Kites on hand, updates to the shop…

I can’t believe it’s almost the last week of September! I also can’t believe I haven’t been to a kite event in over a year. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some wind and sunshine. As it turns out, there are four kite events coming up in my region in the next six weeks, and I’m going to try and make it to all of them!

I’ve got a couple of things happening that I’d like to share. Last time, I wrote about a new ordering system in the shop on my website. Well, I just put the finishing touches on a revamped version that I think is simpler, works better, and offers more choices. There are ordering pages for the M3, the Tsuru, and the 61/49. The best starting point for all three is the shop’s front page. There, you’ll always find the front doors for ordering a kite or a t-shirt. Starting today (Sep 23), you’ll also find a link on that page for kites on hand for immediate shipping.

Releasing a group of finished kites on a regular basis has been a goal of mine for quite a while, and it’s finally time to make it happen. The plan is to create a handful of kites that will be posted once a month. This month, I’ll be starting by posting a pair of Tsuru, one std, and one light. Look for those to be posted around noon, eastern time. They will be followed in a few days by a pair of M3s, and a pair of 61/49s. You’ll find them at that same shop link I posted above. But here it is again.

I’ll be shooting for releasing a batch of finished kites on the same day every month. I’m thinking “Third Thursday” has a nice ring to it. Now, I need to buckle down and make this happen! I’m looking forward to this as an opportunity to try out some new color combinations and patterns, and to have some fun.

Starting in October, the members of my email list will get a reminder of restocking a couple of days beforehand. If you have a buddy that might be interested in joining our list, please point them at a sign-up form.

Once again, thank you for being a part of the kmac fab. extended family! Take care.

New 61/49 page is up in the shop!

I’ve put the final touches (for now) on a new shop page for the 61/49, featuring 27 pre-configured combinations that can be ordered with a couple of clicks of the mouse! You’ll find some classic favorites, as well as a couple of new patterns that I think are fun and interesting.

The kites are grouped in three collections named for places that were important and memorable on the 61/49’s development journey.

I’m still refining the ordering system and combinations, but the page is up and running, and waiting for your orders and feedback! If you own a 61/49, please consider leaving a review!

A few changes around here…

As you may have noticed, there have been a few changes around these parts. The most noticeable change is that Blue Moon Kites is becoming Kmac Fab!

Ken McNeill Fab. (aka Kmac Fab.) has been the business name since 2013. You’ve seen it on every invoice and packing slip, as well as at the bottom of every website page. In 2017, I started using Blue Moon Kites again as a brand name, but over the last several months, I’ve come to the same conclusion I reached when I came back to making kites in 2013 – my personal and professional goals are best served by doing everything under my own name. Please be patient while I’m going through every little corner of the website, and making sure everything is current and correct.

Second up – After thirty years, I need to start charging extra for custom kites. It’s become painfully clear how much time I spend on custom orders before a single stitch is made. Between drawings and email exchanges, the time (and cost) adds up very quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the one-on-one contact that it takes to bring a custom kite to life. I’ve learned so much through that little slice of creative collaboration over the years. I’m just, like so many other micro-business owners and creatives, struggling to have a couple of pennies to rub together after the bills are paid.

For the higher-end kites, like the Ichiban, Reprise, etc, the “custom charge” has been rolled into the listed price, because they’re all custom. For the rest of the kites, which have a custom option, there will be a $40 “custom charge” added to your invoice. (postponed until the end of the year)

If you’ve been reading between the lines, you’re probably thinking that something’s missing in this little pricing plan. Aren’t all BMK/kmac kites custom? Well, they’re all built with the same care to exacting standards, but starting now, they won’t all have that block of time and expense on the front end. Let me draw your attention to my “pre-configured” (for lack of a better term) collections, which are available without the custom price! A good place to start is with a new shop page, where you can order either a pre-configured or full-custom M3! Check out the M3 page in the shop, which will open in a new tab. There, you’re able to choose from 32 pre-configured combinations(!) in your choice of Std. or Lt. framing. You’ll also find a page for the Tsuru with another 32 color choices. A page is coming in the next few days for the 61/49.

I’m going to break this here for today, and pick it back up soon on the news page. If you have any thoughts or questions, please share them in the comments section below.

An anniversary…

2019 was the 20th anniversary of the inception of Blue Moon Kites (now Kmac Fab). The beginning was longer and messier than I would have preferred, and there was that “vacation” a few years ago, but overall it’s been a good ride. It never would have happened without the friendship and support of a lot of fine folks along the way.

Mike Gillard and I first talked about it on the patio of the hotel we were staying at while attending the KTA show in Clearwater, FL in 1999. It became “Blue Moon” at least in part because there were two blue moons early that year.

In September of that year, I brought a handful of new kites to the festival at the Air Force Museum in Dayton. They were well received, and I was encouraged to move forward. After the festival, Holly (my wife) and I spent some time with Mike and his family at their home in Columbus OH, and started dreaming and scheming in earnest.   Continue reading “An anniversary…”

It’s a pattern…

Is it odd that I love making patterns? If I had to pick one thing that I enjoy the most about making kites (besides watching someone fly one of my designs with a big grin on their face), it would be making patterns. Maybe it’s because once I get a design to the point where I can do final refinements on the pattern, the rest of the process can be put on autopilot. Cutting, scraping and sanding the edges of a perfect progressive curve, making sure to leave enough of an entrance flat to make it easy to hem the edge smoothly and repeatably? Yeah, probably a little odd, but I’m OK with that. 😉

Moonie stops by for a visit

After a self-imposed exile to Costa Rica, my old friend Moonie showed up at 3 AM a couple of days ago with a case of good beer and a stack of Warren Zevon cassette tapes. He was mumbling something under his breath about kites and politics and how you just can’t find good grits in Central America. The only cassette player is in my old truck, so we sat out in the driveway until dawn drinking his beer, telling lies, and making big plans. I think we woke up the lady next door blasting Lawyers, Guns, and Money. We finished off the beer listening to Don’t Let Us Get Sick just as the sun came up over Hibriten mountain.

It’s sure good to see Moonie again. Don’t know how long he’s staying, but he’s welcome as long as he doesn’t tick off Holly, and brings by beer once in a while.

OK, where’s the colorizer?

Short answer- sorry, there isn’t one.

Longer version – I’m not publishing a colorizer for the kites.  I know, for some people, it’s a good tool to help visualize color combinations.  I prefer to be involved in the process of coming up with custom color combinations for those so inclined.

I’m continuing to take commissions for custom kite colors, but plan on being more hands-on (and perhaps more restrictive) about the way kites look when they leave my studio.  Simply put, I have a way that I’d like for my kites to look. Continue reading “OK, where’s the colorizer?”