Thursday, October 16, 2014

Costly Blues: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Blames FPN

The Fountain Pen Network has done it to me again: forced Dr. Inkenstein to buy MOAR INK.  

Forced, I tell you.

What happened is that someone proposed the idea that everyone (or as much Everyone as could be crammed into a phone booth) buy one ink every thirty days and test it to failure. ( 'Scotty!  The engines!')  
 
Sort of a grand Ink-of-the-Month Club.

Except that the ink is IROSHIZUKU.  From JAPAN.  Which costs way more than the five-ten bucks a bottle Dr. Inkenstein is comfortable with.
 
Iroshizuku comes in a very pretty bottle that you will not be ashamed of as it sits on your ink shelf.  And they make a lot of inks.  As there was already a bottle of Ku-Jaku in Dr. Inkenstein's cabinet, the thought was, 'One down, eighty billion to go.'  But Ku-Jaku doesn't come up to bat for a few months.

 October's ink is Tsuki-yo, which was luckily in my ink sampler bin.  So, whew.  That gave me time to order a few more samples.
 
And on re-visiting this ink, I like it more.  In its chosen ink delivery system of the Pilot Metropolitan, it glides.  It is a teal-leaning blue-black that should behave decently in any decent pen. 
 
I've compared it to other inks and in other pens in a mini-review that reads right-to- left.   And I ended up ordering a whole bottle. 

Silver nib flashes
Silken skates soar homeward bound
Into Moonlit Sky 
 
 
 
More months will bring more ink reviews.  Check out FPN for other comparisons and for the 'rules' if you should wish to participate.
 
If they do this with Sailor inks, I am sunk. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Orange Crush: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Continues With Summer Fun

Continuing with the summer ink theme, Dr. inkenstein recalls a certain Carvel frozen dessert called Icy Wicy, which was a swirled mix of orange and fuschia sugar water on a double stick, so you and a friend could share.  Here, through the magic of scannage, we have removed the fuschia part (see previous Pink entry and use your imagination) and added in some red-browns.

Because, you know, autumn is coming.  Some day.

The scans don't do these inks justice.  Chesterfield Fire Opal, the orange ink tested in the orange Jinhao-fari 599, really is the color of Orange Crush soda.  It is eye-searingly, happily, summer-afternoons-at-the beach orange, and I would love it but for the fact that it invariably gunks up a nib with a hideous orange crust that looks like dried-on iodine.

Good thing the Jinhao-fari only costs five bucks.  That's one ink-pen combo stamped in stone!  No shading, but with color this bright, why bother?
 
The 'Fireball,' which is mostly J Herbin Rouge Caroubier and some yellow or other, is included just for comparison's sake.  It's a brilliant red-orange.

The Sailor Brick Brown Red shades like crazy.  The MB Leonardo Red chalk also shades, but with a terra cotta component, and is a wonderful, well-balanced ink.  J Herbin Terre de Feu is another red-brick color that, interestingly, looks more burgundy in the bottle than on paper, where it turns a mid-range, boullion-brown that does shade.  It bears a passing resemblence to the Sailor Brick Brown Red, like maybe they're cousins who get together on the beach every summer.

And Ambre de Birmanie is, well, amber-y.  The color of butterscotch that got a little too caramelized in the pan.  Shades, too.  What more could you want?
 
Maybe a few extra days of summer.  Carry on.
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to Bloggage: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Pinks Out

 
So many inks...so little time.  Actually, that's not true.  It's summer.  There's lots of time.  What we really mean is, so little energy.

In addition to being good for laziness, summer is good for pink inks.  Pink is a fun, casual color, a color that says, "I'm about fourteen years old without a care in the world!"
 
Here's a quick comparison.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The colors don't scan true, alas: Neon Coral really is an intense coral-red-pink with no detectable shading.  The top three on the right are warm, almost neutral pinks, very similar, with the V-Pen ink being a little more intense than the Iro or the DA (both of which are really similar).  JH Rose Tendresse is a colder pink with more blue in it and usually shades a bit.
 
 
You don't normally think of Levenger Shiraz as a pink, but when it's diluted, its pink components emerge.  Of all these inks, this one might be a bit stainy and troublesome, because it's so thick and saturated.

The Fireball is just there for comparison.  Actually it's more of an orange, mixed from J Herbin Rouge Caroubier and who knows what else.  Orange ink scan is in the wings.

As for the pens they were in...The Berol Fontaine is an old plastic disposable which hasn't been around in ages, but Dr. Inkenstein had one left. 

Too bad they're gone from the marketplace.  Very nice writers in a wide range of colors, including green, brown, and blue-black, for two bucks each!  Appealing to the cheapster and the nostalgia buff in Dr. Inkenstein, the Berol Fontaine is a two-for-one deal.
 
 
The Arnold pen is a vintage junker I got off fleabay.  Nail of a nib.  Red color.  Good for dip-testing.  Carry on.
 
The Neon Coral Safari was equipped with a 1.1 nib, which really shows off a light, bright color.  The Lamy Nexx's F nib is surprisingly smooth and leans more toward a Medium. Can't say much more about the Lamys other than they're lightweight, reliable and fun to use.
 
 
Which ink is my favorite?  All of them.  Depends on my mood.  The Neon Coral says, "I'm sitting on this balcony in the Carribbean, writing you in a spare moment."  Rose Tendresse says, "It's raining, but I'm trying to cheer you up a bit."  The almost-interchangeable Iro and DA could suggest, "Just matching my nail polish."
 
 
 If I'm the least bit serious, like if I want to pretend I feel older than 14,  Levenger Shiraz is THE choice.
 
 
Next time: Orange.  And maybe even a little brown.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moar 'baggage:' In Which Count Sockula Can't Stop Crocheting

Here are the latest ' round' of crocheted bags.  Count Sockula started crocheting baggage merely to have something to do when resting a painful knee.  Now I can't stop.

It's a little scary.  Muahahaaaa.

The white-ish drawstring mini was from long-forgotten yarn that I found, and it had already been worked into a round.  It's a soft, lustrous cotton with a springy twist.  The green and white mini is stretch sock yarn that had been wound a little too stretchy. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Most of the others are made of discloth cotton.  And very, very simple not-really-patterns at all, in which you either make a round in whatever stitch you like, or a rectangle, to make the bottom, and stop increasing to make the sides, which in most cases is a simple arch stitch.  

Hook sizes appropriate to yarn: H/8 for the dishcloth cotton, E/4 for the smaller stuff.



 
There are three, no, four more bags in the works, including a mini done from free yarn given to me by a local store.  I don't know what yarn it is but it's pretttyyyy.  Pics when they are done.

Oh..the biiig striped bag?  An old one, in a yarn now no longer made (Speed Cro-Sheen, pity...loved that yarn)...and sagging from holding ALL the previous bags.
 
Stay tuned.  Dr. Inkenstein is looming on the horizon, and I see MOAR blue ink!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sittin' Still: In Which Count Sockula Bags It


Okay, finally.

At least Count Sockula did something useful when having to rest an injured knee as much as possible for a week and a half.

Yes.  Bags.  Crocheting shopping bags by the dozen.  Using scraps of sock yarn, cotton, plastic twine from the dollar store, plastic raffia, and some Wool of Unknown Origin.

Not that the Count is 'going green.' Horrors, no.  But merely tired of lugging home groceries in plastic store bags that REEK OF PERFUME.  Thus also causing the groceries themselves to REEK OF PERFUME.  Necessitating their return.  Which is a pain.

Plus, using bits and leftovers and unearthed caches of  forgotten yarn appeals to the black belt tightwad within.

And then, well, we remembered the Solomon's Knot stitch and became slightly obssessed.  Three bags later (one of leftover sock yarn, two of plastic raffia) we knew how to work it in the round.

And from there it's all a blur.

The twine wasn't bad to work (that would be the blue, yellow and green bag, worked as a giant granny square with increases stopped to make the square into a tube), but the plastic raffia (candy corn color, plus the gold, brown, and vanilla bag) was a nightmare to handle.

And Count Sockula just unearthed another cache of it. :P

Now working on another set of, oh, three more bags in various states of completion.

The small neutral-hued one second from the left was what happened from the Solomon's Knot that started it all. It's sock yarn that I was never gonna use for socks anyway.

Yes.  Another group of bags to come.  Maybe after the next Ink-fest.


Bags-610w.jpg 

Friday, February 21, 2014

InCoCroMo! In Which Dr. Inkenstein and Count Sockula Both Weigh In

As many of you know, February is International Correspondence Writing Month.  The info can be found HERE.  
 
 
Dr. Inkenstein has been participating, and even though InCo is nearly over, have a look at some of the pens and inks in use throughout!
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's been a lot of fun.  Dr. Inkenstein has received many, many wonderful tuck-ins from pen pals, even a surprise sample vial of Iroshizuku Kosumosu ink (you know who you are, VO!), and cool paper, and has managed to slip in a few amusing things in return.
 
 
I didn't think I could even stay the course, but I'm up to nearly 40 missives, including those handed out, and February ain't over yet.   Will I do it again?  Maybe.  Should you?  Definitely.  It's too late for this year but Dr. Inkenstein can't think of a better way to play with your pens and ink.
 
 
 
Now on to Count Sockula.  Who has not been seen in quite some time.  The Count is on a scarf kick.

The medallion scarf to the left has a double row in the middle to keep CS's back warm.

The scarf to the right is a pattern I adapted from teh innerwebz...the original had alternating rows of solid dc and trc clusters. I just use what I call the checkerboard stitch....basically a granny square worked in rows. The yarn was Unforgettable, in the Parrot colorway, but the photo really killed all the wonderful mint greens so all you see is pink and blue.  

The thing in the middle is a bag in Speed Cro-Sheen, which I don't even think they make any more!
 
 
 
I have hereby dubbed my February efforts InCoCroMo.    The first Cro stands, of course, for Count Sockula.  ;-p

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blue-Black and Metro: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Furthers the Quest

Brand, Color:  Iroshizuku's Tsuki-Yo, compared briefly with Chesterfield Night Sapphire  
Paper:  Clairefontaine grid.
Price:  More or less $28/ in big fancy bottle for the Iro; about $8 for the CNS.
Intensity:  Deep for both
Flow:  CNS was a reluctant starter.  Not so Iro.
Shading:  Good for both
 
Summary:  Want a bargain?  Try the CNS.  Want trouble-free?  Go Iro.
 
Pen:  Pilot Metropolitan Silver Dot
Price:  Usually around $15.  I paid too much at $18.
Fill system:  Cartridge/Converter.  We hates Pilot converters for ever, Preciousssss.
Color, trim:  Silver.  And dot.  With a black section.
Size, shape:  Smallish, rounded ends.
Nib:  Smooth, wet M
Heft:  It's metal, so it's got some.

Summary:  People love the Metro.  Dr. Inkenstein is meh.  Cap doesn't post well.  Section is small, with a noticeable step that I did get used to after some time.  It's metal. 
 
  
Moar blue-blacks!  That's the cry around Dr. Inkenstein's lair.  Muahahaaaa. 
 
And while we have managed, with the aid of costly lab equipment known as 'pipettes, eyedroppers, and plastic vials,' to laboriously create some pleasing variations of blue-black with a teal edge, out of completely different inks not at all related to one another, we feel that parading these inks around would make our dear readers insane with jealousy, uhm, we mean, would not well serve our dear readers, who, when they saw the loveliness of the concocted inks, could not, alas, be able to rush out and purchase them.
 
So here is Iroshizuku's Tsuki-Yo, in a Silver Dot Pilot Metropolitan, with a scribble of Chesterfield Night Sapphire on the side, for comparison's sake.   
 
The Chesterfield NS is surpisingly close in color to Tsuki-Yo (especially on the page, not in the scan), at a fraction of the price, and especially when the Tsuki-Yo had not been accidentally diluted by water-dips to start at first, because it had been loaded in a cart rather than a con. 
 
CNS is, however, a reluctant starter.  A bit of dilution or a nib-dip solves that problem, but Dr. Inkenstein urges caution in using CNS in dry writers.
 
Tsuki-yo did not exhibit such reluctance.   While the ink sample behaved itself, we must note that the only full bottle of Iroshizuku we have purchased is Ku-Jaku.  Which may tell you something.
 
As for the Pilot itself, the step in the section bugged me but I got somewhat used to it.  The more I used it the better I liked it but Dr. Inkenstein is casting a jaundiced eye on metal-bodied pens these days anyway.  The pen looks 'significant.'  The nib is smooth enough, the pen writes well enough, but I would reach for my Pilot 78G before this.
 
  

 
 
 
Dr. Inkenstein apologizes for the unintentionally bolded text but can do nothing to alleviate it.  Stay tuned for further ink-splorations.