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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.