Monday, February 1, 2016

Turquoise: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Asks, Which Sky's The Limit?

Dr. Iinkenstein is admittedly ink-fussy. This one is too thick. This one is too dry. But is there one that's 'just right?'

After complaining I was unable to tell one turquoise ink from another without a score card, I tested a few...well, all...of my turquoise inks. Although two of them, the Iroshizuku Ama-Iro and the Diamine Steel Blue, were mere sample vials.

All the tests except those two were done with a glass dip pen. The Steel Blue was loaded in a Dollar Demonstrator. And even though I have MORE than enough Turquoise inks,the Ama-Iro has such wonderful flow properties when tested in a Metro Retro that I may spring for a bottle.

The Pelikan swab looks much darker than it should because I took it from the cap, where it had partially dried, but it also displays the most sheen of any turquoise ink tested. Sparkle, even! 

The Souten seems bluest, the Steel Blue greenest. The Ku-Jaku is indescribable and undefinable.  The paper: Rhodia Ice.

Still can't decide on a favorite.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Moar Blotches: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Goes Rorschach

Kobe # 23 Nagata Blue...
That's the very blue-black ink Dr. Inkenstein believes will be The One, and desperately wants to try...but it is currently Unobtainium. 
Why must I be so FUSSY about my ink colors? *sobs quietly while sucking thumb* 
So recently, Dr. I tested---side-by-side, mind you!--- Chesterfield Sodalite, Diamine Prussian Blue, and both old and new MB Midnight. May be going with the Sodalite, probably in a Safari. The Prussian showed too green, the old MB a touch navy, too, and the new, while a favorite, was too....uhmmm, soft?  Hard?  Hot?  Cold?

Just call me Goldilocks.

Here forthwith, a  bunch of BBs with a glass pen. Again, Prussian Blue seemed too green, one MB was darker and more navy than I wanted at the moment, though I usually go with the more modern Midnight. And you can see which I chose


And don't even get me started on turquoise.  Or teal. 


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mr. Hiei: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Returns To Fan Fic

It's been a long time.  Here's an into and an excerpt:
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 characters in this work. Any attempt to "borrow" these characters will be met with the katana, or worse.
Idiot Beloved takes place right after the Dark Tournament; Firebird Sweet directly follows. For reference, I use a combination of the subtitled YYH anime and the American manga, plus some of the CD dramas.
Title: Mr. Hiei
Author: JaganshiKenshin
Genre: General, Mystery
Rating: K+/PG-13
Summary: Hiei awakens in a place he's never seen, and a fog that's alive.
A/N: This one-shot is peppered with OCs. As always, thanks for your faves and reviews!
Outside a building near the woods lurks a strange, threatening creature that challenges Hiei's ingenuity.
Mr. Hiei
Jagan Master Hiei, special operative for both the top-secret Agency, and Koenma. Somewhat unwilling member of Team Urameshi, especially when I have to bail them out of a jam.
Great. You know who you are. Ten points.
Battling vertigo, Hiei leaned against the sink while he checked his pockets. In his wallet was Agency ID, but no plane ticket. Money. About a hundred US dollars, plus its equivalent in several other currencies. Standard contents. No convenient little card telling him of his mission.
He was wearing jeans, and a sweatshirt chewed off at the arms, as if he'd just come from a disreputable gym, or an even more disreputable rehearsal hall.
Not a black-tie case of espionage then, but the Agency gear meant he wasn't fighting monsters on his own dime either.
His phone-another Agency special-remained in his pocket. He could place a call, ask 'Where am I and what was I doing?' Embarrass himself. Maybe later.
He made the return journey by clinging to the opposite wall.
With a rolling garment rack containing angel costumes, boxes stacked against the wall, and an old sofa, the attic didn't look like a particularly dangerous place.
The girl was still sitting on her trunk, wide-eyed.
Hiei spoke. "You said everyone's gone. How do you know?"
"Same way I know you're a live wire," said the girl. "I just know things."
So the kid's a psychic? Or has a strong sixth sense, like Kuwabara and my Firebird, Shayla Kidd.
He trudged toward the window.
"Don't look outside," she warned.
Hiei looked, and slid to his knees.
"Told you not to look."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

School Daze: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Returns To The Past obssession, er INTEREST, on the horizon.  

Got this grouping from Peyton Street Pens at a great price, playing into Dr. I's newfound Whatever: vintage-y Sheaffers.

Testing that group of Sheaffer school pens with a dip in Skrip, then loading one with Diamine Schubert.  Dr. Inkenstein's first fountain pen was one such Sheaffer school pen, with the chrome cap and a translucent yellow body.  Somewhere along the way, that pen was lost.  It was a treat to grab these five from Peyton Street Pens.  The anassuming little Sheaffer School pen through the ages.  the shape and materials may change from decade to decade, but always reliable, alwaus fun to use.  They do not come much better for the price.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bag It! In Which Count Sockula Re-Appears

It was a dark and stormy night, when the Pharoah of Phiber, the Sultan of Sock Yarn, none other than Count Sockula, emerged after a long sleep. 

Because it was time to crochet bags, muahahaaaa.

When you think about it, a bag is nothing more than a giant, fishnetty type of sock with no heel.  So that qualifies as scary, right?

Bags are simple, E-Z crochet fun.  You can make small ones for gift bags or large ones for shopping bags.  You might even make really huge ones for laundry bags.

Here's a scary discovery.  Done with a Q-hook in the round, and worsted-weight cotton, a single crochet stitch looks remarkably like knitted lace stitch, only it's about ten times faster to work.  Okay, we concede that crochet uses more yarn than knitting.  But speed is what Count Sockula is all about.

This is a method, not a pattern.  Grab some cotton yarn.  Four ounces might do the trick.  If all you had was worsted-weight acrylic yarn, that would work, too, but the Count enjoys cotton.   

Then, select a granny square pattern.  Any granny square pattern.  We are after speed and simplicity here.

You start with a smaller hook (anywhere from a 7 to a 9) for the first couple of rounds, increasing the granny square as usual, then switch out to progressively larger hooks (10, 11, 11.5) until the bottom of your bag is the size you want.  (The bag will magically turn from a square to a round, so make the bottom a bit smaller than you think it should be.)

Now, switch to the Q-hook, pick up the yarn, mark the beginning with a stitch marker or thread, and work a single crochet in every other stitch or so, which works really well when picking up stitches in the chain-1 spaces of your average granny square.  Do not increase at this point.  You're just going round and round. With UN-joined rounds, so you really need that stitch marker.  

(There's a variation that's even looser and more lace-ish: work sc-ch 1 all around.)

Work in the round until the bag is as long as you want.  Then switch off to a smaller hook and work the handles.  You need a smaller hook because you want the handles to be a much tighter gauge than the big, loose Q-hook stitch.  I will go back to a size 7 through 10 for the handles.  

In working the handles, do this however you like; I usually work a single-crochet chain with the yarn still attached (because Count Sockula is monumentally lazy), then go back on the chain at least once with slip stitches and work them all along the length of the chain.  Or work single-crochet handles off the bag and attach later.  Whatever suits you.

Sometimes Count Sockula goes a little crazy and works the bag on a granny rectangle. Here's a good pattern:

In either case, the same principles apply: stop increasing when you think the bag is almost big enough.

Here we go:



So there you have it: bag and baggage.  Happy Halloween, muahahaaa.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blue? Blue-Black? Or Somewhat In-Between? In Which Dr. inkensteinWonders

My dear friend Susan, learning of Dr. Inkenstein's Grayish-Blue-Black quest, asked a great question: 'Can't you mix inks to get the exact color you want?'

And of course you can.  I've done it.  Lots of others have, too.  But you might run into problems when two inks from different sides of the tracks clash and start a feud.  The results: SITB, or as it's technically known, Slime/Stuff/Shinola In The Bottle.

Recently Dr. inkenstein had to dump an eyedropper glass bottle of Fireball, a custom red-orange mix, because of SITB.  Also a bottle of Everflo True Blue, which was not a mix at all.  And it's harder to clean a contaminiated (and potentially beloved) pen than dump a bottle, so no matter how it hurt, out the bottles went.

Then, when mixing inks, there is also the factor of losing one or more components of the inks, such as Wetness, Flow, Lubrication, Bulletproofness.

Ink.  It's kinda like science!   You need a lab coat, test tubes, a Jacob's Ladder, and maybe even lightning!

So on to testing more loads of blues and blue-blacks:


And yes.  You can tell that Diamine China Blue is in no way even remotely blue-black.  But I included that color to make a point.  Probably. 

And yet...what of the Misty Blue?  Has it BB elements, hints?  And the Akkerman?  Is it BB?  Indigo?  

Where do you draw the line?  And with what color?

Shootout! In Which Dr. Inkenstein Draws Down Orange

A quick-draw shootout between two sorta/kinda orange inks: Lamy Copper Orange and Noodler's Apache Sunset: the former produced as a liquid companion to Lamy's Copper Orange Al-Star fountain pen, the latter famed for its shading.

Here in scannage, there's less visible difference between the two, but In Real Life, the Lamy ink is less of a simple orange and more of an orange that can't decide if it wants to grow up to be pink, coral or red.   Maybe I like it.  Will have to see if it works well in pens with fine nibs.

The real difference is here, in the chromas.  Which read right-to-left opposite of the way they appear in the written shootout. Operator error.  But behold:
See?  Different-y.  A LOT.
Until next time.