Bob and Charmayne's kites made in 2006

2006 is nearly complete. Another good year of kite building, two classes taught (MKS and Ft. Worden) plus several excellent kite festivals at home and abroad.  Our new kites this year included 2 built for friends, 2 cotton and wood historical kites plus a modern materials replica, a soft kite, some line laundry and new parasled, and Bob's Christmas kite.

Potter kite.  We made a red Potter for Jim Day but before giving it to him, we took it to Maryland as our sample kite.  There are numerous red Potter's now on both the West Coast and the East Coast. Over a dozen Potters were completed at the Maryland kite retreat and 4 more should be done in time for summer flies.

King of the Airs

For Ft. Worden Kitemakers Conference 2006, we taught a replica Roi des airs, or King of the Airs. Just before the conference, we decided to make the canvas and bamboo and wood one. I have to admit, it was far easier than the replica and ...

... it flies very nicely!

King of the Airs


We made Falk Hilsenbek's Ft. Worden class kite: the Monobloc. It is cotton and spruce and nails and glue and twine. A classic! It is a very nice flier. Like the rest of our classic kites, it gets to stand in the living room for a day or two after it flies at the beach to completely dry. It is the downside of the cotton kites and our sea air.


Hey! We have a new 2 meter Parasled! We were very concerned our original parasled had been damaged after a saturated takeoff from the not-so-frozen ice at Kites On Ice last year. We cut out the new parasled and I was busy on the appliqué when Bob discovered what the problem was with the original Parasled and corrected it. That was happy news so we now have 3 excellent "sky trucks" for the line laundry.


The theme for the Fanø Classic this year is simply German kites. Our new bird is by Arno Haft. What a fantastic flier! It will fly in barely a breath of wind and will stay happy throughout the day as the wind increases to fairly strong. We took him down as the sand was lifting off the beach.

Haft bird kite  Haft bird kite flying

beginnings of the Pujo
The beginning of a Pujo kite. We started it last year. It flew only with huge tails. It definitely needs its head and tail.
Bob tuning the Pujo
While on Fanø, Bob tuned the Pujo.
Pujo kite
And now we can clean up all the rigging lines.

Mouse sand bags for Cat Kites. I made several of these using an old pillow pattern. The kite line gets larks headed to his tail. Mouse sand bag Mouse sand bag
soft mask kiteWe decided late in 2005 that it would be good to have a big, soft version of our mask kite. The original appliquéd mask we made years and years ago is quite small, about 15 inches tall and is a flat and bowed, sticked kite. The new one is about 1.5 meters tall and is completely soft. It flies fairly well with a long beard and a sizable 2 mask kitesdrogue to help tell this round kite which way is up! It was a work in progress for a few months but we are happy with it now and it adds one more soft kite to our growing number.  

For our friends Daggie and Torsten Neurath from Dortmund, Germany, we made a Twisted Log Cabin kite in Daggie's favorite colors, lavender and green.

Daggie's und Torsten's Drachen

Bob figured out how to square the corners on each twist.

We have another Polyhedra piece of line laundry now. This one's shape is amazing. It tookline laundry star about 6 hours of sewing and the use of mesh inside to help with the shape but actually is quite simple to construct. It is a little too small for the Polyhedra line (see the 2005 gallery) and so it will fly on the purple and fluorescent yellow line.

purple and fluorescent yellow line laundry

tree line laundry

We saw the above piece of pole art in 2000 at the Long Beach kite festival. Click on the photo to see John Overmier, the maker.  He called it a tree. The memory of his creation remained but we did not pursue making one of our own.
On Fanø in 2006 we saw a similar piece, bigger and flying as laundry. Many thanks to Margret Vollbrecht of Köln, Germany, for sharing her piece with us. I used many scraps of ripstop and cut triangles after Bob cut a hard template for me. They were laid out on the floor in a random color pattern. Sewn-in lines connect the triangles. There is a ring of thin rods to hold the opening. We use a very good swivel as it spins rapidly in higher winds. And it is pretty lazy in light winds as it slowly revolves. line laundry tube

And so a new piece of line laundry is born!  Bob doubled the size of Margret's triangles to give us a big, long, showy tube. It revolves in the air due to the turbin formed at the back end. We call it our Christmas Tree. Go figure.
Sticked and ready to fly

I started Bob's Christmas kite for 2006 in August. It is a pear top kite, not often see flying today. The original kite is just 27 inches tall and 19 inches wide. I decided it would be grand to see this kite flying again.

I saw the original silk kite on eBay earlier in the year. It sold for a whopping $310.00. The auction write-up started: "Antique very rare and unusual 1800's SILK soldier kite with Zouave figure climbing a ladder to a frightened moon. "Nous Irons Conquerir La Lune" - in other words "We will Conquer the Moon" - Fabulous design with red, blue, white and gold colors."  The 6 inch eBay photo was not a good enough quality to have it printed on ripstop to the original 27" size which was my first thought.


My other option was an appliquéd kite skin. This would also allow me to make the kite whatever size I desired. I spent quite a bit of computer time cleaning up the photo before I could transfer the drawing to my white fabric.

I used 2 different colors of beige,  2 colors of gold, red, blue, brown, and black. There are other colors and different numbers of layers on top and underneath both the golds and beiges to get the colors I wanted. In fact, most of the colors have layers in places to give different colors. The sewing finally started in October. It was quite awhile before I cut the skin to shape and proper size - I decided to make it about 7 feet tall.

flying in a lovely blue sky

Pear Top kite close-up. 


I finished the tassels and two 30 foot long tails December 23. Nothing like cutting it close! Bob was certainly surprised Christmas morning. By noon he had the rods in the kite. He has put an extra spreader at the wide point in the curve. Fiberglas rods are encased in a sleeve to hold the curve of the pear top and he used carbon rods for the additional spreader and the spine.  Both spreaders are tied to the carbon spine. It had the maiden voyage at the New Year's Day fly in Seattle.