Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some where in here there is a swarm of bees

I know this, because the pattern calls this section of the chart Swarm Lace, and when I look at the images online and with the pattern I see those little bees so clearly. As I knit this section I can imagine the bits that will look like wings, and bodies and even heads with eyes. As yet, alas those little bits don't look like bees to me. I am knitting on and trust once the blanket is blocked, and manipulated into a flatter squarer shape, the bees will emerge.

So far so good, I skipped the second lace section, and went straight to the Swarm of Bees. The final boarder is worked over eight stitches, sideways. My loose plan to estimate how much yarn I need for that is to weigh my yarn for the next few rounds and work out how much yarn a round uses ... then kind of double and fudge this up so I can knit the swarm repeats until I think I have enough left to work the boarder safely. As I said - fast and loose and very very much in the realm of wild-estimate.

Remember these? The books I made last weekend? I only showed you the outside of them then, but thought you might like a peek at the inside.

I'm one of those people that likes to collect the patterns they like. Quite frankly if I didn't resist quilting and other simillar hobbies with stashable supplies I'd be totally untrustworthy around any kind of fabric shop. As is I limit myself to yarn, and fibre for spinning and books, and fabric to sew ......(ond-day), and ink, and paper, and nice writing things. That also extends to 'collecting' wrapping paper from the local art supply shop. They have the most amazing collection of decorative papers- for sale by the sheet, at the same prices usually as standard mass market wrapping paper. What I discovered that all those random sheets of beautiful paper that I have squirreled away with no real purpose is excellent for covering books and for decorating the inside.

Now Bear has a book, he chose the cover, this textured green. The paper is one of the 'wrapping' papers that ArtZone stock. The pattern is deeply impressed into almost felt like thick paper, I have no idea how one would use it to wrap with but it makes a wonderful book cover.

Bear wanted lines, so I set up a blank word document, bought some lovely paper (HP 90gsm) and printed out book pages to his specification. Bear chose the cover and the inside cover. All the books have the same vintage green linen thread, it seems to suit everything I've used it on.

And now I have to admit that I have not actually put anything in any of these books yet, my teaching is coming to an end for the semester and it feels wrong to start a new book to document the end of that. I have at least four part used books that really 'should' be finished before I begin a new one. Unless that is until I start a new project. I might also need to admit that there are at least two more books part made .... covers, pages printed, and holes punched ... all ready to sew. I figure a good book will keep until I need it.

A few people have asked me about pens, fountain pens, vintage and or new, asked me to recommend one for them. I have to admit that while I learned to write 'cursive' with a fountain pen in school in the 1970's, and bought a Parker 45 for lecture notes in the late 1980's I don't know much at all, especially compared to some. I certainly don't know enough to be recommending pens - old or new. I can only share what I have and know, I like my Parker 45, and my three Parker 51's and my Parker 75. These are all vintage, between 50 to 20 years old, and work well, the 45 and 75 are able to be repaired with modern bits even though those models are no longer in production, they take a standard Parker ink filling system. Bear on the other hand loves the way the 51 and the 75 look but hates the way they feel when he writes, those pens are not the right shape or weight for his hands. I have half a dozen older pretty pens, Burnham's and a Conway Stewart, a Sheaffer, and an Onoto. These are all older, pre 1950ish, and feel more 'delicate' to me, I think these are more temperamental, need more care to work well and can't be abandoned filled with ink like the Parkers to their own devices quite so much. I have a lovely Esterbrook in Red and see why so many love these little pens. They are easy to clean, and use and have easy changeable nibs - often these are recommended as perfect starter pens for collectors - and if you get one that is restored that would be a good pen to use daily.

My only 'new' pen is my recent present of a Sailor 1910, and it is a lovely pen to use. Since I have such little experience with the world of fountain pens and especially new pens, and since I know that not all pens feel right to every one - I feel I can't really recommend a pen with clear conscience. Bear bought a rather expensive P51 and it is now mine as it is not right for him, I had the same experience with a Lamy 69, which is now Bears and he loves it, as I love his-now-my P51.

If you suspect you might like a fountain pen, a cheap entry model is the Lamy Safari, which will tell you if you actually like writing with wet ink, and the feel of a pen and all the ink choices that go with using one. You can buy Lamy's online fairly cheaply and in most towns, and they very quite nice to use, they come in nice colours and a few different finishes. I have promised myself a charcoal one with a black nib one day. Bear has one, and both cubs have one each, and it is the pen we gift to people who want to try a fountain pen. If you already know you want something more special than a Lamy safari, then visit the Fountain Pen Network, where people hang out and talk pens, ink, paper, supply's, suppliers, review and discuss pens, pen care and pen maintence. Chances are you might find a pen-user near you who can guide you into the world of fountain pens much better than I. Sorry its a little like finding a knitting project for some one, I might guess at what you want to knit, but I'd never be sure :D

na Stella


fluffbuff said...

What beautiful books you make.

Suzanne said...

I'd say that was a pretty good recommendation of possible entry level pens!

If anyone bothers to read the comments, I would add that, having taken possession of that first pen, the thing to do is write with it. Observe how it feels in the hand and behaves on the paper. Then, if you wish to pursue an interest in fountain pens, read all you can about them online. Richard's Pens and the Fountain Pen Network offer a wealth of information about all brands and styles of pen, both vintage and modern. Should you decide to buy more than one pen, or even become a collector, those sites will be invaluable resources. There is also a pen fetish group on Ravelry.

skeindalous said...

Thank you for taking the time to talk about pens. It was helpful. Just what we need is another obsession, but...it's all good!

KathyR said...

Love the books - especially Bear's. That paper is beautiful! Oh, and the knitting is lovely, too! Can't wait to see the shawl all stretched out. I'm sure the bees will buzz in then.

Knitting Linguist said...

Those books are just wonderful! I love all the front and inside cover papers together - what a wonderful mix of colors and textures.

I completely agree about Lamys as good starter pens - I've given quite a few away myself for the same reason, and I have fun with my clear one (which reminds me - it's time to go refill it and use that one for a while...).

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Your books are truly lovely! I would love to learn how to make books like your's someday!

Ever since reading your blog, I always check out the fountain pens that the dealers are selling at the fleamarket and wonder if I am leaving a great treasure! ;-)

Vanda Symon said...

A girl can never have too many fountain pens! Or bottles of ink! Or stashes of paper and stationery products, or books or fabric for that matter. Hmmm, no wonder my house always looks like an overloaded mess!