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?
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.