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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Purple Lady and Feather Banners a BIG HIT! in UK


While they’re known as flag banners everywhere else, amongst kite flyers in UK, the feather banner is a symbol of “I’m here!  See me now!”


Teaching workshops are regularly offered  to members of the White Horse Kiteflyers Club, and with the help of President Arthur Dibble (plus dedicated Committee members, Don Baggett and Janet & David Robinson) arrangements for a workshop for feather banners started in September 2012.

Feathers in a Field in Lechlade, UK

Feathers in a Field in Lechlade, UK


October 2013 participants for the “Purple Lady Workshop” began wandering in to the workshop room of St Joseph’s Catholic College (Swindon) at 9am, well before the official start of 9:30am.




Twenty seven feather banner kits had been transported 12000 miles from OzFeathers’ cutting studio in Willunga, South Australia, with each banner requiring up to 20 pieces of pre-cut flag nylon.  The Purple Lady had to be sure that everyone received all the right pieces.


Introductions done, and… let’s begin!


Instructions were powerpoint-presented on a projector, hot-dot welding tools were plugged in, patterns were handed out… and… it was all systems GO!


Pattern prep, photo by Patrik Koppen

Purple-uniform for David Johnson, ready!

Purple-uniform for David Johnson, ready!

Participants had to match pre-cut fabric pieces in the right order to their patterns.


With numerous colour schemes this meant everyone had to guard their work stations closely.


Mustn’t lose any of the tiny pieces!


The youngest participant was just 9 years old.


The oldest was… well, they qualified for a Seniors’ free-travel bus pass, say no more.


All the workshoppers switched from hot irons to sewing machines by the close of Day One.

Stuart Lafferty hard at work

Stuart Lafferty hard at work


Zig zag seams and back-tacking from some fast-workers meant the banners swiftly took shape.


In truth, this was Linda’s first adult-teaching workshop, and so far the only one where sewing machines and soldering irons were to be used.


Amazingly, not one injury.  (Not that we heard of!)


There may have been some dropped stitches, and the occasional “Oops!” as shuttles ran hot and bobbins ran out of thread.


All in all, a hive of jolly activity.


Chrstian Baden Powell & Keith Boxall seek teacher's help

Chrstian Baden Powell & Keith Boxall seek teacher’s help

Two design patterns had been proposed, which would suit all levels of sewing skills.


The “Lattice” design consisted solely of straight seams.


(Nine of the twenty seven banners were this easier variety, and every single one was completed with a minimum of fuss.)

Don Baggett, Keith, dotting mad!

Don Baggett, Keith, dotting mad!


The second pattern chosen was a modified version of Linda’s “China Lady” design, where the smallest pieces were circles of just 2cm diameter.


(Sewing tiny circles can be a nightmare – it’s quite a challenge to make sure stitching is both neat and effective.)

Arthur Dibble captured the colourful results

Arthur Dibble captured the colourful results


Seven colour schemes were offered for “China Lady” and four colour schemes for the “Lattice”.


The workroom mood soared as the banners started taking shape and we’re convinced it was all due to the brightness of the colours.


As each sewing machine was switched off and packed away, completed banners began walking outside.


Time for the final showdown (and photo opportunity) to the delight of passing traffic.


So, why was this was known as “Purple Lady Workshop”??


Linda’s favourite colour happens to be purple!!


What a huge surprise it was for her to see everyone on the first morning in their matching work “uniforms”!


To sum up, by the end of her UK-stay, Linda had

  • enjoyed a kite flying weekend in Lechlade
  • gasped at the wonders of Stonehenge
  • joined in the Lord’s Prayer in Salisbury Cathedral
  • operated a canal lock at Aldermaston (and hitched a short ride on a narrow boat)
  • travelled through Jane Austen country looking for Mr. Darcy
  • walked on a 2000 year old Roman road, climbed up a 2600 year old iron age fort and hugged Avebury’s 4000+ year old stones
  • stepped on the eye of the oldest dated limestone-chalk White Horse at Uffington
Linda TROD on Uffington's oldest chalk art!

Linda TROD on Uffington’s oldest chalk art!


  • watched a peacock saunter across the street in Lacock (the Cotswolds)
  • stopped in Tiddleywink just for a photo op.
  • enjoyed lardy cake in Stow-on-the-Wold
  • SURVIVED the Magic Roundabout in Swindon (that’s 5 roundabouts in one)
  • received her own purple workshop uniform t-shirt and commemorative coffee mugs
  • sampled “mudslide” cocktails, made on-site courtesy of those early-finish banner makers
  • met the Grumpy Old Gits at the Jolly Farmer Pub in Basingstoke
  • Taught a 2-day workshop where everything went to plan
  • Slithered through London on an open-topped double decker bus, saw a blue chicken statue in Trafalgar square, ogled the Tower of London, sailed on the Thames River and ate a burger in Sherlock Holmes’ territory.


Linda with cousin Soos ventured out and about in UK

Linda with cousin Soos ventured out and about in UK

Now, she’s back hard at work, and already planning a return journey in 2015…

Stay tuned for updates!