New inks into freshly washed pens!


Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses—Lamy Safari Mango, fine

Noodler’s NightshadeLamy Charcoal, Medium

Lamy Topaz—Pilot Custom 74 (discontinued), medium

Kaweco Midnight BlueTWSBI AL-Mini, fine

Sailor HahaTWSBI AL-Mint Blue, medium


The paper is Tomoe River in a Hobonichi.



Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses: one of our more popular Noodler’s inks. I’ve always been more partial to the English Roses, which is darker, more purple, maroon, but this is a bit of cheer.




Noodler’s Nightshade: An old favourite ink that I used to use once upon a time when I was a teacher. Dark enough, maybe, for an office.




Lamy Topaz: Brown inks are some of my favourites, and yet for some reason I have been waffling back and forth on whether or not I need a home bottle of Lamy Topaz, which I’ve inked up half a dozen times since Lamy released their crystal line. I’m not one for a lot of sheen or shimmer, but this one has just enough (which is to say, not a lot). It’s a great medium brown.




Kaweco Midnight Blue: I really like blue-blacks, and I’m surprised I haven’t used this one before, or at least more frequently. It’s a classic blue-black that writes smoothly. There’s a satisfying mustiness to it that is not super noticeable, but makes it a non-flashy, solid ink.




Sailor Haha: A magical ink. Lighter, but can’t beat that colour.



I’ve titled this post During Winter Lockdown, which is a bit tangential, as the inks are not related to being in lockdown, but just what happens to be in my pens. I’ve recently begun making samples at home, which is a meditative exercise, listening to audiobooks or music. Sometimes the kids help, which makes it decidedly less meditative, and more...high stakes.


But mostly, I’ve been making them at night, in a little cone of light, and it is also satisfying, to have neat stacks of bins, all the samples made. Something, at least, that can be crossed off a to do list.


I’ve also been finding the inks that have been popping up in the queue to be made into samples a pleasant surprise for my own pens. I tend to get into comfortable ruts, always picking the same inks or the same colours—greys, browns, blue-blacks—in part because I only have bottles of ink that I love, and I end up using them over and over again. As my preferences change over time, though, I’ve been finding I’ve left behind some old favourites. Rediscovering colours, but also trying out other inks that I’ve never tried before.



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January 13, 2021 — Liz Chan

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