INK REVIEW: Visconti Purple

As I mentioned when I reviewed the Monteverde Limonada earlier this week, Goulet Pens also sent along Visconti Purple ink for me to try. This is my first Visconti ink to review in detail.

It’s impossible not to notice the unique Visconti packaging. The oddly-shaped bottle arrives in a hard plastic two-piece box that can be used for storage. The plastic bottle is designed in such a way that as a writer reaches those last few precious milliliters of ink, the ink is in a very small area, and therefore quite easy to reach with the nib. No tipping the bottle or using a syringe/dropper required.

This would be a genius design . . . except it’s not.  The bottle is top heavy and even being super-duper careful, I was concerned about tipping it over as I filled my pen.

Mr. Pentulant suggested that perhaps I should place the bottle of ink into the lid of the box to fill a pen, but that was awkward, too.

The bottle aside – look at that color!

How does it write?  Quite wonderfully! It’s a bright shade of purple with solid saturation. At first, I wasn’t sure that I liked the brightness of the purple – I thought it was perhaps a little too rainbows and unicorns. After using it over the past few days, though, I’ve grown to appreciate the color and don’t think it’s as little girlish as the swab seems to indicate.

I had no trouble with the ink’s behavior at all. The pen started right up, I’ve had no flow issues, no bleeding, and I would say this is neither a particularly wet or dry ink. There was a teeny tiny amount of spreading on a couple of lesser quality papers.

Dry time isn’t bad!

Overall, this is a really nice ink and I can see myself using it regularly.

As usual, I waited to read reviews until after I’d formed my opinions about Visconti Purple. It seems that people over on FPN really went crazy for it when the ink was first released in 2012/2013 and I can see why – look at this shading! The Limonada is a medium nib, but it leans toward fine to me. I’m going to have to give this ink a go in a broader nib.

Thank you, Goulet Pens, for giving me the opportunity to try a new-to-me brand of ink! Here’s a link to the sample and one to the full-sized bottle.

Keep an eye on Instagram for more writing samples and I’d love to hear all about your experiences with Visconti inks.

PEN REVIEW: Pilot Custom 912 – Music Nib

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Pilot Custom 912 – Music Nib

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The Pilot Custom 912 is a nice looking pen with classic styling. The body is black resin and the trim is shiny and silver in color.

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The cap screws on and posts easily to the back of the pen. The section is a bit shorter than average and this could present an issue for people with larger hands.

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Fill using the included Pilot CON-70 converter or Pilot’s proprietary cartridges. The CON-70 is unique in that it is a push-button / pump converter and it holds a bunch of ink (around 1 ml). I love it, but there are varying viewpoints out there.  The good news is that if a user hates it, one of the other Pilot converters can apparently be swapped in easily enough.

To learn more about the CON-70 pump converter, I suggest watching Brian Goulet’s video. Informative and entertaining:  “You have to really want it.”  “You have to attack it!” “BAM! BAM!”

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Music nibs are sometimes referred to as trident nibs because they have three tines. That is to say that this nib has two slits through which the ink flows. Lines drawn vertically are thicker with this kind of nib than lines horizontal lines.

Pilot Custom 912 Writing Samples

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With cursive writing, the pen writes wonderfully. But with printing I’m having some hard starts on some downstrokes. Arrgh.

The trouble can be seen in the image below. See where the M in “Music” and the I in “Nib” look a little off? It looks like there’s an issue with the left side of the nib.

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Now what?  Well, I love the pen and I’m not going to return it, but I will be looking for someone to tune the nib. Do you know a nibmeister with expertise making music nibs sing?

Also, if you have this pen, I’d love to hear what you think of it. Did you get the music nib, too?

ARTICLE: Budgeting for Fountain Pens

With January comes resolutions. Lose weight, travel more, and spend less are some of the most popular resolutions out there.

All of this has me thinking about how I find money for my fountain pen habit hobby.


Budget. I’ve budgeted a small amount of money to spend on whatever I want each month. I usually choose to spend it on my pen hobby. Sometimes, I’ll buy a few ink samples and save the rest for a larger purchase. Fountain Pen Physicist talks about this in a video.

Save your pennies – literally. Loose change can accumulate quickly. Even if it accumulates slowly, it still accumulates – usually without any discomfort.

Prioritize. I have to prioritize. There are certain things that I know I’m going to want each year. If two pens are released at the same time and one of them is the new Lamy Safari, that’s the one I’m getting.

Focus on affordability. There are so many affordable options available for fountain pen lovers. Good options. I used to believe that a pen had to be expensive to be high-quality. I was wrong. It’s possible (easy!) to put together an amazing collection of affordable pens, ink, and paper.

Watch for sales. Discounts on pens aren’t nearly as frequent or as deep as discounts at Old Navy, but they are out there. Keep an eye on your favorite retailers, read blogs. Don’t forget to compare prices at Amazon; I’ve found some great deals there.

Give up something else. Take the bus, make your own coffee, stop buying so many clothes. Seriously, how much washi tape does one girl need?

eBay. Research reputable sellers, dive in, get a deal.

Sell something you don’t love. I recently sold a 2015 Hobonichi Planner that I knew I wouldn’t use. While I didn’t recoup all that I’d spent on it, I ended up with enough to get a couple of small things that I will use.

Focus on smaller parts of the hobby. Practice handwriting. Sample inks. Try new paper. These parts of the hobby are less expensive than buying a fancy new pen and can be just as rewarding – especially in the long-term.

Make friends. Choose one of the online communities dedicated to Fountain Pens, become a regular, and make friends. Friends (and yet-to-be friends) often trade ink and paper samples.

How do you afford your hobby habit? Do you budget? Play it fast and loose?

INK SWAB: 13/365 – Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Bordeaux



Rohrer & Klingner is a brand that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.

I’ve not written with Alt-Bordeaux, but I have enjoyed other R&K inks and this is an interesting purple that leans toward red – aptly named.

While today isn’t Friday, I need to mention how much I enjoy Fashionable Friday from The Well-Appointed Desk. Pretty pretty.

PEN REVIEW: Delta Unica (Limited Edition)

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Delta Unica

Blue with Gold Trim

Limited Edition

Before we get started – I’ll be back this afternoon to announce the winner of the Stateside Notebook giveaway!

The Delta Unica is a gorgeous pen. Deep blue swirls that vary from almost white to almost black, but mostly velvety blue. In a word: chatoyance.

Let’s have a look under the hood . . .

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The trim (or furniture, if you prefer) is gold-plated. The cap screws on and can be posted (placed on the back of the pen) easily.

The clip has one of those rolly things that (in theory) makes it easy to clip to a pocket. I’m generally not a fan of this feature, but that is definitely a matter of personal taste.

The nib has a matte finish (it’s brushed gold-plated steel). It’s an interesting look that may not be for everyone. The nib features a wonderfully scrolly design that I quite like.

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The section of the Unica is sized well and comfortable.

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The pen takes international short cartridges or fills with the included converter. Fittings are deep (a good thing) and appear to be brass (another good thing).

How does it write?

A photo posted by Christine Darling (@pentulant) on

I inked it with J. Herbin’s Ocean Bleu and found them to be a perfect pairing. The pen wrote perfectly out of the box. No skipping, no hard starts. Flow was perfect.

The nib offers some feedback. Some writers prefer and are accustomed to a perfectly buttery smooth writing experience and anything other than that may feel scratchy at first glance. This nib doesn’t catch on the paper nor is it difficult to write – rather, I can feel the paper beneath the pen. I like this, but it may be a deal breaker for some.

This version of the Unica is limited to 100 pens and is available exclusively at Goulet Pens. I wasn’t compensated in any way for this review and spent my own hard-earned $76 on it. The pen is available from other places and in other colors. 

INK DROP: January 2015 (Spoilers)

PENTULANT 044January 2015 Ink Drop from Goulet Pens

I received January’s Ink Drop from Goulet Pens earlier this week.

I usually super-saturate cotton swabs with ink before swiping across the paper, but this time, I barely barely got the cotton wet with ink. I thinking maybe this gives a more accurate idea of what the ink would look like from a pen? If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

I’m about to reveal the inks from top to bottom. If you don’t want to know, this is the time to look away.


  • De Atramentis Black Edition-Brown – I know, it looks kind of purply to me, too (it’s not just the scan)
  • Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris
  • Noodler’s X-Feather – this stuff is great if you’re looking for an ink that doesn’t feather or spread
  • Private Reserve Ebony Purple – another ink I adore
  • Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite

And the theme?  Safe for Work

I like most of these inks – going to have to look at the De Atramentis a bit more, though.  What are you thinking? Safe for work?

INK SWAB: 6/365 – Platinum Mix-Free Sunny Yellow

* YELLOW PLATINUM MIX-FREE 006Sunny Yellow from the Platinum Mix-Free line is a cheerful orangey yellow ink. I’ve used some of the inks in this line and they have all been well-behaved.

In case you didn’t know, all of the inks in the Mix-Free line can be mixed together to create other shades and colors. Here’s a link to all of the Mix-Free items that Goulet Pens carries. I didn’t know this item existed until just now.

And! In my ongoing quest to get this new website completed sometime before the end of time, I’ve updated my Wish List. I use this list to keep track of the items that have caught my eye.

Annnd! I’m giving away a pretty notebook filled with Tomoe River Paper.  Enter today.

Finally (I know, I know – so chatty), Have you seen Reverenced Writing?



‘Tis the season, friends.  Work is super-swamped in a fabulous way, Thanksgiving is mere days away, and I’m happily losing track of the hours.

And yet, I’ve been doing a good job of keeping up with my reading.  Here we go . . .

Have you seen Serious Nibbage from Gourmet Pens and SBRE Brown? You should. Fun video reviews of some fantastic pens.  Serious Nibbage, indeed!

I need a Chop.

Penucopia talks about TWSBI, their history, some issues, and why they are so popular. A good read.

A look at the Levenger True Writer from The Pen Addict. This isn’t a pen I’ve given much consideration – maybe time to think again.

There’s not much time left to get in on the KarasKustoms and Mr. Mike Dudek Kickstarter. I’m in. Are you?

Speaking of Mr. Mike, Dudek Modern Goods recently released The Daily.  I’m a fan.

Folks over on FPN are pondering the imponderables.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Mr. Pentulant and I are putting up our Christmas tree and getting ready for Thanksgiving festivities.