Over the weekend of 8th and 9th February, the weather predictions were pretty dire. Storm Ciara was expected to arrive on Saturday night with winds across the country expected to be above 50 miles per hour and driving rain. So it was no surprise that there were no plans for a club fly-in. However, four of us had signed up for a workshop arranged by White Horse Kite Flyers, to be held in Swindon, creating kites designed by Alicja Szalska from Poland, which was to be held over the weekend.

Arriving at St Joseph's College for a 9am start, we introduced ourselves to fellow participants, 17 in total and waited for battle to commence. Prior to the workshop we had each chosen a design and colour scheme to build, ranging from simple to complex, which meant that each kite in the workshop would be unique. Following a brief introduction from Alicja we each collected our kits and started work.

The kites being built are called CiQuare, basically a square flat sail with disks sewn to it and a long tail, probably about 4.5 metres, made up of ribbons of material. The instructions included in the kit were detailed, and included some interesting sewing tips. The first stage was to sew all the disks onto the sail. The kits included a full size template and the disks had all been hot cut and had tiny pieces of double sided tape attached to help.

With all disks attached, the next job was to hem the kite all around, then reinforce the corners and centre with dacron. Finally, the bridle and frame are attached, and we are ready to create the tail. For most participants this had filled day one, so tail creation would be on day two.

The tails consist of five panels of 14 fabric ribbons, each about 60cm long, slightly narrower than the kite. The sixth panel ends with all the ribbons coming together.Each panel is edged with dacron. It is quite a time consuming job fixing the ribbons to each dacron strip with double sided tape, but finally with the tails finished they are ready for sewing. Great care is needed here to avoid catching the fabric ribbons under the needle, a few of us fell foul of this and had some unpicking to do. But with the tails finally completed, it was time to make up the bags, one for the kite and one for the tail. Both bags were constructed in completely new ways to me. Finally we had a finished product to be proud of, but unfortunately the weather didn't allow us to test them.

A word of thanks to Alicja for all her hard work in preparation for the workshop. Everything was excellent and must have taken ages. Finally a word of thanks to White Horse Kite Flyers for their organisation of the workshop. The lunch provided on both days was excellent (baked potatoes on Saturday and chicken pie on Sunday) and the meal on Saturday night enjoyable. It was good to meet some old friends and make some new ones, and I hope to see several CiQuare kites flying soon.

A couple of photos from the workshop below, lots more on facebook (search for White Horse Kite Flyers) and some on Flickr