What pen do I want?

When people find out I’m a pen and ink junky that is a pretty common question I get asked. I often answer with “Lamy Safari”. It is probably my most dependable, easy to use, reliable pen. I love it so much that I have it in different nib sizes. These days, though, I mostly use it for drawing these days. Why? because I have a bunch of pens and I prefer to write every day with some ink color other than black. I keep my Safari pens all in black for doodling and sketching. They’re my most reliable and I when I set down to doodle out something, I don’t want blobs, messes or scratches. Lamy is my knight in shining armor.

So what pens do I like? I’m going to do a run down here of a few of my favorites from least to most expensive. Ready?

The Preppy Pen from Platinum
Inks: Top: Noodler’s Golden Brown, Bottom: Noodler’s Concord Grape

It’s price point is in the $3-$4 range. Its a decent pen. Nothing fancy. I have Fine tips and they write really well. One came a little scratchy but I used some fine steel wool on it and voila, it was great. Ink converters for that pen cost more than the pen itself though. But! You can turn the pen into an eyedropper pen. What’s that? CLICK HERE. He even mentions how to change the Preppy into an eyedropper pen. Ink Nouveau has a video detailing just that CLICK HERE. I received the preppy free with a bottle of Noodler’s ink. I since bought one and converted it. It really is simple. I do want to mention that if you don’t have a bottle of ink with an eyedropper in it, get a syringe to fill it. A syringe is a handy thing because you can also refill cartridges. No waste folks! The Preppy also can change out its tip to a ball point, felt tip, or highlighter. Really versatile. This may not be your favorite pen but it’s nice to have one or two set up in funky colors when you need some splash.

The Creaper from Noodlers
Ink: Diamine Ancient Copper

This is $14 from Goulet Pen and it is spelled as Creaper and not Creeper like I originally wrote up there. Creeper Amy indeed. It’s not a bad price at all for a decent flex nib pen. Ink Nouveau has a bunch of videos about this pen but I didn’t link them. Search them out if you get the pen, they will help you with adjustments. The nibs and ink feed is completely adjustable. It’s an easy to fill pen. You can change the nib out to italic if you want to. The ink I have in mine now is dry. I had a pretty wet ink in it before and this pen really does react drastically different depending on the ink you have in it. I can fiddle with the feed and nib and I can make it perfect. If you’re into fancy writing and you want to give a flex nib a try, go for this. However….If you already know you like fancy writing and flex nibs I would put up the extra $6 and buy the Ahab or the Konrad. Both made by Noodlers and $20 at Goulet Pen. They’re a little better than the Creaper in my opinion.

Kakuno from Pilot
Inks: Top: Diamine Graphite, Middle: J. Herbin Vert Olive, Bottom: Noodler’s Baystate Blue

The pen with the smiley face on the nib.
How could you not love this pen? Its reliable, simple to use and it’s always ready. I am using the cheap Pilot converter in it and its been just fine. I know there are mixed reviews about the converters but I’ve filled it 3 times and it’s all just fine. The Graphite is my every day color so this Kakuno is now my every day pen. Love it to pieces. This is the pen that took over the Lamy Safari’s job for daily writing and note taking. It’s about $10 cheaper than a Safari at $16.50 from Jetpens. This means you can have at least 2.

Pelikan Twist
Ink: Montaverde Pink

In expensive pen that is a little hard to find. In my opinion this pen might be best served for kids that hold their pen wrong or need a little help with penmanship. It’s triangle shaped at the top forcing you to hold it correctly. It’s not uncomfortable at all. I really like this pen and if you’ve ordered from us and have a pink note on your order – this is the pen I used. The other good thing about this pen is that you can get it with erasable ink. No kidding. I am getting these for my kids. One needs huge help with her penmanship and I believe this will do it. She writes better with a fountain pen and currently she’s using one of my Safaris. Which makes me nervous that she’ll loose it so I need to get on the ball and get this pen for her.

The Lamy Safari
Ink: Lamy Black

What can I say? This is a great pen. If you want a solid dependable pen that will last you a long time without spending a ton, GET THIS ONE. I’ve had these for years and years. I’d buy more in a heartbeat. I love them. You’ll notice my 3 different size nibs. I’m not super thrilled with the broad 1.5 but the ink isn’t really wet enough for that one probably. I’ll switch out the inks and see what I think. There are more nib sizes for this pen and the Fine is a pretty great every day size. I prefer the Ex-Fine for doodling. So that lime green is my most often used pen.  I rely on these pens and they’ve not yet failed me.

Also – in case you didn’t know, you can use an empty clean pen as a “dip pen”. Which is what I did to test some inks.
I do not have my Lamy pens set up with 3 different turquoise inks. I’m bonkers but not a complete lunatic. I had an empty one which I just dipped in the ink and tested out the colors. Slick. I wouldn’t write a lot this way but to test out ink colors, it’s pretty perfect. Which, by the way, my favorite out of those 4 Turquoise tests is the Organics Studio Nickel. It’s probably not the best bet for sky sketching. For that it’s a toss up between Diamine Turquoise and Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise. For writing though, I’d pick the Nickel. Hands down.

If you go shopping and buy pens. Please tweet at me what you got. I love seeing how people match up with their new pens. And bonus, if you have a new ink you love, tell me about that too.

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Castons and off!

I cast on a new project and finished it even!
Pattern: Spiced Cocoa
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Targhee Classic
Colorway: Chai
Notes: Knit exactly as written. Fabulous little mitts! They’re cute, they’re a little different and the pattern is very well written.

I didn’t touch any of the old projects. But because I finished something, I cast on 2 new projects!! One of which is a simple raglan in this:
It’s the Caress 50/50 Merino Silk yarn. It’s going to be fabulous and I’ll share my simple pattern notes with you when I finish it.

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Knitting Dumbitious Wrap-up

Well. If you’ve been reading, you might have noticed that I finished a few things. The two big sweater projects Acer and Owls were completed. I managed to finish the Caterpillar shawl and release the free pattern out into the wild. I abandoned the sock that didn’t go over my ridiculously high instep and made it a jar cozy/yarn swatch. I also finished Illyria and Barley. (Ravelry links)

Everything else?
I totally tanked it. Nothing else caught on to the point of where I felt I really needed to finish it so they all languish as I do a few rows here and there on each. I even cast on new projects that are now in the same few rows languish as the old projects. I thought the new projects would catch me up in them but they haven’t yet.

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Sporty (yarn coming in the update)
Colorways: HiHo Silver and Riverwalk
Pattern: Broken Seed Stitch Socks
Details: Working on the foot of the first sock

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Baby Panda
Colorway: February Club – “Acorns”
Pattern: Citron
Details: I just started really

Yarn: Handspun BFL Thick/thin Singles
Colorway: French Alpine (colorway is Spunky Eclectic discontinued)
Pattern: Top down Raglan
Details: Body is done. I need to pick up stitches and do the sleeves but I’m undecided how I want them to look.

Yarn: March club – it’s a secret.
Colorway: Hint – it’s not all greys.
Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket
Details: I’m done with the increases. This one, if I worked on it monogamously would be done in a day or two.

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Super DK
Colorway: Ginkgo
Pattern: Brickless
Details: Working on the 3rd repeat.

Yarn: All Handspun
Colorway: Colorways from SE, Hello Yarn, and Southern Cross Fibres
Pattern: Driftwood with color repeats of Less is More.
Details: 1st color done. Working on solid section of 2nd color. Almost at placket joining.

What’s next?
A simple Raglan in Caress?
A new yarn that is begging to be an Aestlight Shawl?
Finally get those Pointy Pointy Mittens started?
Atalanta (Envy)? or Hilliard (Calypso)?

Or maybe I just haven’t dyed up the next project yet…. I’m trying to make myself finish one thing before I start a couple of others. That’s right. All I need to do is finish one thing then I can start 2 new things. Can you tell I’m a process knitter and not always worried about the final product? If it makes me happy to knit it, I’m on it. Casting on makes me ever so happy. I need a pinch finisher.

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Caterpillar Shawl

This is one of my dumbitious projects that I managed to finish. I think I did fairly well on the dumbitious front but I’ll give you that run down next week maybe. This week I’m away at SPA knit and spin in Freeport, Maine. Tonight at the show and tomorrow online the pattern for the Caterpillar Shawl is live and free.
caterpillarshawl2xLink to Ravelry and the pattern HERE

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Acer in Targhee Classic

I love this sweater. I love this yarn.
The green is one of my favorite greens
This yarn is my new favorite and I’ve already dyed another sweater’s worth for myself.
This fits so perfectly. The pattern is spot on and fabulous.
And then I found the perfect buttons. Wheat Pennies.
You should make one too.

Pattern: Acer Cardigan
Yarn: Targhee Classic
Colorway: Forest (5 skeins)
No modifications. No changes. I actually knit this exactly to the pattern’s gauge and directions. Hey, it happens every now and then.

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More blob transformation

I love making the watercolor blobs and then finding a use for them.

Sometimes they become people

Sometimes they transform into a bird

And then sometimes I think of what I want them to be when I’m laying down the watercolor

The greyish sheep on the bottom looked enough like my Gypsy after I started to pen in her fluff that I changed her tail from the downward sheep tail into an upward goat tail. Which, Gypsy’s tail really does look a little scraggly like that at the moment. It’s almost shearing time again…

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Bullet Journal

I am a note taker. My computer was ringed like a lion with post it notes. Rawr.
No, wait. Really, that’s not so fierce to have that happening. Sometimes it was layers of post-it notes. My desk was covered in little bits of scrap paper with ideas and to-do lists. I’ve tried to like the online or digital based note/list maker applications. Phone, computer, iPad, I hated them all for note taking. Show me a new app and I’ll hate it too. They’re decent applications if you like that sort of thing. It really just comes down to my preference for paper and pen.

I had recently come to the conclusion that I’d rather deal with a messy paper filled desk and lion monitor than try another note/list application on my computer or phone or iPad. Seriously.

In walked the Bullet Journal. At the beginning of the year, the video for this was linked in a bunch of Twitter and Facebook posts. I don’t know who I credit with seeing this first but after seeing it linked a bazillion times, I finally caved and watched the video. This one:

I got really excited so I grabbed my journal and set to it.
Then because my pens bled through my Moleskine squared, I ordered a new journal. I sent the bullet journal video to my teen daughter and gave her the Moleskine with the bleedy pages. We use different pens so I figured she’d be all set. She is. She loves the system and it’s helping her keep on track of things with her schoolwork.

Here’s my February:
Or at least, that’s the first couple of weeks on the main page. I do take notes and write a daily todo list. This is so helpful. It’s keeping me on track and actually helps with the stress load a bit. I have pages set for Miles Run, Knits done, Knits to do, Weaving ideas, Notes for the kid’s 4H stuff, Yarn made, and all kinds of work junk. I no longer have to search for the note that I left laying on my desk, I put it all in my journal.

I can hear some of you now saying “You didn’t really need a special note taking exercise, you just needed to get a notebook and pen and go for it”. I have notebooks. It just never clicked before. I think having a set way of doing it, a method is what I was missing. I’m not the most organized person on the planet so I just needed that little bit of help to set me on my way. Then having all the todo lists, past and present here on my pages helps too. It’s not so easy to forget the tasks that I procrastinated or put off yesterday.

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