We’re Home From The Retreat

Another Maryland Kite Society Kitebuilders Retreat is in the books.  We spent four days with other kite builders and non-builder friends at a resort in Maryland with the intention of bringing home a unique kite.  The presenter was Chris Hanson from Washington state and brought the plans for completing the Solar-Flier kite, a cellular kite of his own design.   To make sure the kite would be completed on time, we were to pre-cut the panels necessary and pattern them as desired.

The first day was for unloading and setting up your work station in the ballroom.  while it seems like you take a lot of “stuff” to a workshop, you never know what you will need or what will be handy at that time or what someone else may need.  And, yes, all my kite building things are in matching totes and bags.  It keeps me organized and together in a room full of people with their totes and bags and things.  On a side note, the long black container is a fishing rod holder for transporting rolls of ripstop fabric.

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Sewing didn’t begin until first thing Saturday morning.  All through out the weekend, there were short talks by several members of the host kite club.  These highlighted topics on kite building and uses of kites other than recreation.  Of course, one can’t sit in front of a sewing machine for eight-plus hours.  Especially when it was seemingly endless hours of sewing edge binding on each panel.  Everyone wandered around the room, taking breaks, talking with friends, seeing what others were working on and generally enjoying the day and the time together.  Also a bag raffle was set up in the lobby.  You could come-and-go as you please, checking on items and soul-searching as to “want” versus “need”.  “Want” usually wins out.

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Saturday night is a banquet catered by the restaurant in the resort.  A time to sit and talk and eat great food and rich dessert and drink wine.  Of course, I ate too much.  Then it was back to the ballroom for the auction.  The loud auction.  And to get the results of the bag raffle.  I came home with several new-to-me kites, some ripstop and the books I wanted.  Mostly pretty good deals.   And, I’m happy to say, I didn’t spend as much as I thought I would.

Sunday was assembly day.  Time to sew together all the panels, make the pockets for the small support rods and slide them in place, and attach end caps and bridle.  The tricky part was to make sure all the panels were facing the right way.  It was so easy to have the right side facing in instead of out.  Especially on the inner panels with the cutouts for the rods.  It felt so good to finish without any major errors.

This year there was something different.  Take-out Chinese.  Sunday night we had a Chinese buffet.  A large amount of Chinese food was brought in from a local Chinese restaurant.  Paper plates, plastic utensils and help yourself from the takeout containers.  It was fun.  And there was a variety of food to sample.  Of course, dinner could be on your own if Chinese was not to your liking.  But it was fun and I have to find out what restaurant was used for our next trip and a dinner on our own.

Monday was finish up, pack up and clean up.  And many, many good-byes.  I did get a bag made to bring my kite home.  Now, I have to make a tail to match.  Two options here – fuzzy tail or banner tail with sun motif.  Decisions, decisions!

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Chris Hanson, Me and my Solar Flier

Fair Winds All

 

 

 

 

 

What You Do When You Can’t Fly

The community fly day came with a clear blue sky, a bright sun and an empty beach.  However, it also had a cold temperature and no wind.  Probably would have flown despite the cold if there would have been some wind.  Instead the day was spent in front of the sewing machine.

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Six panels needed to be appliquéd before leaving for the Maryland Kite Society’s Kitebuilders Retreat.  So the afternoon was spent pushing material through the sewing machine and praying that I wouldn’t make any serious mistakes or the machine wouldn’t jam up on me.  Last year, the worse happened and my machine ended up in the repair shop mere four days before leaving for the workshop.  This year, happily, everything ran smoothly.

All six panels were sewn and the excess material was cut away on three of them.  Things were gong so smoothly,  I kept looking over my shoulder waiting for something to happen.  It was just going too good.  The last of the panels were cut away the next day.  And, amazingly, after having a late start, I was finished early.

So now I just have to get all of my supplies, tools and miscellaneous together and ready to put on the truck.  And take a last look at the weather to figure out what clothes to pack.  It is going to be even colder.  I just hope there isn’t going to be a snowstorm while we’re there.  It’s been a while since I’ve driven in snow and I know I’m out of practice.

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Fair Winds All

 

 

 

A Time Of Quiet Desperation

The weather has truly been against us as far as the community kite fly.  And this day was no exception.  Early morning rain, cloudy skies and high winds made it dark and gloomy and questionable for flying.  However, there were a couple of desperate people who were willing to take a chance and put a kite in the air.  I got some heavier line and flew my Illusion delta with its tube tails.  It handled the winds very well.  My flying buddy put up the little Spinner kite.  It just hung in the gusty winds and spun itself into a blur.  The line vibrated in a shallow repeating shallow sine curve.  It really is a fun little kite.  Because the temperature was mild, people were out walking the park.  And that little kite drew a lot of attention.

The kite build I began in the last post has been put on hold.  Instead, I am going to the Maryland Kite Society’s Kitemakers Retreat in Ellicott City, MD next month.  I’ve never been to this four-day kite building marathon and am nervously looking forward to it.  Several of my kite builder friends have been encouraging me to go, so this year instead of going to Kitemania in Florida, we’re going north.  The featured presenter is Ron Gibian and I will be making a kite of his design.  This is the 40th retreat so there are going to be some special activities.  The gem for a 40th anniversary is the ruby.  So one of the events is to build something with the anniversary/ruby theme.  So I am starting a banner with ruby gems on it.

This banner was meant to be, as a friend of mine was clearing out her stash of fabric and gave me some large pieces of nylon banner material.  And, by coincidence, they were red and black.  I’m hoping this turns out well as I’ve never made a banner before.  So I’ve checked out some banner patterns and instructions and examined some commercial banners to see how they’re made.  I think my idea will work.  Keep your fingers crossed.

The Beanie Babies as weights idea was stolen from another kite builder friend.  My bean bag weights were packed away and I have two drawers full of these little creatures courtesy of my grown daughter.  Like most children, they leave half of their “stuff” behind when they move out to live their own lives.  I hung on to these and will have them for the grandchildren when they come to visit.  Maybe I can send them home a couple at a time until the drawers are empty.  Or at least reduced down to only the ones I’m using as weights.  What do you think?

Fair Winds All

 

 

 

 

 

After The Storm

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.