Write now

Annual pen cleaning

Ever since high school, I’ve been a fan of fountain pens. I like their quality of line, expressive nature and the importance they impart into the words they write. Taking notes in real ink made me pay more attention to their content and celebrate the human hand that keyboards will never replace (especially the touch screen one on this phone I’m using now).

Before I knit, pen shops were a destination I’d seek out when traveling. Fountain pens are what I’d look for at flea markets, too. It’s only natural that a paper fetish followed from there. (I’d love to show you my pad and stationery collection one day.) Oddly enough, I never got into inks. I was content to use the bottles from Farhney’s (my dad’s favorite mail-order pen pusher) or one of the other two bottles I had (pure black Parker Quink and some electric royal blue from Krone).

Life goes on and I amass a little pen stash of pens (only ten or so). I use them for work, but sadly never fully develop the journaling or letter-writing habit I wish I had. I’ve had one flea market find boxed up for repair for years, but never gotten around to it. Heck, there are a few pens that have bever even been used!

So as part of my creating order in 2010, I dusted off my pens (like this blog) and decided to clean them out and put some of the newest ones into rotation. It makes me so happy to ride the glide of a nib across some smooth, heavy paper. like a good pen owner, the ones that haven’t been in use were already cleaned and perfectly content chilling in the cabinet.

Testing J. Herbin fountain pen inks

Lo and behold, in the same cabinet, I found two bottles of French ink I received in the mail last spring. Back in February, I agreed to review some J. Herbin fountain pen inks. I thought I’d receive one bottle, but two arrived, along with a mini Rhodia notepad. (They import thissuper-duper paper as well as inks and planners.) I had played with the Orange Indien when I first received it. How could I pass up an orange? It’s is confident and strong. Unfortunately, the Parker 51 I’m using with it is very generous (down-“write” slutty!) and leaves a fat wet line. But the ink remains as a very handsome and unique stroke.

The Lierre Sauvage is vibrant and perky green. Bright and alive, yet maintaining the dignity of a deeper forest green. I’m going to enjoy playing with this. I filled a Récife pen purchased during our 2007 trip to Paris that has languished parched and empty for these past two or so years. It’s about time this beauty sprouted words and thoughts onto paper, and the new leaf colored ink is well-suited for shoots and tendrils awaiting to unfurl from my hand.

With freshly cleaned pens from work stored away, a filled blue-black and a bright blue trusted sidekicks in my bag, and these new orange and green friends, I’ve got quite a bit of writing to do. I hand write my designs in their idea origins and as I knit them. I’m counting on these new inks to help realize the many new designs 2010 holds.

9 Responses to “Write now”

  1. Darci Says:

    I am such a pen and paper whore. I always wanted to fall in love with a true fountain pen but I mostly just love a good crisp marker and quality paper.

  2. natalie Says:

    I love my 51. It’s a late one, 1970’s and was found in the street about to be crushed by a car and handed to me as “you are someone who would like this”. It arrived with a gold broad oblique nib and I didn’t know we were perfectly suited until I wrote the first word. We have been inseparable since. And then there are the pencils…..

  3. JelliDonut Says:

    I ADORE fountain pens. I got my tonsils removed seventeen years ago, and just before the surgery, I bought myself a gorgeous fountain pen, just in case I couldn’t talk afterward. Blue-black ink is my favorite.

  4. Melissa Grohman Says:

    Hi there! I just received my first fountain pen for Christmas from my German exchange student. I really love it, though it’s likely nowhere nearly as sophisticated as the ones you’re using. Far as I can tell, it doesn’t have a name (though I might start calling it Spot or Doodlebug).

    Anyway, my girl keeps asking me if it’s writing okay for me because I’m left-handed. As far as I can tell, it’s great, but should I try a left-handed pen? Is there such a thing?

    Also, congratulations on the RSC. I found this blog through the 2010 RSC registration page.

  5. becky Says:

    This makes me want to dust off the calligraphy pens and write things!!

    This is a genetic love i think…

  6. velmalikevelvet Says:

    wow, you even make writing about *pens* interesting! 😉

    ps – I tagged you on my blog, dood! http://bit.ly/5xpZLC

  7. Margaret Says:

    How on earth do you manage to knit on an aircraft without being busted !

    I have just endured a flight from Australia to Paris and knitting would have been so enjoyable, just sit and have meals bought to you, what bliss.

  8. Greg Schultz Says:

    Very interesting. I’m fascinated by pens — or the idea of pens, as I seldom use an actual fountain pen. I keep telling myself I will someday. Tom, my partner, is the ink man of the household, and he has an enviable hand. So vicarious experience is my mode of use. Tom also loves Rhodia paper. I have a small tablet of same, but the leaves don’t get the ink they deserve.

  9. blogless grace Says:

    The thrill of a pot of ink, fine paper, and a good nib creates wonderful letters, notes, scribbles. Thanks for a wonderful write.