Well, the virus has caught up with us. The beaches have been shut down. The State Park is closed. There isn’t another good place to fly here. All of the school play fields and the soccer fields are surrounded by buildings and trees. Until I can find another suitable place, I must find an alternative. And that alternative is kite building.
So I have two projects on the table. Although I really don’t need more projects as there are a couple of unfinished projects and about half a dozen repairs already on the table. I guess I just enjoy appliqué over repair and frame construction.
So I’ve got to get the new patterns on paper in the actual size I need. That, in itself, was a project. First I had to get the designs off my computer and onto an SD card. That was easy. Next I had to get them traced onto large sheets of paper. Well, I don’t have paper large enough so I had to piece segments of paper together. After taking a picture down, I taped the paper to the now blank wall.
Then I set up my LED projector, plug in the data card containing the image files, and display them onto the paper. This takes up some time as I’m moving the projector back and forth until the image is displayed the required size. It was quite the balancing act.
Finally I could trace the designs onto the paper. Now I’m ready to cut fabric and plan out the appliqué sequences. Looks like I’ll be on my knees as the plans are bigger than my table. Thank goodness the living room has carpeting and I have a couple large cutting mats.
The other is a older kite style that I found in an old kite book, Kite Flight by Jack Botermans and Alice Weve. It’s called the Russian Giant. This book was published in 1986 and the framing instructions call for dowels. I’m going to try and adapt it to either carbon or fiberglass rods. We’ll see how that goes.
So we’ve had two days in a row of kite flying. Can you believe it? One was the community kite fly day and the other was a day too beautiful to stay home.
The weekly community fly started out chilly. It never really warmed up much but was rather pleasant since the wind was low. No wind chill. Yes, the wind was low so it somewhat restricted what kites I flew. I pulled out two of my go-to light wind kites bag. The Skate by Into The Wind and the Dunton-Taylor Box. Both jumped around in the sky as the wind was coming out of the north and having to pass over and between the beach houses. tried to fly my Emong, a glider kite by Flying Wings, but it preferred to glide back down rather than catch the wind and climb.
It just felt so good to be back on the beach with kites in the air. A sure sign spring will arrive soon and we will be flying more often. And, believe it or not, the following day was even better.
The temperature jumped up at least ten degrees and the wind picked up and came off the ocean. The best kind of kite flying wind. We put off a few of the household chores and headed back to the beach. This time with the intention of flying some new acquisitions.
This was to be the inaugural flight of the cellular kite I built at the Maryland Kite Society Workshop. I named it Sunshine (for obvious reasons). And I wanted to fly the mermaid kite I made at the Keystone Kiter’s Workshop last year, the Tametomo. She hadn’t seen much air time.
During the Maryland workshop, we picked up some kites to add to our collection. And, of course, we had to put them up as soon as we possibly could. John got a square-headed Skydog dragon kite. It has the Skydog logo on it and matches his Skydog rokkaku kite. I got a Joel Schulz parrot kite by Go Fly A Kite. Both are in perfect condition. And both loved the wind and looked great.
Here’s hoping for more perfect flying days to come.
Still waiting for some kite flying weather. Seems it is either warm with no wind or rainy and gusty. And when the weather does cooperate, I have something else that has to be done or somewhere else to be. The kite flying gods are against me.
So what does one do on a community kite fly day when there is no community kite fly? We hang out at the local kite shop, visit, see what new games and puzzles have arrived and play a little cribbage. Of course, I am the undisputed cribbage champion. But don’t tell Don at the kite shop that, he claims I cheat.
Since I’ve been unable to fly, I’ve been working on various art projects for exhibition in local galleries. I really stepped out of my comfort zone with the most recent work in mixed-media. Even there, kites are never far from my mind. One of my pieces is a miniature kite made of bamboo skewers and plastic, colored with alcohol inks. It is flying in a blue sky with puffy white clouds. One way or another, I have put “color in the sky”.
It finally warmed up a little and I was really ready to fly some kites. It had been over two weeks since I had put a kite in the sky. Then the “Sunday Curse” occurred. Blue skies, bright sun and absolutely no wind. Not even enough to make the sea oats tremble. The weather prediction was for low winds so I had the light wind kite bags out. I even dug out the fighter kites which I don’t know how to fly but was hoping for a lesson or two. Instead I stayed home and planned out the banner tail for the Solar Flier kite
The next two days were nothing but rain, with predictions for two more wet days. Perfect days for sewing up the tail. I decided to edge bind the tail so it would have the same appearance as the kite itself. This either makes me a glutton for punishment or my sewing skills have progressed enough over the past few years that sewing 1/4 inch binding for over sixty feet doesn’t bother me any more. After two intense days in front of the sewing machine, the tail is done. All thirty-four feet of it.
The question now is whether to appliqué matching emblems on the tail or leave it plain teal with a yellow taper end. The little suns would only be four inches across which poses an extra challenge to sewing. Of course, my kite-builder friends say it needs something to break up the long teal color. I may try a sample on scrap material and, if it goes well, add suns to the banner tail. But, believe me, I’m in no hurry. In the meantime…