Issue 35: Crazy Eddy

Hello…  No, I’m not opening a used car dealership. In fact, I’m a kitebuilder.

My name is Terry Thillmann and I live in Calgary, Canada. Crazy Eddy is (will be) an arch of kites made and contributed to by people from all over North America, and maybe even the world.
This, and the following, article will track the building of Crazy Eddy from the initial conception, to the completed arch. Let’s get started shall we.

A brief history.

I started building my own kites about 6 months ago. Since then, I’ve had a great deal of fun and enjoyment with my kites. I’ve been sticking to building single line kites. Most of which have been quite successfull. Most recently a train of 5 mini Della Porta kites and a full size Della Porta with a ‘Blazing Star’ pattern.

The first kite arch I ever saw was at the kite festival in Pincher Creek last year. John Freeman had one up which contained 80 kites. I fell in love with it right then. And ever since, I’ve had it sitting there in the back of my mind. I’d pull it out now and then and re-examine it. I even went so far as to calculate exactly how much fabric, line, and spar material I would need. But then the idea would just go back to the back of the mind.

About a month ago, the kite arch came back to mind. This time though, another idea came with it. Build each Eddy out of scrap fabric useing the ‘Crazy Quilting’ method. This means to just sew pieces together whichever way they fit to make a larger piece. Then, cut the kite out of that larger piece.
Well, what a great idea I thought. But, sitting there looking at my meager scrap pile, I soon realized that an arch of 60 kites would take a lot of scrap. And, more importantly, a lot of time. Ok, so, the amount of time didn’t bother me. I’ll just build a few Crazy Eddy kites now and then from whatever scrap I have. But, this too seemed like I wouldn’t get a decent arch for a very long time.

I’m a member of an on-line community of kite builders and crafts-people at It was here that I first posed the question, “Send me your scraps?” I asked if anyone would mind packaging up thier scrap material and sending it to me to help build an arch of kites. The question recieved quite a few interesting suggestions and help.

A few days later, I dove in myself and started on building a template for the Crazy Eddy.

Click here for the Crazy Eddy template! allows kite builders to create threads in which to track, on-line, the progress of building a kite. Any member can create thier own thread to highlight the creation of a new kite. I created just such a thread for the new Crazy Eddy and asked again if anyone would like to send scraps, or even better, build a few Crazy Eddys and send them to me.

Current Status:

Well, it’s been only three weeks since that time and it just goes to show you that ‘no one is going to help you until you help yourself. After beginning the project myself by posting the template and first kite, the response has been awesome. I have a total of 30 kites now. AND, enough scraps of fabric to choke an elephant!

The first six kites in the arch are my own. They were my first attempts at the Crazy Eddy. The Eddy kite itself is really quite a straight forward kite. But sewing them scraps together can be a bit of a challenge at first. Also, I only had time to make 6 six kites before the rest started showing up!!!

kiteguy (aka. David Ellis), all the way from Kansas, sent me a giant box stuffed full of fabric. A flea couldn’t sneeze in there it was so packed. A vast and plentifull field of color soon sprang out of that box and covered my floor almost two feet deep when I did open it.

Spence602, (aka. Spence Wikel), in Texas also sent me 5 completed Crazy Eddys. And a shwack of fabric to boot. It’s amazing how much fabric can fit folded into a file folder. These first 11 Eddy kites (mine plus Spences) were the first to be fully completed with pockets and tails.

I have completed another 9 Crazy Eddy kites which brings the total up to 20. This first batch of kites will be sewn to a 200 lb dacron line at spacing of 1 meter. These initial 60 kites will be flown as test to ensure everything is going to work right.

The test was flown on Saturday and Sunday, March 13, 14, 2004. Saturdays winds started very light, but picked up to around 5 – 10 mph. Sundays’s wind was 20+ mph. The arch just naturally wanted to fly. No fuss, no muss. I tied one end to the stake, unrolled the bundle, and the kites went up into the air as I unrolled them. After tieing te second end, the arch was very happy to fly. The arch had no problem launching itself after the wind had died down. On Sunday, no kite in the arch ever touched the gound. As I unrolled it, they flew. They stayed up for about 4 hours, then I brought it down and rolled it up at the same time. Stuffed it in the sack and that was that.
All in all, very successfull test flight of the arch.

Currently, I have ten ten more kites from Marion Steeves in New Brunswick, Canada. 5 more coming from Coopersburg, PA. 10 more from Nova Scotia. There are even more in the works now.
The Crazy Eddy kite arch will be completed well before I had originally thought it would. I’me really quite exicted to see the full arch. Since starting the project, I’ve raised the goal to 80 kites. If it looks like I can do more then 80, I will change the confuration to multiple, stacked archs.

If you would like to email me for any reason, just click my name below!

Cheers, and good winds to you.

Terry Thillmann