Now that the holiday chaos is over, we all can get back to the more important things in life – flying kites. The weather did not cooperate too much for us this past December.
Before Christmas, the usual kite flying day was wet and windy. We were so desperate to go to the beach, we got our morning biscuits and drove out on the sand to watch the waves through the windshield. It was actually a pretty relaxing way to spend some time. And we weren’t the only ones on the wet sand. Christmas Day was a total bust. The winds were so strong that the foam blowing off the waves looked like snow across the beach. The windshield of the truck was soon frosted over with salt spray and the waves were the highest we’d seen in a long time. I stuck my wind gauge out the window just to try to measure the wind. It was 27 mph with gusts near 40 mph. It was shaking the truck. We didn’t stay on the beach long.
The day after Christmas was the weekly kite flying day. And the change in the weather was amazing. The waves were still large and crashing on the shore. But the sun shone and the temperature was agreeable. And the winds were just right for kites. We got out the kites we received as Christmas presents. I got a Stratadelta in my favorite colors – red,white,black,gray. John got the new Manta delta. They flew great.
We were unable to attend the New Year’s Day kite fly. From what I’ve been told, it was great. Several of our flyer friends came from out-of-town and filled the sky with their kites. Hated missing it but grandchildren come first and we had a good weekend with a second Christmas and time with the family.
So on to a new year. Already there are plans for some new kite builds and a couple of new kite gatherings. Hopefully, this year will be smoother and our kiting adventures will continue.
Fair Winds All.
On this past Labor Day the Mile High Kite Festival was held on Beech Mountain, NC. This is a festival we never miss. First, because we get to see some kite friends that we don’t see more than once or twice a year and, second, because we get to the mountains for the long weekend. (And get away from the mad tourist surge at the beach.) This year was a very unusual kite fly. There was wind. At times, too much wind. The sun shone the whole weekend and the temperature was perfect. However, the wind was gusting into the twenties. Because we fly on the side of a steep hill at the top of the mountain, kites are seldom anchored and left to fly on their own. This was a good thing as no kites were lost to the extreme gusts. The banners that were put out to decorate the flying field took a beating. And some of the vendors tents as well.
This year I flew more kites and took less pictures. Probably a result of having wind. I got my two latest kite builds in the air; the 3do and the Stretch Tucker parafoil. Both of these were online workshops as the in-person workshops were canceled this year. The parafoil flew like a champ. The 3do needs some extra tweeking. Not unusual for a new build. I didn’t realize it until just now that both of my latest applique designs were Oriental themed. Other kites made it out of the bag off and on all weekend. That’s a lot for me to fly on the mountain. Unfortunately, there was no kite builders competition this year. Maybe because I was the only kite builder to bring something. So, by default, I awarded myself “Best In Show”.
After sitting home for a year because of the pandemic, walking up and down the hill was quite strenuous. You never realize the effect of inactivity until you’re inactive for a period of time and then try to pick up where you left off. We stay an extra day after the festival to sight see a little, maybe fly our kites a little and avoid the holiday traffic. This year we mostly napped. We did find a new coffee shop which also had great pastries. I can only hope they stay open and are there next year.
That’s about it for now. Stay tuned for more updates and latest kite flying news.
Fair Winds All.
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
All week long it was sunny or moderately so. Then our community kite fly day arrives and it rains. We have had enough rain this past fall and winter to last an entire year or more. The only good thing about poor weather is that it forces me to get back to kite building. I’ve had a pattern on my computer for quite a while now and have decided to put it on a rokkaku. To make things a little easier, the width of the rokkaku is going to be the width of my fabric. That way the sides will be parallel and I only have to cut the top and bottom points when the design is done. And I only have to worry about centering the design side to side when I’m transferring it to the material. Centering top to bottom can be done later.
It will be a little tricky working on this kite as it is larger than my work table. After making the modified edo, I told myself I wouldn’t make anymore large kites. An yet, here I am again. It will be approximately four feet by six feet, give or take an couple of inches. I’m going to use a Ray Wong rokkaku as a plan for framing and bridling. His always fly well and that may reduce some of my trial and error later.
I really wanted to do this kite in the blue that was on the drawing. However, I don’t have a good middle hue blue that would work. So I’ve decided on a teal and a golden yellow. Don’t panic! The branches and bird accents will still be black. You’ll just have to wait to see what the golden yellow is for.
And so the project begins. Wish me luck.
Fair Winds All.