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.
I guess you could say this is just a part of winter. The weather is either too cold and/or wet for flying or its beautiful and there’s no wind. Really it’s been grey and rainy a lot lately. While you would think this is good weather to work in the craft room making kites, I just haven’t been inspired. It’s taken a long time but I did finally finish the kite for the nursery. The one my daughter asked for last summer. It’s not that it was too complicated. I think my perfectionism got in the way as I worked on it. Anyway, it is done and it looks pretty good.
I have my next kite project cut out ready to sew. A pocket sled. However, it is going on hold. There is something new and different that has moved up to the front of the line. Something I’ve never tried before and haven’t read or seen anyone try lately. Last night I stayed up way too late cutting out the template for this project. I’ll make a smaller prototype first just to see if it will fly. If it does, then I will start on the real thing. This sounds like I really know what I’m doing. Oh, so far from the truth.
I added a “new” kite to my vintage kite collection. A Joel Scholz Butterfighter, signed and dated June, 1991. There’s a little bit of fine tuning that needs to be done to the sparring but it should not be a problem. I am lucky that I have a kite shop close by and they have just about every kite known to man. I was able to compare my kite with a brand new Butterfighter and see what needs to be done. Believe it or not, everything I need is found at the local hardware store. None of this specialty stuff that you can’t get from anyone except the manufacturer. Just dowels and O-rings. When I get it ready and have the day to fly, I’ll have photos.
That’s about all for now. Hopefully, things will start to change and I’ll have exciting kite news week after week after week. Until then…
I haven’t had a chance to fly kites for almost two weeks. Last weekend my daughter and her husband came home and we spent as much time with them as we could. They brought us some rather “shocking” news. Shocking in a good way. They are going to have a baby. Which means I am going to be a grandmother. I’m beginning to feel old. But I get to help decorate the nursery. My daughter is decorating with, of all things, kites. So I am going to build a special request kite to hang on the nursery wall. I’m going to start as soon as possible so it will be ready.After all, I only have seven months until the due date.
This weekend is the Carolina Kite Festival. Today it started with an all-day kite building workshop. I got my kit early so I could finish it for the workshop. For some reason, I had a hard time focusing on this kite. But I did get it done on time. I spent the day at the workshop answering questions, talking with participants and getting the pattern ready for my next build. There were twelve sewer there to build the kite. Most hadn’t sewn a kite before. A couple were old hands at it and finished without any problems or questions. There was only one person who didn’t finish the kite and she had to leave early. The kites were in a wide range of colors but all the same pattern. Although some of us made changes to the pattern to personalize the kite. Tomorrow at the kite festival we will all fly them at the same time. It should be a pretty good show. I took my kite out to the parking lot and held it by the bridle to see what it would do in the somewhat gusty winds today. It flew like a champ.
Tomorrow the festival starts in earnest. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t look like it will cooperate. Possible rain with extremely strong winds. And the temperature has dropped about ten degrees from what we have been having. t almost seems like this year’s festival has been cursed. First we had to change venues because our regular location was damages by Hurricane Irene and had to close until the first of the year. Thankfully we were able to get the required permits to hold the festival at the public beach access in town. Then we had to arrange with some of the smaller local motels for rooms for attendees. And they did step up and help out. To make things worse several of our regular attendees had family crises and would not be able to come this year. So we have a smaller work crew with just as many jobs to fill. And a smaller number of regular fliers to put kites in the air.
But the goal of the festival is to have fun and enjoy the camaraderie. And, of course, to introduce kiting to the general public and get them to join in. Many people come to see the kites and are usually amazed at the variety of dies and shapes and colors. And many bring a kite or buy a kite and join in. This is what it is all about. This year we will have a show of the large kites, kids’ kite building, candy drops for the kids, a show of the favorite kites of our kite club and friends and several mass ascensions. A mass ascension is when everyone flies the same type of kite at the same time. It makes for a great show of the different varieties of the same type of kite. We will also have an area for people to learn how to fly stunt kites. And maybe some of the attendees will coerced into putting on a display or two.
It’s all weather-driven. So there is no set schedule. Good weather, a great show. Bad weather, we make do with what we can. It is a lot of work and planning. But when it is over, we look back and say “It was fun” and start planning for the next one. So wish us luck and good weather.