Winter Ink Shipping + Diamine + New Steel Blue
It's getting chillier and chillier, and we're close to reaching that time of year when we start to think more closely about how we ship our ink. As a shop, we've been doing a bit of planning and forecasting in bringing in ink shipments before it gets too cold - we've had our warehouse area covered in styrofoam peanuts and with bottles of ink everywhere. I think this is yet another one of those things that I say that sort of classify me as insane, but in the really cold months, I sometimes feel an urge to rush into the shop and run my fingers over all the bottles of ink, knowing that I've amassed a safe amount of writing fluid to get me through the winter. It's completely ridiculous, since one bottle will likely last you years, much less through one season -there is always the practical concern of selling out of a certain colour of ink before spring comes and we can restock, but what consumes me is the more paranoid idea of "running out of ink," like I'm not going to make it through the lean months without my ink supply. It's a bit much, even for me.
We're still having some pretty good temperatures for shipping ink here in Toronto, but I know out in some of our eastern provinces, and in a few cities that are a bit higher in latitude, like Edmonton, things have gotten cold. You can read about our winter shipping process in this blog post, but I'll cover the main ideas here again. Depending on your location, we may select to have Canada Post hold your package at the post office for you to pick up. Even if you might be home at the time of delivery, there is still a chance that your package may be left in an outdoor pick-up box for your delivery person to pick up from. In our experience, this really helps, but if you'd like to risk it anyways, you can leave a note in the comments, and we will mark your package accordingly. We may siphon off a bit of ink from bottles that are filled right up to the brim (like Noodler's) so if the ink does freeze and expand, there is a reduced chance of it popping the cap off or breaking the glass bottle. We'll include this in a labelled sample vial with your bottle. Cartridges may burst. Unfortunately, there's not too much we can do about this shy of not shipping cartridges in the winter. It depends a bit on the cartridge - we've had the worst luck with the standard international shorts, because their small volume means have less buffer, but larger-sized cartridges, including Platinum or Lamy, can also leak slightly, or burst. You can definitely still use your cartridge right away if it's leaking or even if you've lost some volume out, but the longer you leave it, the more the water can evaporate, thickening up the ink inside, which can cause some flow issues.
And in particular, we may stop shipping Diamine inks if the weather gets too cold, which is always a shame because Diamine makes some of my favourite inks. The 150th Anniversary inks in the triangular bottles and the Shimmertastic inks in the taller, cylindrical bottles, seem to be fine, but their standard, wide bottles seem to fare the worst with our great Canadian winters. We've historically had the worst luck with Diamine bottles, no matter how well we try to pack. The bottles have just seemed to be weaker, and we've even heard of some bad luck with big Diamine shipments coming into Canada to our distributor late in the fall, and we can completely sympathize with the headaches and costs of that.
Diamine has recently redesigned their bottles for their standard line - in the photo, the one on the left, with the long ridges is the one you might recognize as their old design, and the one on the right, with all the dots, is the new (along with the new label). Time will tell if the new bottle design is stronger, and fingers crossed that maybe we won't have to pull Diamine from our online shop this winter. However, if there is a full bottle of something that you'd really like from Diamine's standard line, you should start thinking about it over the next couple of weeks. Personal favourites of mine include Ancient Copper and Ochre - looking back on the blog post about Ochre, I can remember writing this post just after Caleb was born (in September), and the cool fall weather at that time, at our old west end shop. I guess that's also part of the allure of inks, remembering when and where you fell in love with it, and looking back on the journal entries or notes you made at that time. In any case, I'm also partial to both Majestic Blue and Sargasso Sea. We recently got in a few new colours including Hope Pink (a great match for the new TWSBI AL-Pink), and this Steel Blue.
Its a really sweet, blue-green, dark turquoise kind of colour. I normally like my blues blue, or else leaning towards grey or purple or a blue-black, rather than into teal or turquoise, but this is my second fill on my Custom 92. I think it's because it's such a pretty ink, while not being too light, and of course I can't resist a good, rich shading ink.