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.

All I Wanted To Do Was Fly

The community kite fly day has come and gone.  An unwanted guest showed up and caused a cancellation.  The guest’s name — FLORENCE.  Hurricane Florence brought two days  of high winds and three days of rain.  And evacuations and curfews which kept us from the beach.  Even though I had thoughts of taking my Flexifoil out and flying in the higher winds.  Of course, no one would go with me.  And I had no re-entry pass to get over the bridge to the beach after Florence passed.

So let’s go back to a better time when we got together with a group of kite builders for a weekend of building.  The Keystone Kiters  Club of Pennsylvania sponsored a kite building workshop in the month of August.  The workshop is a major trip from North Carolina for a weekend but it is also a time of sharing and learning.  It can get intense.

This year we built a modified edo designed by Mike Mosman, an American Kitefliers Association Grand Champion Kite Builder.  The sail designs were completed at home so the weekend would be preparing and framing the kite.  I had a vision of what I wanted this kite to look like.  And I tried a different technique of appliqué.  After several evenings of sewing the sail was complete.  At the workshop, it took both days to hem, attach the cross-spars and vertical spars and bridle the kite.  The bungee cord arrangement for the vertical spars and the cascading bridle were new constructions for me.  That’s one of the reasons to travel to these workshops – to learn new construction techniques.  Especially those that you would never think of or figure out on your own.

The end result is a kite that flies beautifully, looks the way I had imagined it would and has stitching I’m proud of.  The kite is named “The Koi Pond”.

Fair Winds All

Kite Festival Weekend Starts Now

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.

Fair Winds All.

Sewing And Cutting, Sewing And Cutting

Wanted to fly today but, once again, the wind wouldn’t cooperate.  We have a couple of new Skydog kites to test fly.  Tried to fly them a couple of days ago before the sun set.  While the wind was stronger than today, it was not strong enough to get one of the kites into the air.  The other took some work but did eventually fly and fly quite well.  It just hung in the sky above our heads, no waving, weaving or wobbling.  Maybe tomorrow we can try again.

So instead of flying, I worked on a kite for the upcoming kite festival workshop.  I got my kite early so that I could get my kite finished for use as a sample.  Because of this, I’m moving rapidly into the position of a perfectionist.  I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not competing in the Nationals so it really doesn’t matter.  This is a fun, good-looking kite and I should be having fun making it.  And why is my kite a sample kite?  I have been given the assignment of workshop assistant instead of workshop participant.  Apparently people believe I already have the skills for a beginner class and have moved on.  We will see.  In one week, it will be only be a year since I made my first kite.

The applique sewing is complete and I am cutting away the unwanted layers of ripstop.  Tomorrow I have to get some more thread for hemming and pockets.  Then I need to do repair work on some of my kites so they will be ready for the festival.  Yes, I have been procrastinating.  I hate repair work.  Mostly it’s ripping out pockets and replacing them.

My next project is a kite for my daughter.  She wants to hang it on the wall in the spare bedroom.  So I had better get back to the work table.

Fair Winds All.