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.


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.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Night Sapphire: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Continues the Blue-Black Quest

Continuing with our blue-black mania, Dr. Inkenstein reviews two new blue-black inks, and casually tosses in a third for contrast’s sake.

The Chesterfield Night Sapphire, we are told, is made by Diamine.   There is a rumor going around that every ink on the planet is actually made by Diamine, but we can neither confirm nor deny.   Fountain pen forum consensus says Night Sapphire is really Diamine Blue-Black.  In pursuit of Ink Truthiness, Dr. Inkenstein will one day have to attain a DBB sample, and test them side-by side.  Just not today.

NS shows the teal undertones we are craving, and comes VERY close in color, hue, and intensity to the far-more-expensive Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo (coming up in a casual review of the Pilot Metropolitan).

The Hero ink was a pleasant surprise.  Less ‘green’ than the Night Sapphire, it is still a shade-y, flow-y blue-black that does not cost a fortune.  Six of these carts came packed in with my first Hero Summer Colors.  Unfortunately, I have no idea where to get more.  Probably fleabay.  Ink and pen are made for one another, and I find myself grabbing it all the time to make quick notes or write letters.

Diamine Denim is loaded in one of Dr. I’s pens at all times, in this case, a Platinum Preppy.  There’s little shading, but great flow, and the color is a suave, understated, medium… denim.  It leans more gray than either Night Sapphire or Hero, but if you are obssssessssssed, I mean, INTERESTED, in blue-blacks, you need all sorts of hues.
Forgot to add this photo:

Coming soon:  Pilot Metropolitan teamed with Tsuki-yo; and Fat Nib Shootout.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blue-Blacks: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Ponders A New Obssession

Lately, Dr. Inkenstein has been, well, let's say highly INTERESTED in blue-black inks.  After all, they are our favorite colors, if you include those inks that lean teal, like Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku and Chesterfield Teal.

So based on various online reviews and scans, I tested a bunch of new inks (all except the Everflo, which is not at all new and has been on my ink hutch for years, and is not a true blue-black but it's here for comparison purposes).

Part of the 'fun'of testing inks is finding a perfect ink/pen combo.  The Nemos write dry.  The Hero and Lamys write wet.  The dip pen dips.  So many different factors, including paper!

The paper here was, uhh, an Office Depot composition notebook with Brazilian paper.  The scan looks different from the photo.  The differences are interesting.  The ink colors in real life are also different.  On to the particulars.

 Brand(s):  Everflo, Diamine, OrGaNicS Studios (sample courtesty of a pen pal), Private Reserve

Color(s): True Blue, Eau De Nil, BlakWa, Ebony Blue

Intensity:  Ebony Blue the highest and most saturated; the Diamine and OS less saturated.  Everflo was tough to place.  It's semi-saturated, and not a real BB, but whatever.  ;p

Flow:  All except the OS had decent flow, that is, until the PR EB had been in the pen for a couple of weeks, and then it needed multiple water-dips to start.  It also began smearing badly.  FPG had a discussion on similar problems with intensely saturated inks; it appears that it's just part of the breed.  Dilute or suffer.

The reluctant nature of the OS was not due to the pen (A Hero Summer Colors), because with its provided cart of Hero ink, that pen is an absolute gusher.  I believe the Diamine would have good flow but the Nemo pens are dry writers.

Shading:  None whatever in the Everflo.  All others had varying good degrees of shading, and the PR had SHEEN!

Summary:  While OS and Diamine Eau De Nil look almost identical on paper, in the scans and photos they look quite different, with the OS Blakwa appearing far more green.  Possibly the BlakWa shades a bit better than Eau De Nil.

What follows is the scan AND the photo of the four inks.

We have further blue-blacks to test: Noodler's Blue-Black, a sample of Chesterfield Night Sapphire, which I like a lot, and the cart that arrived with the Hero Summer Colors.  Until next year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Story of Ruth: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Paints Horses

Way back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and no one ever thought of the word 'collectible,' Dr. inkenstein owned some Breyer horse models.  Of course, they all vanished somewhere along the way, perhaps to the singularity in which also resides the collection of original Superman comic books.

More recently, I have been thinking about attaining Breyer models for the express purpose of re-painting them.  Maybe with some fantasy colors, blue-black, orange, with contrasting mane and tail.   Oh, not new Breyer models.  But maybe just a few worn and dinged-up numbers gathered at yard sales or fleabay.

Three years of searching yielded nothing that appealed to Dr. inkenstein's sense of True Cheapskatery.  And then one day this spring, we chanced upon a garage sale with Breyer horses.  Lots of them.  In all sizes.  Selling for the sort of pittance that sets my heart leaping.

I bought a bunch of them.  And there were still plenty left over for the next seeker.

My first painting project was inspired by the 1950s Biblical film, The Story of Ruth.  There was a horse in it.  A near-black horse with a Technicolor orange mane and tail.  And, as I fell asleep before the entire film unfolded, I was unable to tell if this was a natural horse color or a Hollywood Dye Job Horse Color.  But it really doesn't matter, because there are liver chestnut horses that come in those colors.  In real life.

One of the garage sale Breyers was a Stablemate flaxen chestnut (though an ebay figure was listed as sorrel)  which gave a good base for the liver makeover.  it was just a nice little flaxen chestnut with three stockings and a blaze.

Oversized pics.  But see? 

Out came the ancient Atelier acrylic paints: burnt umber, burnt sienna, cadmium orange, black, and a floating medium.  The first thin coat of burnt umber went on using a soft filbert brush, leaving mane and tail as they were for the moment.    After three coats I modified the mane and tail color with some burnt sienna and a touch of the cadmium orange on a liner brush.

Dr. Inkenstein's advice is: for a first horse-painting project, get something that you don't need to look at in a magnifying glass.   

This is the finished horsie.  I'm thinking of calling him Ruth.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: Kenshin does not own the Yuu Yuu Hakusho characters (they are the property of Togashi Yoshihiro et al), and does not make any money from said characters.
What Kenshin does own, however, are all the original charactersin this work. Any attempt to "borrow" these characters will be met with the katana, or worse.
Idiot Beloved takes place shortly after the Dark Tournament; Firebird Sweet follows. As reference, I use a combination of the subtitled YYH anime, the American manga, plus some of the CD dramas.
Want to know why Hiei refers to Kaitou as a 'playmate?' Read The Book of Cat With Moon. Who are the Kawasaki sisters? Maya's Tale has the answer.
The Imprint of Snow takes place after the close of Cat/Moon and revisits not only Yojigen Mansion, but Kaitou Yuu's second career as a popular novelist.
Title: The Imprint of Snow
Author: JaganshiKenshin
Genre: General
Rating: K+/PG-13
Summary: Christmas Eve would be a bad time to destroy Tokyo, so Kaitou Yuu drags Hiei out for a walk.
A/N: As always, thanks for reading this, and for your reviews!
An elusive snowflake heralds a message for Hiei.
The Imprint of Snow
Tokyo, Christmas Eve. Wanting to snow, but unable.
From Hiei's perch on the guard rail of the roof, the city lights were diamonds, rubies and emeralds, scattered on a velvet backdrop by an extravagant, unseen jeweler.
Pity if it should be wiped out.
A lone snowflake escaped its prison of lead-colored sky and zig-zagged down, gemlike in the reflected light.
Hiei extended a hand to catch it, but a breeze snatched it away.
He was melancholy, and fearful, but not alone.  Behind him, Kaitou Yuu said, "C-come down from there. You're making me n-nervous."