What I Bought in 2018: Inks

Platinum Blue-Black ink bottle

I like to do an annual accounting every year of the inks I bought. In 2018, it was 18 bottles.

Now, that seems like an awful lot. But, if you take the long view, I improved. Because in 2015 I bought 30 bottles of ink; and in 2016 I bought 20 bottles of ink and three boxes of cartridges.

Now, a strict accounting also would uncover that in 2017 I bought only 10 bottles of ink. But then strict accounting seems to be for unhappy people. Let’s forget that and take the long view. I improved!

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Inks Chris Bought in 2017

Inks I bought 2017_0002

My friend Chrissy, the indomitable ink goddess, is always kind enough to give us a list of the inks she bought each year. Her 2017 roster is awesome, as ever. She and I bought almost entirely different inks this year, too — our only common purchase was Lamy Petrol. Note, however, that Chrissy is the sort of person who not only lives through a terrible hurricane far from home, but actually emerges triumphant, with free Montblanc ink in hand. A Robinson Crusoe for our time. Here, in her own words, are Chrissy’s ink purchases from 2017:

For 2017 I’m pleased to report that I kept my New Year resolution and wrote records of my pen and ink purchases. I decided to start two separate pages in my Seven Seas Writer Journal, titled “Inks I Bought,” and “Pens I Bought.” I kept them accurately and feel almost saintly. 🙂

Yes, I admit the inks page has more entries, but I spent more on pens because I made one expensive purchase.

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My Favorite 2017 Inks

favorite 2017 inks

Here are my five favorite inks from 2017:

KWZ Baltic Memories, Walk Over Vistula and Warsaw Dreaming

KWZ Chicago Blue

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall

This was a very easy list to compile. I looked through everything I’d tried this year, and these were the obvious standouts. These five inks made the biggest impression on me. On a scale of one-to-ten, these go to 11. One became one of the inks I use most.

KWZ Warsaw Dreaming and Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall are in some ways at opposite ends of a continuum, with one being the darkest (the black Warsaw Dreaming) and one being the lightest (the green-blue-gray Bayou Nightfall). But they are similar in other ways. Both are quiet, but have depth. These inks don’t shout for attention, but they repay your attention.

Baltic Memories, in contrast … this ink does grab your attention. It walks onstage and starts singing. It is super sheeny. It is dynamic. You will notice it.

Walk Over Vistula sort of snuck onto this list, because it seemed inseparable from the other two KWZ inks released at the same time. I think of the KWZ trio together. But Walk Over Vistula deserves its spot. It’s a bridge between the quieter inks on this list, and the bravura Baltic Memories.

Chicago Blue is a super-solid everyday blue ink. Which isn’t to suggest that it’s dull, just that it’s so good you may not notice how good. It’s the Tom Hanks of ink. Oh, it’s got sheen, if you like that, and saturation. But it’s also easy-to-clean and behaves in all my pens. It was my most-used ink this year, along with old standby Pelikan Brilliant Black.

All of the inks on my favorites list came out in 2017. But there were other 2017 inks I loved, as well as older inks I didn’t try until 2017. Here are ten that were also particularly good, in my view — my 2017 Honorable Mentions:

Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue

KWZ Honey

Papier Plume Mardi Gras Indians

Papier Plume Moss Green

Papier Plume Pecan

Papier Plume Red Beans and Rice

Papier Plume Streetcar Green

Platinum Classic iron gall inks

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

Robert Oster Rubine

Yes, the Platinum Classic line comprises six different inks. That’s not cheating; it’s creative accounting.

I’d love to hear other people’s favorites. Maybe I can try them in 2018.

Inks Chris Bought in 2016

Ink Bottles

I asked my friend Chris to tell us what inks she bought in 2016. I love her lists, because they always contain such interesting things. On the one hand, we both love Caran d’Ache and Montblanc inks. So, we’re practically twins. But Chris has much broader ink interests than I do. Occasionally I will insert an Editor’s Note in her text, because silence is not my forte. But here’s Chris.)

I think I’ve bought a similar number of bottles to last year, but I’m not counting any inks that I received for free. Like last year, I bought some more inks that I intend to sell, so I haven’t included those either.

I still haven’t kept very good records of inks I have bought, but I’ve gone back through PayPal and credit card purchases to compile a list for the purposes of this post. I buy inks from quite a few sources so my new years resolution for 2017 will be to keep an accurate record. (Editor’s Note: Good idea. I think my resolution will be to “forget” half my 2017 purchases.)

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Pen of the Day: Pelikan M600 Ruby Red with Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red

Pelikan M600 Ruby Red fountain pen and Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red ink

Pelikan M600 Ruby Red with fine nib. Winter weather’s here, with days dark and drear. Perhaps a new ink might bring some good cheer.

Outside Fountain Pen Follies world headquarters, cold and snow have arrived. Which of course means it’s time for the long-awaited limerick contest winter ink colors. Time for the jewel tones, the dark and rich hues, the seasonal shades.

My first choice this year is Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red. I originally tried Garnet Red, and wrote a brief review, last winter. Garnet Red on white paper makes me think of red berries silhouetted against snowy ground.

Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red writing sample

Garnet Red is an attractive, business-appropriate maroon or cranberry.  I always love an ink that shades. And Graf von Faber-Castell has a great ink bottle. As a fellow blogger recently pointed out, a bottle of premium ink would make a great Christmas or Hanukkah gift. Start hinting.

I do like my Pelikan M600 Ruby Red with maroon inks. The pen’s acrylic is a mix of the right kind of dark reds.

Pelikan M600 Ruby Red fountain pen closeup

Fountain Pen Favorites for August 2016

calendar image

Think of a middling movie franchise. The first movie does well, so they come up with a sequel, which isn’t exactly good, but sells enough tickets, so they can’t resist slapping together a third. Which is just chum. And that was my August — the Jurassic Park III of months.

But hey, Laura Dern and Sam Neill were in Jurassic Park III. Nothing is irredeemable. So let’s focus on the bright side of August.

1. Weather. It did not rain every minute of every day. Okay, nearly. But there were a few minutes where you could see the sun still existed. Bonus points: no need to worry about a beach body. And I found some very water-resistant inks.

2. Pen Shows. Many people I know had fun at pen shows in August. Not me, but I lived vicariously. And I was lucky because a very sweet friend brought me back a present from DC. I hope you either went to a pen show in August, or got something nice.

3. Inks. I loved my August inks. There wasn’t a “meh” ink in the bunch for me. The new-to-me inks were simply wonderful: KWZ Thief’s Red, KWZ Rotten Green, Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue, Kaweco Sunrise Orange, Kaweco Smokey Grey, and J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre. I could be happy with just those. That was a real light in August.



Photo by Dafne Cholet, Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

A Peek at the Pen Cup: This Week the Pen Cup Runneth Over

pen cup

It is pure chaos right now at Fountain Pen Follies. That cup is so full of pens I was sure I couldn’t fit even one more.

But I needed to, because, unable to bear the suspense any longer, I opened the world’s best ink bottle and filled a Pelikan with Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue.

So imagine one more Pelikan, jammed into the last empty spot, right in front.

pens in pen cup

This pen cup is now filled wall-to-wall.

What’s taking up all the room? There’s a rollerball. Also the Parker 51 and the charcoal Lamy Safari that are my everyday pens. Every other pen in there is for an ink review or other ink post that I’m working on. Except the pen that’s in there for a pen review I’m working on.

A bunch of Pelikans. A bunch of Lamy Safaris and a Vista. An Edison. Two Montblancs. A Platinum. All fantastic. Except, this is so overstuffed. I need to go on a pen diet. Or start cranking out content faster.

Or I suppose I could just move the rollerball….