I think one of my favourite parts about fountain pens is the fact that you can fill and refill and change the colour of your ink. I know this sounds kind of like an obvious fact, but you can love the same pen, and have it write with you for years, and through journal entries and letters and notes, but have it carry all different colours and brands and sorts of ink. I'm generally someone who sticks with what I know and like - I've been ordering the same thing in the same restaurants for years - but it's always nice to have a reason to change it up. Trying new inks is that it's a pretty low commitment, both financially if you get a sample, but also you don't have to "commit" to keeping something around that you don't like: at the end of the day, if you don't like the ink, you can write with it until your pen is dry, or you can flush it down the sink. Early on into the holiday season I flushed out a couple of pens and filled up a few empty ones with some holiday cheer, and I am loving the earthy and Christmas tones in my pen roll these days. A few of these are old favourites that I have kicking around every once a while, but a few of these are new to me - I borrowed some pens, too. Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji - Lamy Imporium F Sailor Waka-Uguisu - Parker Sonnet M Diamine Oxblood - Kaweco Luxe F J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie - Pilot Custom 92 Rohrer + Klingner Alt-Goldgrun - Parker Sonnet F Sailor Irori - Lamy 2000 F Noodler's Green Marine - Pilot Vanishing Point M New to me is Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji - of the Iroshizuku line, I have tried most of their blues (Shin-Kai is my favourite), greys, browns, and their Take-Sumi black, but have not yet ventured into any of their more vibrant and colourful inks. Momiji is a pop of colour for sure, a pink red with gold sheen, and if there is a time of year for it, this is it - a candy cane red. (Also maybe the spring.) Diamine Oxblood is one of our most popular of the Diamine inks in the shop, and yet it is one I have not quite made friends with. I still remember back at 906 Dundas West, a customer came in and bought four bottles of Oxblood - we were closing in on our winter freeze - and said something along the lines of this is the best ink ever with complete confidence and nonchalance, and I remember thinking - really?? Oxblood??? He has become a true regular of ours, incredibly thoughtful, which is no mean feat to convey as he's often an online customer from out of the city, but at that time I had no idea who he was and thought he was just nuts. Turns out it's a beauty of an ink, rich and deep and warm and smooth. A deep red burgundy ink, with its name, Oxblood, being quite accurate as far as my imagination can make out. Ambre de Birmanie and Alt-Goldgrun are both tried and true favourites of mine. I often think of inking up Ambre de Birmanie, but worry about how light it is, and so I try to make sure it's in a wet writer, like my Custom 92. This Lamy 2000 is another one for me: I picked up a Lamy 2000 because I felt a bit obligated, running a pen shop and all, but it's been back and forth "on loan" to Jon because I am not a huge fan of its ultra sleek and modern body. I'm constantly fighting the losing battle of trying to cull my collection to only have pens that I am completely in love with and can't stop writing with. However, every time I write with it, I realize why it's such an incredibly popular pen: the nib is just perfect. Jon had an extra fine, which he ended up trading with a customer, and now he has a medium. Both my fine and his medium are extremely wet and smooth and a complete delight. Both of these pens have, at some point in their early life, been used as testers in the shop, and I think some "enthusiastic" testing has pressed out the nib a bit, making them even wetter.
I hope your holiday season is going well so far, and maybe you have some inky pens to keep you festive and cheerful as well.
***In other news, our staff Secret Santa is this weekend. I was pretty excited mainly because I had purchased my gift and it was all ready to go - it's always nice when you're prepared, and even nicer when it's a rare thing for you. I discovered yesterday that I forgot it at the cottage. I was hiding it from Jon (because it's supposed to be a secret), but I hid it so well I forgot to pack it to bring it back. I had to buy it again online, and upgrade to express shipping so it will make it on time - hopefully. Someone asked if I could re-use the gift in some way, and I said maybe, but I guess you'll have to see for yourself after we exchange gifts on Saturday...