by Suzanne Labry
A Quilted Kite
Spring is here, and in cities all over the world, one of the most iconic ways to celebrate the season is with a kite festival. Often accompanied by kite flying contests, stunt kites, flying art, music, food, and games, kite festivals bring out the kid in everyone, as kite flying cuts across generations in ways that few other activities do.
Winter-weary folks take advantage of blue skies and warmer weather to get outdoors, share a picnic in a park with friends and family, and let their imaginations soar along with the colorful airborne wonders decorating the sky.
The oldest kite festival in the United States takes place in March in Austin, Texas. Held annually since 1956 in the city’s 100-year-old Zilker Park, the free event attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of kites. Only homemade, single-line kites are accepted. Tournaments (with youth and adult categories) include Highest Angle Kite, Steadiest Kite, Largest Kite, Oldest and Youngest Kite Flyers, and Most Unusual Kite. A couple of years ago, one of the more unusual entries was a kite quilt.
Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Flying Quilt! Photo
courtesy of Catherine Cureton.The kite quilt’s maker was Austin-based quilter Catherine Cureton.
She shares her story here:
I decided to make my own kite so that I would have something fun and unique to take to the annual Zilker Kite Festival in Austin. My spring-colored quilting remnants served as artistic inspiration and several internet how-tos helped with the technical side of kite building. I didn’t follow the instructions exactly because
I was looking at a few other tutorials at the same time, and
I got turned around with all of the different instructions. So, the day of Kite Fest, our kite didn’t actually fly! I was very disappointed since I had stayed up so late the night before building it, but I didn’t give up!
We replaced the spars (rods) with slightly thinner dowels (less dangerous!) and put them on the correct side of the kite (my biggest problem was trying to fly it upside down all day…Hooray for late night tutorial misreads!). I also added pockets for the rods to go in on each corner and modified the way I finished the edges. Then, we made the tail bigger to add some more weight. Later, We went back out to a smaller park for a picnic and tried the kite again, this time with total success! We let out about 150′ of string, to my best guesstimate.
It is so much fun to fly and always gets a ton of compliments. I would encourage anyone who wants to create a unique project for their next springtime picnic to try making a kite. It is a simple project that is easy to personalize.
Here are some simple instructions for anyone wanting to try it: