2020 has been a strange year. Being stuck at home has meant that I have had time to go through my pen collection and be mindful of what I have, rediscover some old loves and pass on some things I haven't used in a while. I thought I'd round up my purchases and "resolutions" for the year and for 2021.
I’ve cut down on buying inks over the last few years, but this year, I did buy 9. I purchased 3 Sailor Manyo inks – Haha, Nekoyanagi and Yomogi (technically I purchased these last year but received them this year) and I jumped on the Ink Studio Bandwagon with 123 and 150. There are a few more ink studio colours I want to purchase but I’m holding out for now to see if time doesn’t change my mind. Lastly, I also picked up Akkerman laan van Nieuw Oost-Indigo. I’ve had a sample of this for a few years and I finally picked up a full bottle this year. It’s a beautiful muted indigo and looks great in a wet nib on Tomoe.
I also picked up a few Diamine inks I’ve been eyeing off for a while – Amazing Amethyst, Misty Blue and Asa Blue. I’m enjoying Asa and Misty blue – they are just as I imagine, but I’m not quite connecting with Amazing Amethyst. It’s a bit of a strange colour with a strange shift. Just a little different to what I imagined it would be in person.
I’ve had a very German year this year with my fountain pen purchases. I bought the Mont Blanc La Petite Prince and the Planets Le Grand. I have ALWAYS wanted a burgundy Mont Blanc and this one is stunning. I love the slightly blinged up look of it, with its fancy pants nib and the metal piston knob. Its also a great writer. For those who have not tried a Mont Blanc and wondered whether it was all hyped, its not – they are wonderful writers.
I also picked up a few Pelikans – by that I mean 3. Two are pens I’ve ummed and ahhed about for years – the M605 White transparent and the Pelikan Amethyst M205. I managed to pick up the M605 brand new on at a reasonable price (non overinflated due to its limited edition status) and I really do love it. The Amethyst I picked up second hand. I have always thought that the M2xx/M4xx size to be too small for me but I purchased the M205 Star Ruby and loved the size and manage to find the Amethyst second hand for a reasonable price and jumped on it. It’s a little worn – the piston seems to have a slight rattle, but otherwise is fine.
I also picked up the M205 Star Ruby, that I mentioned earlier. It’s a stunning pen – sparkles, red, demonstrator – what more could you want? Maybe a gold nib (I’ve decided I don’t like the Pelikan steel nibs) but I have some from the M605 and M625 in both medium and fine, so I just swap it into the M205’s when I want to use it. They fit fine and once in, the pen is near perfect.
Lastly, I also picked up the Faber Castell Ambition in Water Lily Pink (pictured above with the Pelikan M605 White Transparent). If you've never tried a Faber Castell nib - you really must. Its hands down the best steel nib I've tried.
At the time of writing, I am also thinking about the Platinum Shiun and the Pelikan M405 silver white. They are probably pens I will regret not having purchased later on, I’m a sucker for Platinum and purple and white pens in general.
This year, I may have jumped on the Retro 51 bandwagon a bit this year. I have always liked Retro 51, but I find their standard sized pens to be a little back heavy. They are great for EDC’s and quick notes, but not suited for me for long writing sessions. Being their last year in business, demand went a bit nuts for their products. I think I was reasonably well behaved, but I picked up 5. I had to get the dog rescue one because its adorable and I’ve been looking at it for years. I also got the Palmer (Anderson pens special), the Bandit Annie, the Ombre Cosmic Purple Melt and the Twilight Snowfall (both Goldspot exclusives). At the time of writing, only the first three have been received.
Other non-FP purchases include the Pelikan K205 Star Ruby, Waterman Allure in Pink (I’m a sucker for a pink pen), the Pilot Metropolitan in White Tiger (ditto for white pens) and the Parker Sonnet White and Pink Gold rollerball. Why the hoarding of non-FP’s? I’ve been using them to test out some other paper and really enjoy using rollerballs and gel pens for quick notes. Most of the time, my EDC will include either a gel pen or a rollerball for post-it notes or to loan out to people who need to borrow a pen anyway and they are some of my favourite writing tools.
Rediscoveries and resolutions
In 2020, I’ve rediscovered a lot of pens that I haven’t used in a while – being stuck at home has really helped me to “shop my pen stash” so to speak. I’ve rediscovered two main things – my love for my Mont blanc 146 – I have a second hand version with a fine nib that I purchased 9 years ago. I haven’t touched this pen in some years and I pulled it out this year and remembered how lovely and reliable this pen is. It helped reinforce my Mont Blanc Le Petite Prince purchase.
I’ve also pulled out my Pilot Blue Black ink. This used to be my favourite blue black ink and it would still be up there on the list, along with Iroshizuku Shin Kai. I haven’t used blue black inks for a little while, preferring something brighter or more purple. But I pulled this out during lock down and its such a beautiful and reliable ink.
Home Quarantine also gave me time to go through my collection and cull some things I haven’t used in a while. I sold a few of my old “beginner” pens that I haven’t touched in a while and some of my “beginner” inks. Better they go to someone who will actually use them than have them sit in a drawer.
I hope to scale down my collection in the next year – get rid of things I don’t use and be more mindful of what I’m purchasing. It may mean that I don’t jump on the bandwagon straight away or I may miss out on limited editions, but I’d rather make sure that I definitely want things, than just buy them willy nilly and realise later I haven’t touched it for years.
On another note, this will be our last post for 2020. I hope you all have a safe and happy holidays. Thank you all for helping Pebble Stationery Co survive a tumultuous 2020 and hoping for a better 2021!
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