Blackwing

Mid-Week Mini: Blackwing 10,001 Review.

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One of the Blackwing limited edition releases from 2018 was the 10,001 pencil, which plays homage to creative ways to teaching and learning specifically linking back to Miyamoto Sensei puzzles.

The 10,001 saw Blackwing experiment with a few different aspects. Firstly the barrel is a different shape to the hexagonal barrel of the standard Blackwing pencils and the majority of the limited edition releases. The pentagonal shape of the 10,001 gives it five sides, rather than the standard six.

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The 10,001 has a firm graphite core, which is quite common among the limited edition releases. However, for this edition it links back to the puzzle element therefore the core had to be firm enough to hold a point. I have found the core nice to write with, the graphite is dark but its really smooth and enjoyable to use.

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The barrel on the 10,001 is stained red from “adzuki” beans which really gives a subtle colour finish. I really like the light pink tone and you get some of the wooden barrel grain showing through. It almost appears like a wood stain finish.

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The Blackwing branding is stamped in gold with kanji numerals for the edition number. To compliment the gold printing the ferrule is also gold and there is a black eraser giving it a classic finish.

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As with all Blackwing pencils they perform well, sharpen nicely and really give you a feeling of quality. They are currently sold out on the Blackwing site, but potentially still available, especially in singles, in brick and mortar stores.

2018: My Favourite Tools.

I’ve reviewed my 2018 planners and explained what I have lined up for 2019 in my recent posts and this got me thinking about all the tools I have used this year. 2018 feels like a year of consolidation. I’ve acquired less stationery and tried to focus on using what I have stored in my drawers and cupboards. Today’s post is reflective and about sharing my year in stationery.

My paper use.

I use a lot of paper and I always feel like I have too much paper on the go. I enjoy trying out new notebooks and paper stock but I also like what I like.

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Baron Fig notebooks have become a staple in 2018. I use one Baron Fig Confidant as a journal, at the moment this happens to be the big Fig, or the Baron Fig Plus (small side note, I really wish Baron Fig had called this the big Fig). I also use one of the Confidants or the Vanguards for work because the paper works so well with pencils, ballpoint or rollerballs as well as fountain pens. I like that I don't have to consider my writing tools at work.

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I thoroughly enjoy using the Travelers Company notebooks. Their paper is high quality and is perfect for pairing with fountain pens. I enjoy the cream paper, which is not to everyone's taste.

That is supposed to look like an ‘18’.

That is supposed to look like an ‘18’.

I have used a lot of Field Notes notebooks this year but this is because I have a lot to get through and not because I am a super fan. My love of Field Notes has waned over recent years. I buy what I like, the Coastal edition was a favourite of mine this year, but I am no longer concerned with acquiring any notebook that they release.

Finally my exploration into sketchbooks has expanded my experience with paper. Finding what I like to sketch on, what paper works best with watercolour and coloured pencils has all been part of the journey. Currently I am using a pocket Baron Fig Confidant as I am mainly sketching with pencil and black pen and I was interested to see how I fared with a small sketchbook. I think as I go into 2019 I will only increase my knowledge in my sketching materials and really find what works well for me.

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2018, the year of pencils?

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My pencil use has increased a lot in recent months. I use these mostly with my pocket notebooks for daily note taking but there is also sketching use in there too. I tend to use one pencil for a while and then rotate when I fancy a change. Lately I have been really enjoying the Tombow Mono 100 2B. The softer graphite is not usually a pencil I am drawn to but this pencil is so smooth to write with.

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I have loved using the Blackwing 54 in part because of the colour choices with this pencil and the hard graphite that makes it a great note taking pencil.

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The Craft Design Technology pencil has been another favourite. The mint coloured barrel is just beautiful. And finally the Staedtler Mars Lumograph in H, I love this pencil for its simplicity and its ability to hold a point. It’s an old reliable.

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Fountain Pens and Ink.

This is one category where I’m happy with what I’m using. Unusually, I don't feel a pull to acquire more pens or inks and find joy in using the pens I have.

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The Lamy LX with Sailor Blue Black is my go to fountain pen. I have been using this combination for most of the year, it just works.

The Pelikan M400 and Sailor Wagu-Uguisu is a great match. The gold nib, and the softness when writing means I get a good view of the green Sailor ink and can appreciate the shading. It’s so much fun writing with this pen and I usually admire my scrawl once complete.

Finally the Kaweco ART Sport inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-Ho. I love this combination as the colours work so well together.

Drawing Pens.

The final category that I felt was worth a mention was drawing pens. In my effort to learn how to draw, drawing pens have been vital tool that I now use more than I ever have. They are so versatile and useful to have as part of any stationery nerds toolkit, but for drawing they are a dream. I have used fine tip drawing pens and brush pens to experiment. The Tombow brush pen has been a personal favourite and the Faber-Castell PITT Artist pen continues to be my preferred sketching pen. Recently I have tried a Pentel marker and the Pilot Finerliner to experiment with line width.

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Overall thoughts.

My tools of choice have changed a bit this year which is down to a shift in the way I use my analogue tools. I used to be fully immersed in fountain pens and ink and couldn't get enough, but now I happily use other tools alongside my fountain pens. They all have a certain purpose. I’ve been most surprised by how much I have used pencils and that’s in part as I am sketching more now, but also because they’re so easy to use with a pocket notebook. It makes my daily carry easy.

2018 has been less about acquiring new things, although I have done a bit of that, but more about finding what I like and using it more and more. In 2019 I want to continue this and really hone down the tools I enjoy using.

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who reads, shares, likes and comments on my posts. I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on stationery and hope you enjoy the content. I'm looking forward to sharing even more in 2019!

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series: Week 2 Review

The gorgeous Blackwing 211, natural finish with a brown eraser

The gorgeous Blackwing 211, natural finish with a brown eraser

Two weeks into my pen/pencil experiment and this week has been devoted to the Blackwing 211. I felt it was important to include some pencils in my mini series to really find out how much I enjoy using pencils.

The Blackwing 211 is one of my favourite Blackwing pencils. It has the firmest of the graphite cores borrowing from the Blackwing 602. I prefer a hard graphite core as I use pencils predominately for writing, not sketching. I have found using the 211 for a full week a mixed bag of feelings.

What works.

There is no doubt a pencil is probably one of the easiest writing implements to take on the move. It’s light, you’re not too concerned about damage, concerns about snapping the graphite can be solved with a pencil cap. They’re perfect for writing on the move, there is no fountain pen cap to unscrew, or a lid to keep track of. You just pull out the pencil and write. Easy.

I have really enjoyed admiring this pencil during the week. It’s such a simple classic design with a great natural colour palette. This isn’t your standard pencil, this is a special pencil.

What I haven’t enjoyed.

I have missed using a fountain pen this week. I found by day 4 I was wondering whether I should abandon the task at hand and just pull out a fountain pen to write my morning pages.

I have noticed that when I write with a pencil my handwriting looks pretty rubbish. There seems to be less places to hide with a pencil and the good and bad points of your handwriting are laid bare.

Sharpening has been a bit of a pain too. You just start finding your stride with what you’re writing down on the page and suddenly your pencil is blunt and you need to sharpen it. When sitting at my desk this hasn’t been so bad as my classroom friendly sharpener is to hand, but on the move it’s a bit more irritating. I had forgotten how good the classroom friendly sharpener is in comparison to the KUM long point sharpener. The long point you get varies dramatically between the two and the classroom friendly sharpener really gives you a smooth finish and the perfect long point.

Overall thoughts

After completing this week, with a pencil I really like, it’s probably safe to say I couldn’t use only a pencil all the time. I feel like my notes look more mundane and my weekly diary spread a little dull. I miss the fountain pen experience and the wide variety of inks that brighten up my pages. I guess I cannot really consider myself a pencil girl.

Week 3

For the coming week I will be using the TWSBI 580 RB with a broad nib and KWZ Honey ink. The broad nib is new on this fountain pen and not something I have used before. I have only ever used a broad nib on a Kaweco Skyline Sport and this wasn’t the best experience. I thought the trusty TWSBI nib would be more reliable and I am excited to see how I get on with a broad nib fountain pen for a full week.

The KWZ Honey ink is also new. This ink colour has been getting some praise online so I was keen to try it myself. The brown/gold colour inks are beautiful and coming into Autumn I think this ink colour could be perfect. I am really excited about this week and think it could possibly be a winner.

To read through this mini series from the beginning you can see the first post explaining what the mini series is about and my first week with the Kaweco AL Sport and J.Herbin Bleu Nuit.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series - Week 1 Review

I have successfully completed my first week in this mini series exploring if I can use 1 pen or pencil for a full week. Before starting out on this endeavour I had a few questions in mind to focus my reflection on each different writing implement.

Week 1 - Kaweco AL Sport and J. Herbin Bleu Nuit.

The Kaweco AL Sport is always a pen I have inked up. Kaweco fountain pens are a staple in my writing toolkit with the AL Sport being one of my preferred choices due to the aluminium barrel.

After successfully using this fountain pen for a week my opinions have not altered in any way, I enjoy it just as much as I did before. The fine nib that I have on this pen works well for most writing tasks, from journaling through to simple note taking. The size and durability of the Kaweco AL Sport mean its ideal for throwing in my bag and using on the move. On most occasions I did this without a pen case and had no concerns and about the pen getting damaged in any way.

Morning Pages in my Startbay Notebook

Morning Pages in my Startbay Notebook

In terms of the ink partnership, J. Herbs Bleu Nuit was a new ink choice for me. After enjoying J. Herbins Lie de The I bought a pack of the Bleu Nuit cartridges specifically to use in this fountain pen. The colour combination works well due to the cool blue tones of this ink and the dark grey barrel on the Kaweco AL Sport. Being a blue ink this also meant it was suitable for most tasks.

During this week I haven’t had a requirement to fill out any official forms or send any post. As a result I have not encountered any problems with the choice of ink. I have mainly used my fountain pen in notebooks of my choosing that are fountain pen friendly. I think for tasks other than this the ink choice would have let this option down. For example addressing an envelope with this ink would involve the risk of it getting wet and the address running off the envelope. Similarly I could not fill in or sign many official forms with this pen. Therefore whilst the pen option would be fine, I am not sure as the only ink I could settle on Bleu Nuit for practicality purposes.

Daily reflections in my Travelers Notebook weekly refill

Daily reflections in my Travelers Notebook weekly refill

Finally, I am surprised that I haven’t used more ink this week. I have only used a little over half an ink cartridge. With my morning pages routine, journaling and general note taking I would have suspected I would have consumed more ink. I guess I don’t write as much as I thought, which then leads me to believe I shouldn’t have so many fountain pens inked up at once as the ink will tend to sit in the pen and potentially clog the feed.

Final thoughts on Week 1

The Kaweco AL Sport was always going to be a nice easy introduction into this exercise. I know I enjoy using this fountain pen and if I really had to only have one fountain pen to use I could settle on this one. The size of the pen makes it an ideal travel companion and I have always found the Kaweco nibs write well. J. Herbins Bleu Nuit whilst a lovely ink would not be a practical ink for a variety of different uses. However I have discovered another ink colour that I enjoy using and it really does go very well with my Kaweco AL Sport.

Onto week 2 and the Blackwing 211

Onto week 2 and the Blackwing 211

Week 2 - Blackwing 211 pencil

In my original post outlining this mini series I had settled on the Blackwing 24 as one of my pencils of choice. However after going back through some old posts I realised I have already used this pencil for a full week and written about it on the blog. Therefore I have made an adjustment to this pencil swapping it for the Blackwing 211.

I really enjoy Blackwing pencils and struggled to pick one for this experiment therefore swapping the 24 for the 211 wasn't a hard decision. Generally I prefer using pencils with a harder graphite therefore the 211 fits this bill. Pencils rarely top my choice of writing utensils so I am intrigued to see how I get on during the week and how much I wear the pencil down.

In case you missed it you can find out why I am running this exercise here in the introductory post.