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It’s been a week since hurricane Florence blew through our area.  The devastation is horrible.  So many people have lost everything they own.  So many people have no home to come back to after evacuating.  We stayed through it all and are very glad we did.  It minimized our damage to just a couple of ceilings and shingles lost.  After spending the week cleaning and removing debris, I was looking forward to a community kite fly as a means to get away from it all.  Unfortunately, Fort Macon State Park is closed.  For how long, we have no idea.  They are doing damage assessment and repair and have to see how much beach remains after the storm.

Being on the “right” side of the a very slow-moving storm results in a lot of beach erosion.  Some areas now have a four-foot drop to get to the beach.  Some have lost the beach and the first row of dunes.  And, oddly enough, some areas show no erosion at all.  The quirks of a hurricane.  So it may be a while until there will be another community kite fly.  We hope not.

So I’ll take us back to a more pleasant time.  To a kite building workshop which was held this past July.  A couple of NC kitebuilders decided at the beginning of the year that it would be nice to have Robert Brasington hold a kite building workshop in NC.  One was held four years ago in Raleigh, NC and it was about time for a return visit.  A number of builders from NC, SC and VA were definitely interested so the planning began.  The location this time was Morehead City, NC by popular demand.  Conveniently located so the builders and spouses and families (should they decide to tag along) could spend some time at the beach.

 

Thirteen builders converged, ranging in experience from complete novices to master builders.  The majority chose to build the 3/4 stealth delta kite in varying colors.  The delta was my choice as I had never made a delta before and I truly admired the Brasington deltas.  His technique of using adhesive and multiple templates is very different from what I normally do so this workshop was a learning experience.  But that is why I like to attend workshops.  I’m always open to new ways and, sometimes, easier ways to build a kite.

The camaraderie during the weekend was grand.  Taking breaks from sewing to visit with people I only see once or twice a year was one of the best parts.  Having to hem three incredibly long tails for the delta was the worst.  Unfortunately, some people had to leave early on Sunday and others were in a rush to go to the beach and fly their new creations.  So we missed getting a group photo.  All in all, it was a great weekend and one which many of us are looking forward to doing again.

Fair Winds All.

We spent the Labor Day weekend at the Mile High Kite and Craft Festival in Beech Mountain, NC. This tiny town of about 350 people has hosted this festival for the past twelve years. We’ve attended the last six. It is a gathering of kite people from several neighboring states and kite clubs. The weather hasn’t always cooperated but the fellowship has been good regardless.

This year it didn’t rain. Yeah!!!!! But the wind didn’t attend either. Saturday was an open fly and a kite builders competition. The chamber of commerce was giving away small sled kites to the children attending the festival. After decorating the kites, there were a lot of kids and adults running up and down the side of the mountain getting their kites to fly. There were a wide range of kites brought from home or purchased at the vendors’ booths. Whether the kites would fly or not, there were still a lot of smiles all day.

MileHigh1

There was just enough wind for the entries in the competition to fly for the judges. Five kites were entered in three categories. The most competition was in the Flat-and-Bowed category with three entries. The other categories, Soft Kite and Stunt Kite, had one entry each. All kites were judged for the benefit of the builders. After flying, the judges went over each kite with a fine-toothed comb, asking questions and giving advice on what was good and what needed improvement. For me, that was the best part. I learned a lot. The winning kite of the day was my Fled entitled “Smile”

Smile2

Sunday was the official festival day. The sound system was set up, banners and ground displays lined the demo field, and the flyers were ready to put on a show. But, again, the wind decided not to show up. All the kite fliers pulled out their light wind kites and tried to get things up in the air. And, again, kids and families were running up and down the mountainside with all manner of kites. Some flew for a bit and some were just dragged along the ground. Yet, there were still smiles on faces all day. During the dead calm times, there were boll races for young and old and giant soap bubbles floating across the field. There were three remarkable demos performed on Sunday. One was a ballet using a white indoor Rev, another was a pairs stunt kite ballet and the third was a ballet using a standard Rev (the flier spent a lot of time walking backwards). Amazing feats in little to no wind. One enterprising young man ran up and down the mountain pulling his giant octopus behind him. It should be noted he only did it once.

MileHigh2

I did fly my Dunton-Taylor box and my sport kite, Wisp II, a few times. The Skate wouldn’t go up and we didn’t think to pull out the Laima. In between flying attempts, we visited with old friends and met new ones. From our point of view, it was a great weekend. We’re looking forward to next year on Beech Mountain.

Banners

Fair Winds All.

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.

Next Generation of Kiter

The Next Generation of Kiter

Next Generation of Kiter

The Next Generation of Kiter

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.

Trial Applique

Trial Appliqué

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.

Fair Winds All

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.

18.2 MPH

18.2 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.

The Dining Room Table

The Dining Room Table

Fair Winds All.

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.

TheCat

The Cat

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.

WaifTrain

Brasington Waif Train

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.

Skates

The Three Skates

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.

Fair Winds All.

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