A Knitter’s Notebook

notebook_pic

All specialty skills have their own languages, knitting is no exception. In fact, it has its own codes to convey patterns and notes in a way that might baffle non-knitters. The new True Brit Knits knitter’s notebook provides a great place for knitters to track projects and pattern notes complete with standard pattern abbreviations and symbols on the inside front cover and a ruler in centimeters on the inside back cover, perfect for measuring your swatches. The kraft paper covers feature red, foil stamped knitting needles too.

It’s compact, A5 size is filled with 28 sheets (56 pages) of 100gms paper with clean white paper, alternating plain sides and 4:3 ratio graph paper printed in a pale blue.  £10.00

(via My Life in Knitwear, shoutout to Laura at The Corner of Knit and Tea for the tip)

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:

Paper:

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Misc:

 

Review: Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

The Etranger di Costarica memo book is a simple, little, pocket-sized notebook. The appealing thing for me was ,of course, the transparent plastic cover in a gorgeous lime green. I was really hoping that the cover would be the right size to fit over a standard Field Notes. Sadly, the Etranger di Costarica memo book is a tiny bit smaller than a Field Notes (or other pocket notebook) measuring at 3.3 x 5.4″.

The cover is printed with a little mail carrier icon and the words “mettre le courrier à la poste le courrier est arrivé”, which roughly translates to “put the mail in the post, the mail has arrived”. How can I not like a postally-themed memo book?

The book itself is a white gloss-coated cardstock cover, inside a transparent flexible plastic cover adding a little durability. The book has black paper end papers and a stitched binding (not staples, actual stitching). Inside the paper is white with grey lines and red margin lines, top and bottom. The lines are spaced at a snug 5mm, good for people like me who tend to write smaller than most. The book has rounded corners which I always think make a book look “finished”.

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

In writing tests, I was pleased with the paper quality. There was no feathering or bleeding though my line widths looked a bit wider on this paper than in other instances. Ah, the strange and wonderful mysteries of paper!

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

Despite a bit more absorption on the front of the paper, thus creating a but wider line, from the back there was no noticeable show through or bleed. I did not challenge it with a Sharpie marker as we can all assume it will bleed through as it does on any paper that is not corrugated cardboard.

At $3.30 per book, its only slightly more expensive than the standard pocket memo book and since is has a plastic cover, I assume that’s the additional cost. There are eight other cover colors plus clear and refills can be purchased for $1.65 each. Excellent value!

I like the size, the simplicity and the lines. While this won’t replace my Field Notes in the long run, its a nice addition to my notebook arsenal.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Banditapple Carnet Notebooks

Banditapple Carnet

Banditapple Carnet

I recently got a selection of Banditapple Carnet notebook samples. I wanted to see the whole line so I got all the samples that were available. Two of the book were the “handy notebook” which is 11x21cm, the same size as the large Midori Traveler notebooks. The smaller book, the “peewee”, is the same size as the Midori Traveler Passport refill. The last book is a bit wider than the “handy notebook” approximately A5 (13x21cm) and is an undated weekly planner notebook.

Banditapple Carnet

Banditapple books are handmade in Vietnam and distributed by the Banditapple Company out of South Korea.

Each book features a card stock paper cover and a matching stitched binding. The books I received are in the Finland Pine, Gingerbread and Hanoi Red.

Banditapple Carnet

The inside papers are different. The grid passport-sized and the weekly planner had white paper while the blank and lined books have ivory colored stock. The ivory stock is described on the packaging as 3G Heritage NT paper while the white paper is just listed as Heritage Paper. All the stocks are 80gsm and printed with soy inks.

Banditapple Carnet

The Weekly planner has 52 weekly + blank pages and all the other books featured 64 pages of paper.

 

Banditapple Carnet

The grid paper is 5mm grid lines. There’s some debate at my house whether the lines are dark blue but I think they are. The paper is really pleasing to write on and there was no bleeding or feathering with any of the pens I tried.

Banditapple Carnet

From the flipside of the paper, there is no show through at all.  Not even a hint.

Banditapple Carnet

I also tested the lined paper of the larger “handy” notebook. The lines were spaced at 6mm and look more grey than blue. I decided to up the game and try the alcohol-based Copic Superbrush to see if the ink would bleed or showthrough since the stock is the same weight as the white grid stock.

Banditapple Carnet

The Copic Superbrush did bleed through but it was the only ink that did. From a daily use standpoint, I prefer the soft, warm color of the ivory stock. And I prefer the grey lines of the lined paper over the darker blue lines of the grid paper.

Banditapple puts its books through their own tests on their Tumblr page. But I am already sold. Especially if you are a user of Midori Traveler leather covers. The Banditapple notebooks area little less expensive than the Midori refills and I like the paper in the Banditapple Carnet notebooks much better. Now I guess I need a large Midori Traveler. Oh, darn.

The best US source for Banditapple Carnet notebooks is Goulet Pens, prices range between $3.50-$5.50. If you know of other shops or online vendors who are stocking Banditapple Carnet notebooks, leave the info in the comments.

Review: Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album

I spent the better part of the last week trying different tools on the new Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album (large, 72 pages, $13.95) as well as comparing it to the standard Moleskine paper and the “Sketchbook” paper. The reason I spent so much time with it is that it is the first big push Moleskine has made to tout a “better” paper stock. It is listed as 120gsm/81lb paper. Moleskine has also started listing the weight on the Sketchbook paper. I think it says 165 gsm but its hard to see the label on the site.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

I purchased the A5-sized book. Its a horizontal or reporter-style format. The new Art Plus Sketch Album does not have many of the elements usually associated with Moleskine notebooks. It has cardstock paper covers, no elastic and only a slit pocket in the back cover. Every page is perforated. The Art Plus Sketch is only available in a few sizes, blank paper only.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album

The first thing I noticed when comparing all three books and papers is that the shade of ivory paper is different for each book. The classic “sketchbook” paper is the most yellow, than the traditional plain paper is a little lighter and the new Art Plus paper is the lightest cream/ivory of all three.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

At first, I tested just the Art Plus Sketch Album paper and while the tools I was trying seemed to work well I couldn’t be sure how it compared to the original paper or the “sketchbook” stock so I had to switch to a head-to-head comparison.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

I wanted to test an array of materials as Art Sketch Plus somehow suggests an ability to withstand art-grade materials, possibly ink washes, markers and other tools. It’s more firepower than I would normally throw at a notebook but I really wanted to put it through its paces.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

There was a little  feathering with my TWSBI Mini EF and the Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku ink. The Copic alcohol-based CIAO superbrush pen bled through to the back vividly but did not smear or bleed on the paper. The Noodler’s Creaper flex nib was all kinds of feathery mess. I had a bit of a drying issue with the Retro 51 though I did not time it, within the normal time it took to switch tools, my hand did smear the ink. I didn’t see any other notable dry time issues though.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

In comparison, the traditional Moleskine plain paper (large reporter, 240 pages, $18.95) had similar results with most tools. The Noodler’s Creaper splines and feathered way worse but the results of the other fountain pens was consistent to the Art Plus Sketch Album stock.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

The Sketchbook (large, 80 pages, $19.95) stock had the best results with pen and ink with the least amount of feathering or bleeding.

The bleed through and show through for all three books was as to be expected. The plain paper had the most show through and bleed through making the reverse of the stock useless. The Art Plus Sketch Album had visible show through with all fountain pen inks, the worst being the flex nib and the big, bold Copic brush. If you’re only using felt tips, gel pens and the like, you might be quite please with the usability of the Art Plus Sketch Album. The sketchbook paper had the best two-sided usage. Only the Creaper and Copic had show through on the Sketchbook paper.

After all the testing, I will admit that the Art Plus Sketch Album stock is a minor improvement over the original Moleskine paper but the sacrifices (no hard cover, lines/grid, no elastic or gusseted back pocket) don’t really validate the increased price and loss of features.

There will not be a bonfire after all but I’m not blown away by the new Art Plus Sketch album either. Can I rate it “meh”?

Ask The Desk: Stamp Pads and Federal Supply Service Notebooks

Ask The Desk Header

 

Federal Supply Service Notebook

Zack was curious:

Re: Federal Supply Service Notebook
I was wondering if you have ever seen one of those books in a golden color? I have one ins the green but would love to have a few golden colored ones.

It appears that like Henry Ford might have said, “You can have any color Federal Supply notebook you want as long as its green.” That said, if you’re looking for a durable notebook in a golden color, you might want to try Rite in the Rain.

the stamp pad fairy visited today. let the nerd testing begin!

Rachel asks:

 I love the stamps I bought at your store!

I’m a stamping neophyte and have two basic questions about care and storage.  What is the best way to clean a rubber stamp when I want to use a different color ink?  How should I be storing my stamp pads?  I have rubber bands around them now to keep the lids on, but wonder whether I should have them in some sort of air-tight container to keep them from drying out.

Thanks, Rachel! I’m so glad you like the stamps.

To clean stamps, I use a damp paper towel on a ceramic plate to clean my stamps between colors. After stamping, I wipe the stamp gently on the wet towel and then use a dry towel to remove any excess moisture. If a stamp gets left with ink on it, I will add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the wet paper towel to loosen up and remove the dried ink.

I do not recommend submerging the stamps in water or ever using any harsh soaps or detergents to remove ink.

On a particularly crusty stamp, dip an old toothbrush into a cup of water with a couple drops of dishwashing liquid and then gently scrub the stamp to remove ink build-up.

If you use a stamp pad regularly, keeping the lid closed and stored flat, should be enough to keep the pad from drying out.

As for storing stamp pads, I either use a rubber band to keep the lids sealed or bits of tape, depending on how often a particular stamp pad is used. I store my large stamp pads on their ends so tape or rubber bands are a must for keeping them from drying out. But stamp pads, no matter how they are stored, will not stay fresh indefinitely so use them up and re-ink when possible. Happy stamping!

PS: You might enjoy my post about different types of stamp pad ink.

Field Notes: Shelterwood

Field Notes Shelterwood

The newest edition of the Field Notes color series is called Shelterwood and its awesome feature is the REAL WOOD covers. Slivers of wood are bonded to kraft paper covers to create unique, beautiful wood veneer-covered Field Notes. Inside the books are the same 70 lb Finch Soft White paper that was in the America The Beautiful editions with green lines. This special edition is going to sell out fast so you better order yours today. $9.95 for  a 3-pack, or better yet, subscribe for a year and be guaranteed to get the next edition as soon as its available.

I’ll give you more details when my set arrives but, by then, it might be too late. Take a chance on these and order quickly!

I Do These Things For You

Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook

Moleskine recently unveiled their new Art Plus Sketch Album which explicitly called out the weight of the paper stock on new books is 120 gsm (80lb). Its a cardstock cover book available as a pocket or large “reporter style” though they show it used horizontally on the site, or a 7.5″ square size. Each book has 88 pages and retail prices are $7.95 for the pocket (A6-ish) , $13.95 for the large (A5-ish) and $19.95 for the 7.5″ (19cm) square.

I am willing to try one out so that you, my fine readers, do not have to blow your hard-earned cash if these are not a real improvement over the regular paper (terrible for anything but pencil) or the “sketchbook” stock which was water-resisting, manila card stock.  I ordered one and expect to have it for review in a week or so. If it is terrible paper that makes me shout profanities, there will be a bonfire and you’ll all be invited.

Moleskine Art Plus inside

Review: Campus A4 Pad

Campus A4 Pad

Beneath the rather banal cover of the Kokuyo Campus Report Pad A4 ($4.10), hides some pretty amazing paper. When I first peeled back the flimsy cover, I was greeted by the undersheet and went “Hmmm, is this what I ordered?” After flipping past that, I realized that the paper was actually blissfully blank and a very lightweight. It reminded be a little of the Tomoe River paper found in my Hobonichi Planner. Do I have you attention now?

Campus A4 Pad

The undersheet is conveniently printed on both sides. One side is just lined, the other side is marked with a grid.

Campus A4 Pad

The paper is lightweight enough that you can easily see the lines or grid undersheet through the paper. The undersheet is more heavyweight than the paper so it feel like it will be durable enough for use through a full pad of paper, even with the possibilities of ink transfer.

Undersheets are one of the reasons I love blank paper. If the paper light enough, or your undersheet is dark enough, you can quickly have lined or grid paper to work from but then not be distracted by the lines once you’ve written on the paper. If you’re sketching, you can skip the undersheet altogether and you have a clear, blank of expanse to inspire you. With blank paper, you get the best of all worlds.

Campus A4 Pad
Now, how well does the paper perform in writing tests? Excellently, that’s how. I put it through its paces with gel, rollerball, pencil and fountain pens and not one bled or smeared. I didn’t track dry times but even with my smeary, left-handedness, I didn’t have any smudges. The only pen that led through was a Sharpie marker but I tried it just to see if it would.

Campus A4 Pad

From the reverse of the paper, you can see that there is quite a bit of show-through because the paper is so lightweight but nothing leaked through except the Sharpie, which I expect on all paper but cardboard boxes. I like this paper so much, I considered putting it in the queue as a regular pen testing notebook so I thought I better compare it to the current reigning champ, the Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank.

Rhodia Pad vs. Campus Pad

The Rhodia pad paper is on the left, the Campus pad is on the right. As you can see, the Rhodia paper is considerably brighter white. The Campus pad is a soft white. Which, for my purposes, rules the Campus out for ink testing since I like to be able to clearly see the colors without any color pollution as a result of the paper.

Rhodia Pad vs. Campus Pad

From the reverse, its easy to see that the Rhodia is a thicker stock so there is little show-through. I added the Sharpie marker just to have something bleed through so my camera had something to focus on.

If cost is an issue and you are looking for a lay-flat writing pad with easy, tear-away sheets AND is fountain pen-friendly, the Campus Report Pad is a great option. Its considerably cheaper than a Rhodia No. 18 pad and very similar size. For US folks, the A4 size is about an inch taller and a quarter inch narrower than “letter-sized” paper so fitting the sheets into a 3-ring binder or standard file folders might not work as well as the Rhodia No. 18 which perforates down to a standard letter-sized sheet.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.