Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kitebuilder Fall Newsletter, part two

Happy holidays kitebuilder! This email is the second part of the Autumn newsletter that was sent out last month, serving as a reminder of a couple "happenings" on the website. Click on the headings below for more information.


It is the time of year to decide the forums' two highest honors: 2007 Kite of the Year, and 2007 Kitebuilder of the Year. Throughout December, we are in the nomination process. In January we will vote and the announcement of the winner will be made on January 15 (or thereabouts :) If you haven’t been to the website lately, check it out. The kites being nominated are the best of the year and great photos have been posted. If you are an active member of the forum, make a nomination! Surely there is one kite that dropped your jaw to the table, or one kitebuilder that challenged your thinking and taught you something particularly useful. We need your input.


Have you peeked inside the auction room lately? Lots of cool kites and supplies up for bid. As of today, I see lots of fabric, inflatable line laundry items, deltas, double stars, eddy's, facets, a hot tacker, grommet tool, and an assortment of sewing notions. I even see a kit of all the spars and fittings you need to create one of those big circle kites made famous by Andre’ Cassagne, Pete Dolphin, and Jim Swanson. Support your fellow kitebuilder, send him a few bucks, and get a cool item in return! Remember, you must register and log into the forum to bid on auctions.


Still looking for ideas for your favorite kitebuilder? Kite Studio gift certificates are perfect! Let him pick out what he needs, when he needs it. As a reminder, if you are ordering a gift certificate online, and if it is the only item in your order, the shipping charge will be eliminated and delivered via US postal service. This "adjustment" will not appear during checkout. If you want the certificate sent to a different address and want a note included, be sure to add this info in the "comment" section during checkout. Kite Studio gift certificates are good for one year after the date purchase.


Lots of stuff on sale this month.

- Save 20% on Wrapped Graphite Spars - the lowest prices of the year.

- Our .65 ounce $3.00 sale is still going strong, however several colors are nearing the end - when it is gone, we will not be offering it again.

- Polyester Ripstop as low as $3.33/yard

- .75 and 1.5 nylons in assorted colors, as low as $3.00/yard

- 3,000 foot spools of kite line is selling out, and currently at $16.00 per roll. Price will drop two more times this year, but the inventory is getting very low on certain colors and weights. I guarantee, the price will be higher on Jan 1, 2008

- Great savings on the Engel Super-Pro Hot Knife, and Artograph Opaque Projector

- And more... log into the website.


New shirts, hats, stickers and buttons are added constantly to our closet; perhaps a few would be good additions to yours?

So that’s about it for now. The biggest thing in this email was to notify you of the year end awards. It really is an important decision and I would like your input and vote. As the forum continually grows, the significance of the award becomes greater and greater. Stop by for a visit, you might learn something too!

I can’t believe the year is almost over… Enjoy the holiday season, and extend my best wishes to your family for a great new year. Thank you for a successful 2007. New winds are on the horizon.

Steve Ferrel
Kite Studio
office: 610-395-3560


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Monday, November 12, 2007

Kitebuilder News - Fall 2007 NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2007

Welcome Fall… and welcome all members of the community. This is your ‘occasional’ newsletter from Kite Studio. I would like to update you on some kite happenings and review a few items on sale this month.... Read the full newsletter HERE

Sunday, October 07, 2007

AKA Convention - Saturday October 5

Results from the 2007 Comprehensive Kitemakers' Competition can be found HERE

Congratulations to John Pollock, 2007 AKA Grand Champion with his Edo kite, "Party Time"

More in depth coverage of the scores will follow with time. I'll also link the pictures. A big thank you to all who participated and a big congratulations to all the winners....

Friday, October 05, 2007

AKA Convention - Thursday October 4

The 2007 AKA Kitemakers Competition is history AND I KNOW ALL THE WINNERS! The award ceremony is Saturday night and I can't wait to make all the announcements. I am sure there will be a lot of smiling faces, and jumps of joy.

I've been adding to the online gallery of pictures HERE . As soon as I get time, i'll add captions. Most of the photos were taken by my roving cameraman, Rick Agar.

Here's a picture of my entire volunteer staff:

Everyone did a great job - I couldn't run this competition without them.

Overall the event went VERY well. 96 kites were entered, 42 of which were novices. I will not reveal the winners at this time, but I will say, some of the novices will take home awards. On a scale of 1-10, I instructed the ten judges to score the "average" kite at 6.0 and I am happy to report the quality in each four criteria (Visual Appeal, Flight, Craftsmanship, and Structural Design), was above average (7.33, 6.87, 7,77, 6.99).

I will spend the rest of today organizing photos, attending a judges meeting, and preparing for the awards ceremony. Later tonight is the Auction and I look forward to raising my hand to a few items. I poked my head in the auction door earlier today, and saw some spectacular pieces!

I'll report more later....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

AKA Convention - Wednesday October 3

Not a whole lot of time to write this morning, I am off to the field for the first time this week! Wednesday competition was held indoors due to rain. We judges 65 kites and have about 30 more to judge on Thursday. The overall quality of craftsmanship and structural design is ABOVE average... lots of good looking kites.

View the growing collection of pictures here:

2007 AKA Kitemakers Competition

More to report later tonight.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

AKA Convention - Tuesday October 2

One word. RAIN. :(

Tuesday in Ocean Shores was a great day for indoor activities. I began my day with seminar hosts, Ciff Quinn and Debbie VonBokern. They reviewed the four criteria of comprehensive kitebuilding competitions: 1) Flight & Handling, 2) Visual Appeal, 3)Structural Design, 4)Craftsmanship. Most of this information is described in Chapter 6 of the AKA Rules and Guidelines for Kitemakers' Competitions, but Cliff and Deb expanded the four page outline into a two hour presentation. From a judges eye, they discussed how and why a kite gets a score. Standing room only, the seminar generated many questions and answers.

Later in the afternoon, Cliff and I did an impromptu round table discussion on kite materials and and how they relate to kite design.

At 5:00, about twenty forum members gathered in the lounge and were treated to a free round of drinks - except for me. Mine was rather expensive :)
We all exchanged introductions and spent about an hour learning things about one another and putting faces to the written words we see on the forum. Some group pictures were taken, but I have yet to get a copy so I will have to post at a later time. As another treat, I unveiled the new forum feather flag!

I designed flag with some input from Cliff Quinn. Then Cliff found time to create this sample. We have to make a few adjustments to the panels, which won't take long, then the plan will be available for download. I'll supply the parts in kit form that will include the pole, fabric, and pre-cut insignia letters for "". Forum members can put their name on the bottom section and the blank white section is for your imagination. Make the banner your own with any graphic you come up with. This should be a great little flag to display your forum membership. But there's more! The coolest part of this flag is this: Each banner is a single piece to a puzzle. Take a close look and the shape. Imagine two (or more) of these banners side by side. They fit together! Included in the kit will be pieces of Velcro. When forum members get together at a festival, the feather flags can also be "put together" to form one large display. The flag represents the forum coming together just like the forum joins kitebuilder's around the world. I wonder what the record will be for the most number of pieces we can get together?

Wednesday we begin the Comprehensive Kitemakers' Competition. The forecast is a 90% chance of rain, so there is a good chance we will take "Ground Scoring" portion of the competition indoors. I am hopeful that Thursday will be dry and windy so we can get the kites up and score Flight and Visual Appeal.

Still no photos, but Wednesday will bring great camera opportunities.

Stay tuned for more info.....


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

AKA Convention - Monday October 1

I must be getting old. There was a day when I could easily take 24 hours of up-time without problem. Today, I'm not the same. I woke at 4 am in Pennsylvania and went to bed the following night in Washington at 1 am. The three hour time delay makes a big difference - and I feel it. Ahh the good 'ole days.

But the "today's" are still pretty damn good. Monday October 1 is day one for the AKA (American Kitefliers Association) annual convention in Ocean Shores. See convention details here:

From the moment I landed in the Seattle airport I was surrounded by friends I haven't seen for a year. When standing at the car rental counter, all I had to do was say I was traveling to Ocean Shores and someone next to me yelled, "Hey Steve, good to see you again!" So begins the first day of convention. It feels good to be here.

The highlight of the day was the world premier of the film, Kite Runner. The movie was filmed in part at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley, CA, using several AKA members. It will release to the world in early November, but 150 lucky convention attendees got special treatment - I was one of them. I wish I could comment on how well the film follows the book. Although I've owned a copy of the book for a couple years, I have yet to read it. I can however, certainly say the film was very good. Lot's of fighter kite action, and a script that will probably bring a tear. The story of a friendship that is tied together with a kite string. Forever lasting... sort of like the friendships we make here at convention. Go see the film.

As I look out my hotel window early Tuesday morning, I get the feeling there will also be a lot of wet eyes this afternoon. It is pouring rain and the forecast is not very dry. We shall see. A perfect day for attending workshops and elbowing up to the bar with a few friends. It's 9 am - I'm off to my first seminar.

Stay tuned... I'll report more.


PS: sorry, no pictures yet.... I'm working on it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

YouTube - Summer Kite Contest 2007

Summer Kitebuilding Contest

Six forum members compete in Kite Studio's Summer Kite Contest. View the entries here:
YouTube - Summer Kite Contest 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kite Building Videos

Activity TV

AKA Grand Champion, and's Kitebuilder of the Year, Cliff Quinn recently completed a series of nine kite videos for children. Produced by , each video demonstrates how to build different kites using paper, plastic, and ripstop nylon. The kite types are classified as Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert and include Rokkaku, Sled, Barn Door, Sauruga, Korean, Dragon, Della Porta, and Diamond.

The videos are stored in the "Summer Fun" section, or click here

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Kitebuilder, Martin Blais in the news

The Daily Times: A flying guitar, the Mona Lisa, Chinese dragons, a castle, a cow and geometric shapes — all kites — decorate the cafeteria ceiling at Sam Houston Elementary School thanks to a professional kite maker....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Challenge!

Here's a project for all of our kitebuilders... Are you up for it? And can you bring it down...?

Scott Nagle a Wired News challenges his readers to come up with a kite ferry solution using only a paper clip and plastic drinking straw. Surely our Kite Studio customers have an advantage.... Lets see who can do it. Click below for more details.

Wired News

Thursday, April 12, 2007

KiteBuilder News - Spring 2007 NEWS – SPRING 2007

Welcome Spring… and welcome all new customers and members of the community. This is your ‘occasional’ newsletter from Kite Studio. One of my resolutions for 2007 was to keep you better informed and to stay on top of emails. I think I am doing a better job in the email department, but noticed the last newsletter was in December, so I turned off American Idol, and started typing. Here’s what’s going on in Kite Studio land:

Last weekend was the kickoff to National Kite Month. I traveled to Washington DC for the annual Smithsonian Kite Festival. When the weather is warm, this is my favorite event. In the shadow of the Washington Monument, the temperature was in the upper 60’s, the sky was blue, and the winds were constant… a beautiful day. If the festival is an indicator of the upcoming season, 2007 is going to be a great year. It seemed a majority of kites were made with Kite Studio supplies; so if you were one of these contestants, thank you. If you were one of the winners, CONGRATULATIONS! Competition results will soon be posted on the Smithsonian website. You can view some of my personal photos HERE.

Since the last newsletter was sent in December, I realized I neglected to announce the outcome of two big events. In January, forum members voted for the 2006 Kite of the Year and KiteBuilder of the Year. In February, I announced the winners. KiteBuilder of the Year is an award to a forum member who goes beyond "a builder of kites." It represents active participation, asking questions, sharing points of view, motivation, encouragement, congratulation, and virtual pats on the back. This year’s winner deservingly went to Cliff Quinn of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.

The number of kites produced in 2006 was phenomenal. If you re-read ALL the forum posts in 2006, you will discover many projects made by a mixed bag of kitebuilders; many without a drive for competition or designation. Whoever the builder, I think the main reason we create is not for a trophy or recognition, but for self-satisfaction. Over time, the projects may get bigger and more difficult, but the driving force is still that feeling we get when the kite walks the line the very first time. In particular, there was one kite in 2006 that stirred that feeling in a lot of us... The Kite of the Year award went to “Man in Black” by Kelvin Woods from the United Kingdom.

Congratulations to both Cliff and Kelvin. Both of you represent what the forum is all about. Thank you for your participation.

While on the subject of the Kitebuilder Forum, I’d like to give a shout out to Gary Engvall. In this quarter’s edition of the American Kitefliers Association’s “Kiting,” Gary did a fine job writing the article: “Navigating Online Forums.” It points a lot of new members in this direction and helps shorten the learning curve when registering on the forum. If you are thinking about getting involved in any of the web’s discussion forums, check out the article. My biggest reminder to all, read the FAQ’s !

The kitebuilder forum has been very active. Current statistics show over 1600 members posting over 55,000 articles. If you want to learn about kitebuilding, our forum is STILL the place to be. (make sure you register to view all forums).

My ongoing quest for a “kitebuilder icon” continues. Several ideas have been posted online, but I am still not completely sold. I really would like something simple… something that alludes to kitebuilding. I really want some shirts and hats but I don’t like wearing billboards. I’d like a basic design that I can embroider at the heart along with the word “kitebuilder.” If you have any ideas, snap a picture of a basic drawing and email me. Of course, if your idea is used, free merchandise will be available.

Speaking of free merchandise, how would you like to win $100 Kite Studio gift certificate? All you have to do is build a new kite and have it finished by the end of April. But there is a catch - you must interpret the following theme:

It should be a fun contest to judge and I look forward to all the entries. Click HERE for more information.

While you are online, check the kitebuilder’s Auction. As I write this newsletter, several auctions are running and scheduled to end April 8, 2007. Offers include: a Prism Quantum Pro, Jon Burkardt’s Kabuki Saruga, Ron Gibian’s Serengetti Dreams Rokkaku, and a Kite Studio Fabric Grab Bag. Other auctions pop up throughout the month, so it should be one of your regular visits if you like good deals on kite stuff. Listing items in the kitebuilder auction is free as long as you are a registered member of the forum.

Stay tuned for another new feature. Coming soon is a fully searchable, interactive website created by, and existing for, the community. It is basically a kitebuilders' encyclopedia that archives information on all things related to kitebuilding; including Plans, Reference, TechSheets, and Profile information. This system grows every day as people add more information, text, and pictures. With time, the Knowledge Base, coupled with the Kitebuilder Forums, will evolve into the premier source for kitebuilding information. I should be able to give you more info in the next newsletter. All good things take time.

Jeeesh, I don’t think I am a very good salesman. I probably should have included this section at the top of the newsletter. To tell you the truth, all the stuff I wrote above excites me a whole lot more than my job of cutting fabric and packing boxes. But this is the kind of stuff that pays the bills so I really should mention it.

FABRIC: I’ve been selling THOUSANDS of yards of .65 ounce Ripstop nylon. I have seven colors for sale at a blow out price of $3.00 per yard. The fabric is 60” wide and is really good quality. It has a softer feel than our regular .75 ounce but still works great for kites, ground displays, and fabric architecture. Because of its “soft hand” it is ideal for soft kites. And at three bucks a yard, how can you go wrong? Click HERE for fabric selections, and then click on the color for more information.

LINE: I hate to sound like a skipping CD, but I need to tell you that my Line Liquidation sale is still going strong. Prices are the best you will find on the web and if you buy two rolls, you will save even more! If you want more than two rolls, give me a call and talk nice… I’ll see what I can do J

SPECIALS: Be sure to check our rotating sale items. Every month (or so) our specials change to offer discounts on different colors, weights, and sizes of fabric and framework. Click Here

Continuing our endeavor to support kitebuilders, we still feature ready-made kites for sale. If your non-building buddies are looking for a kite, maybe you could point them in the direction. While I don’t offer ALL the kites available in the world, I do list a few quality kites that are backed by the seal of approval from the original designers... your fellow kitebuilders. A percentage of every dollar you spend gets kicked back to the kitebuilder. Realize I am just getting started, so there are only a few builders listed but I will be adding more in the future. Each month a different kitebuilder is featured at 15% off. Barb Meyer is our April builder. Click Here for more information.

As always, we continue to offer the best prices in the country for one stop shopping for kite fabric, framework, and fittings. If there is anything you are looking for and cannot find in our catalog, give me a call at 610-395-3560. If your matter is urgent, call my cell at 610-533-3528. I also have many items not listed in our catalog and our on-site machine shop can make almost any fitting that you can imagine.

If you are a member of the American Kitefliers Association you can enjoy a 10% discount off all our regular prices… but you have to tell us! When you place an online order, be sure to include your AKA number and expiration date in the comment section during checkout. If you are not a member, you can join online HERE. When you sign up, remember who referred you…

So that’s about it for now. I wish all of you a safe and wonderful Spring season. Remember, April is National Kite Month…. Put your hot knife, spar saw, and sewing machine away for a few hours… Go Fly a Kite!

Steve Ferrel
Kite Studio - Go Build a Kite!
Measure once, buy twice!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Morning Journal - Bald eagle rescued

Just a reminder to all kite flyers, a kite drifting away with 500 feet of line can have consequences...

Read the story of a Bald Eagle rescued from a tree after it was tangled in string HERE