The Carolina Kite Club joined Fort Macon State Park in celebrating Earth Day. Local groups and organizations set up demonstrations and exhibits concerning ecology, conservation, animals and nature in the visitor center. The club put up a display of kites and banners on the nearby beach, all of which were easily visible while driving into the park and walking about the Fort. Quite a few people walked down to the beach to see the kites close up and talk to the fliers.
Large flowforms, power sleds and deltas dotted the sky. Many of which had long tails which added to the display. Because it was a special occasion, the park ranger brought one of his trucks onto the beach to be used as an anchor for some extremely large inflatable kites. We were able to launch a large gecko, a smaller trilobite and a large crab.
All of this was a major feat as the wind was not in our favor. The weather predictions were for 10 to 15 mile per hour winds. What we got were 5 to 7 with periods of no wind at all. I gave up trying to fly my collection of Xelons and flew a couple of Skates, a Dunston-Taylor box and a Fled. All low wind kites. Some stunt kites were up for a while but no one flew anything for long.
The sky remained cloudy all day and toward the end of the event, it tried to rain a little. Just enough to make us all take the kites down and pack them away. As the last of the large kites were being stuffed into their bags, the wind jumped up to around 25 miles per hour. The sand was swept across the beach with such force it looked like clouds skimming the surface. We were thankful that there were no kites up, especially the very large ones, as they could have easily broken loose and been lost.
All in all, it was a good event. Kites were up and we got to visit and catch up with some of our out-of-town club members who came to add to the “color in the sky”.
A good brisk wind and a moderate temperature. It was a morning made for kite flying. The fact that it was mostly cloudy made it even better as we took our not-quite-three year old grandson with us. He takes after his father’s Irish heritage and burns quite easily. So after slathering on the sunscreen, we walked (he ran) down to the beach to the sound of a little voice saying “Kite, kite, kite”. He was just a little excited.
He is the proud owner of a lime green delta kite that doesn’t fly all that well but stays up long enough to make a not-quite-three year old happy. There are some modifications that I can do to make this kite fly better. And I will before his next visit. But for now, it does the job nicely. He laughs and grins and then drops the spool as his attention is caught by something else on the beach. My husband and I took a couple of kites of our own with us but this was all about the grandson, so they stayed in the kite bag. We helped him with his kite, played in the sand and marveled at his boundless energy.
And how was the timing just right, you may ask? Well, we had our time on the beach and lunch at a local restaurant and were heading home when it began to rain. Our outdoor excursion was done and it was nap time. What could be better?
However, because of our house guest, my kite building project has been put on hold. I had to put it aside for reasons of safety (hot cutter, scissors, extension cords, etc) and curiosity (patterns, nylon ripstop, sewing machine, fabric markers, etc.). His, not mine. I have managed to complete a couple of trials of the base pattern to determine the best way to do the appliqué. I have to pay much more attention to fabric layering and the order of sewing the pieces on this project.
I will start on the actual kite skin when I can bring out the sewing machine and all associated equipment again. And when I can totally focus on what I am doing. In the meantime, I am enjoying just being a Grandma, watching “Curious George”, “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Dinosaur Train” and wishing I had just a little bit more energy.
At last, it was a sunny warm day for the weekly club fly. According to the weather report on my phone, the winds were around 8 mph. Which means it could be anywhere from 5 to 12 mph. I selected my kites and set off for the beach. As I drove to the parking lot, I noticed quite a few kites in the sky, mostly small deltas. And as I walked back up the road to the path to the beach, I could hear the buzz of an “old school” dual line stunt kite. I also noticed the wind felt a little stronger than 8 mph.
There were more people flying than had been in quite some time. The kites in the air included three small deltas, three 6-7 foot deltas, a set of Martin Lester legs and a penguin. And the satisfying “old school” buzz was from a Joel Scholz fish stunt kite. And then I saw the movement of the sand. It was blowing across the surface of the beach in waves. A clue that the wind was much higher than the weather report. I got out my trusty wind meter and it was blowing 17-20 mph.
There was not a thing in my bag that would safely fly in those winds. And I stood there thinking of all the high wind kites that were sitting at home. I was not the only person there with the same dilemma and so we stood around and talked about many things and waited, hoping the winds would die down little before it was time to go home. Just before everyone left, I took a chance and put up my Waif train. The wind was about 15 mph at this time and I had seen other trains flying in strong winds. It bobbed and weaved quite a bit and pulled quite a bit but it did stay up without damage. So I can truthfully say I flew a kite on this blustery day.
Later in the day, I returned to my kite building. It’s going to be a little more complicated than my past kite projects. And take up more space than just my craft room. Already I’ve lost the use of my dining room table. I can easily see the guest room being next. The target date for completion is our local kite festival at the end of October. Wish me luck.
I must apologize for letting this blog go unpublished for so long. Bad weather, family events, health issues and just life got in the way. And time flew by. Unfortunately, our kites weren’t flying half as much. We missed several of our favorite kite festivals. Even our local kite festival experienced its first cancellation and 25 years. As I attempt to resurrect this blog, it seems appropriate that it is also the start of National Kite Month.
We’ve managed to get to the beach a couple of times this past week. The wind was low and gusty but the sun was warm. I have acquired some new kites recently and finally got a chance to fly them. One is a custom Rokkaku built by Randy Tom. It is titled The Cat and is #2. Number 1 is owned by my friend Brett Dixon. It is a striking kite, looking like a tattoo in the sky.
Another is a train of kites I built at a kite builders workshop in Raleigh, NC last October. The workshop brought in Tasmanian kite builder Robert Brasington to show us how to build a couple of his more popular kites and some wind spinners. I opted to build the Waif Train. It is a multi-colored series of smaller kites with long organza tails. The complete train is made up of six kites. However, I’m sad to say I’ve only completed five. The sixth is still sitting on my sewing table. But I have flown the train a couple of times and it has always drawn appreciative looks. I am rather proud of it.
When all else failed, we brought out our collection of Skates. We have all the color varieties and enjoy getting them up as a group. The Skate was designed by Paul De Bakker and is made by Into The Wind Kites. It is a low wind, no wind and indoor kite. It goes up with almost no effort and hangs in the sky. I’m beginning to sound like a commercial. But it is handy to have at least one of these kites in the kite bag at all times.
Along with sharing what we are flying and when and how, I’m going to document my latest kite building venture. I have thought a long time about what project I wanted to undertake and have decided on building a train of five kites. The idea began during the annual American Kitefliers Association convention in Nags Head, NC. It was re-enforced after building the Brasington Waif train. Now the project begins and, hopefully, it will be completed before our local kite festival in October.
I hope anyone interested in kite flying will enjoy my ramblings and others will read this, become interested, and try kite flying.