and the beach is quiet. There are some people out walking but not too many. Everything is peaceful. It’s just you and your kite.
Then there was a very short morning fly. I was testing a new kite that I’ve been waiting to arrive for the past nine months. I had seen this kite in photos from the kite trade show in February. It intrigued me and I just had to have one. It is a new design that I just had this gut feeling it would be a good flying kite. The initial flight was really an eye-opener. It is fast and touchy. I had it on short lines and my inputs were really too strong and the kite was all over the sky. I have a lot of learning to do on this kite. But I like it. The winds that morning weren’t helping me at all. They were gusty, at times blowing strong and at others ceasing completely. I need to try again on longer lines in smoother winds. It may take me some time to fly this kite competently but I’m planning on continuing to work at it. And what kite am I talking about? It is the Mojo by HQ Kites, a new design quad line kite.
Sunday morning was our regular club fly. We had wind. We had a lot of wind. If you left your kite bag open when you flew, it was filled with sand when you got back to it. There were four of the kite club members in attendance and about eight kites in the air. The wind was so strong the selection of kites that were fly-able was limited. Larger deltas flew well and a Sutton with a trailing pennant banner stayed in the sky with no problem. I flew a large dragon kite. It should be noted that the kites in the air all had long tails to stabilize them. No small kites could handle it and no stunt kites were flown. This was a feast of wind after a wind famine.
Things are coming together for the kite festival. Hopefully the temperatures will stay moderate and the winds will be a steady 10 to 15 mph. With an emphasis on steady. It’s only three weeks away. Can you believe it? I had better get practicing.
The sun was bright in the sky. The water was aqua blue with white caps breaking on the beach. The temperature was cool and, best of all, there was wind. It was a weekly kite club fly day and we could fly. Yippeee! I will say flying wasn’t easy. The weatherman lied a little. He forecasted wind in the 10 to 15 mile per hour range. Perfect wind. In reality, it was about 12 one minute and 3 to 4 the next. So we spent a lot of time picking up the kites that drifted to the ground and putting them back up in the sky. But that was all right. We had the chance to get together with friends and share the day. There were several fliers that were down on vacation and we caught up on news and made plans for the upcoming Carolina Kite Festival. The sky above looked like a small kite festival. That’s the way we like to see it. And we like to see others enjoying the sight, too.
Another reason I was so glad to have a good flying day was that I had two new kites to put in the air. One was a large dragon-type kite by Premier Kites called Blackfoot’s Magic Gourd. I’ve been eyeing this kite for a long time. And kept talking myself out of buyng it. Well, that only works for so long. It’s mine now. And it really puts a show on when it’s in the sky.
The other kite was a custom kite by Ray Wong. It is a rokkaku called “Windows”. Mine is the pink version. The owner of the kite shop has the blue version. In fact, it was the blue version that I saw initially. I saw the pink version in the kite shop when looking at the kites in the special kite bin. Special because they were hand-made custom kites. I also saw this one in the sky at one of the kite festivals. This past month was our wedding anniversary and my husband bought me this kite as a present. Seems that is what we do for special occasions, trade kites as presents. So I finally got to fly it. And it went straight up. I was rather surprised at the angle of its flight. It was directly above our heads. In fact, a couple of times I thought it was lost because I didn’t look high enough in the sky when checking on it.
As I mentioned before, the plans and preparation for the Carolina Kite Festival are moving ahead. Although it often seems like we take one step forward and two steps backward. So many changes this year. Some of our invited guest fliers can’t make it. That’s really sad because we look forward to visiting with them and watching them fly. I guess the local fliers are going to have to take up the slack and provide some entertaining flying (or crashing as the case may be). Hopefully, most of the viewing public will be in so much awe of the wonderful kites, they won’t notice the flying miscues.
Guess that’s all for now. I’m going to try to get some extra flying time this week. The dust on the coffee tables will still be there when I get back.