Friday, February 8, 2013

Knockaround! In Which Dr. Inkenstein Writes Blue-Black

Sometimes, you can’t manage a Big, Important Involved Post, like Superhero Pens, but you want to post something because you got some new inks to test.
Also sometimes, you just want a knockaround ink, you know? An ink that doesn’t come in a ‘collectible’ bottle, an ink that doesn’t cost a fortune, an ink that is easy to open and isn’t overfilled and doesn’t tip too easily and you don’t have to approach with fear, awe, and trembling.
You inks out there know who you are.
To this end, Dr. Inkenstein sent for a bottle of New Formula Skrip Blue-Black ink, as opposed to the vintage formula that came in the inkwell bottle and was impossible for me to open. This came to about ten bucks…could have found it for less money in Real Life, but was impatient. Will never again order from this particular vendor; the tiny box was un-padded and bulging, but the ink miraculously arrived intact. And NO. The dealer was not isellpens, Jetpens or Goulet Pens. Rest assured of that.
Also ordered a bottle of Hero Blue-Black ink from fleabay. At about five bucks shipped, this is the Bargain of the Bunch.
Why is Diamine Denim included? Because it’s in a Knockaround Pen, one of my trusty and well-loved Platinum Preppys. And because I had a test bottle of Denim on hand, bigger than a sample, far less than a full bottle. We hates these small bottles. Hard to squeeze a nib into, all too easy to tip over. Diamine isn’t exactly Knockaround Ink, but the full-sized bottles are at least stable, easy to open, and difficult to tip.
I dip-tested the Skrip and the Hero inks using different pens, shown here on a Clairefontaine Grid Pad and shot with a very bad digital camera of sorts with no close-up feature:

Then I further disgraced myself by dip-testing all the inks with a horrible, no-name glass pen. This pen would make a professional calligrapher write like a cross-eyed monkey tanked up on espresso, so it had no difficulty whatsoever in making Dr. Inkenstein’s southpaw scribble resemble blue worms on a plate.

I also tried diluting each ink with first a water-dip, then a cotton swab smear. The Diamine Denim seems to have the least green undertones of the three tested inks, and may be the ‘truest’ blue of the bunch. But I kind of favor the Hero ink at this point, for a combination of price, bottle, and just because.
As for each ink’s shading properties, it’s too early to tell, and besides, it’s snowing. And there’s a loose chicken in my yard.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy New Year: In Which Count Sockula Goes Giant

Greetings, my fellow fiber fashioners. 

Long time no yarn.   A combo of perfectionism and a thing called Sandy has kept the Count from blogging.  But now Count Sockula returns, after a fashion.

With something of a caveman thing.

Count Sockula has been studying The Art of Black-Belt Tightwaddery and Cheapskate-ism.  Not to mention De-Clutterfying!  Come on, tell me that's not scary.

I've been doing a lof of 'sloshing.' That is to say, moving things from one location to another, and sometimes the result is Temporarily Mess-tacular. 

 So, as a result, Count Sockula had some yarn culled for giveaway: a smallish bag full of random balls and scraps, and even an already-started project.

One day I was de-clutter-inating the all-purpose room and felt the need for background entertainment.  So I put in an Annie's Attic crochet video.  The setting was so beautiful (a grand old Victorian house) and the basket-intensive storage so appealing that I reclaimed the poor sad abandoned project and yarn, and grabbed a Q-hook.  This is something resembling a plastic broomstick.  The only larger commercially-available hook is the mighty and terrifying S-hook.

Count Sockula hastily retrieved the abandoned project and studied it.  There were already about a dozen rounds executed in Bernat Mosaic yarn (the Psychedelic colorway, which is a rainbow of muted jewel tones).  

The nearly-abandoned square was already about a foot in diameter and done in one of my favorite patterns.  I call it The Guatemalan Square.  There is no reason for the name.

ThenGuatemalan Square is worked  from the center out, like a granny square, but instead of double crochet clusters and chain  spaces, you work a single crochet, chain one.  For the corners, sc, ch2, sc.  (Sometimes I chain 3 instead.  Doesn't really matter all that much. ) Work corners in corners and the sc-ch 1 in the ch-1 spaces of the previous round.

And that's all.  Mindless crafty fun.  Just keep going until you run out of yarn or get sick of it.

I kept adding in balls and scraps of this and that, trying to harmonize with the dusty-rainbow colors of the original.

It's a lapghan.  It's a shawl.  Stop!  You're both right...

Also a shapghan?  A scrapghan... or a scrawl?

A product of black-belt tightwaddism.  Warm, soft, drapey.  Works up like lightning.

Quick.  They don't call it the Q-hook fer nothin.

Coming some day:  Superhero Fountain Pens!  Until next time.  Muahaha.