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Monday, 23 July 2012

Communication II

I didn't realise what a rich seam I was mining when I wrote my previous post about letter writing!  It seems I am not alone in wishing that just occasionally the postman might bring a real letter for me. Thank you all so much for your kind and interesting comments - all read carefully and much appreciated.

Last week I received not one but two hand written missives from bloggers who knew my postal address.  Of course a handwritten letter or notecard requires a hand written reply and those have now gone in the post to Simone and Lesley.  I realised however that since I rarely write real letters I didn't have any "proper" writing paper so apologies for that but I did write them both using a fountain pen and ink.  I also discovered how much easier it is to write using a keyboard - being a touch typist I can more easily get my thoughts down as fast as I think them whereas with the pen I was lagging behind as it were and my writing was getting worse as I went along!

Lesley mentioned coloured inks and the etiquette surrounding this.  I did remember learning that it was "correct" to use blue or black ink but not coloured ink but couldn't remember the details.  Some research on the internet unearthed a website which said that apparently red ink can be seen as aggressive and should not be used and in some cases it is believed to foretell death!  I hadn't realised that there were so many different inks available - on line of course as in the town shops when I wanted some there was Quink or nothing!!  See this web page for some of the different types available - ink is obviously alive and kicking still!

Then of course there are the pens available to use.  If you plan to write in ink you need a fountain pen or a dip pen (who remembers those from school?)  I still have the pen my aunt gave me on my passing the 11+ exam - it had been given to her by her Canadian Air Force boyfriend so was a treasured gift!  It needs repairing now though as the rubber inside seems to have perished with age so I am currently using a Shaefer fountain pen which my husband gave me.  See my propelling pencil and pen still in the little bag I made for it nearly 60 years ago still with ink on it from back then!

As well as pens and ink there were other accoutrements required such as blotters - my writing case has a blotter seen above.  Blotting paper came in various colours and qualities - I remember pink and green as well as white which is what I have here. Again who remembers blotting paper being stuffed into the ink wells at school so that it might be used as a missile when flicked with a nice bendy ruler when nobody was looking?!)  Then there were pen wipers which were used to wipe the nibs of dip pens to prevent them going rusty and also of fountain pens to clear any excess ink after filling them. I came across this web site for all things to do with pens and ink etc - do check it out it's fascinating there are Sevres porcelain ink wells, blotters, leather cases for pens etc.

You may remember me showing you this book ages ago?  Well I got it from the library again recently and have been enjoying reading it - in it the author speaks of writing letters and of having to cut quills to use as pens and making ink using elderberries (not too successful apparently as it was too pale) and oak apples cooked in a rusty iron pot - thank goodness we don't have to do that these days.

One last tid bit - I read recently that using plastic throw away biros is very ungreen both in their manufacture and disposal - I guess reusable is always going to be beter in the eco stakes.

A subject which would produce enough "stuff" for a small book - you'll be glad to know I won't be writing one though and certainly not here!

On a different note - remember this photo taken from the bus to London?

 Well when I looked at it again I thought that it would make a good tapestry or maybe even a small piece of felt.  I searched my stash of fleece and yarns and could find no red so poppy fields were out unless I bought some but then I wondered if I could do a crazy patchwork of it.

 I sat in the sun and finished embellishing this piece yesterday whilst DH sat watching the Tour de France (how wonderful is that that in Jubilee year and the year that London hosts the Olympics we have a British winner?) I don't really know what to do with it now though other than toss it in the back of the cupboard and found it difficult to get effect I had in mind.  I had no suitable ribbon to do the hedge as I knew it was neither black nor green so I used narrow cut strips of fabric - what a lot of misapplied labour I thought last night when I had had enough of it! Without the photo you'd never guess what it was meant to be would you but hey I enjoyed my couple of hours in the garden under the umbrella (yes it was so sunny we needed to have some shade).

I'll stop waffling on now and if you are still with me - thanks and congratulations you deserve a medal!


  1. I still have lots of different inks and calligraphy pens; I take them out to look at them every now and then, have a little play then away they go again. I do miss my days of prolific letter writing but, as you, say, touch typing is a far quicker way of putting your idea across.

  2. Really enjoyed your previous post...and this one too of course! I can remember my mum telling me NEVER on any acount write a letter in red ink- the heigth of Bad Manners!

    Loving your 'landscape miniature' too - they make lovely cards.

    Oh and I LITERALLY just found this in an old note book, I picked it up to help me get my blog-post in some sort of order!-and there was this quote...obviously there from the last time I was into journalling,a few years ago.

    "More than kisses, letters mingle souls, for thus, absent friends speak." - John Donne, of course.

    I thought it was exactly the right sentiment and how weird I should pick THAT note pad out today of all days!

  3. Love your 'Crazy' landscape! I can't touch type, so it takes me longer to write on the keyboard, and I sometimes lose my thoughts before I can write them down. I do prefer paper and pen!

  4. I think your landscape collage is lovely, you have somehow caught the mood in the fabrics.

  5. Fields of green and rolling hills that reach all the way up to the sky - I love your crazy patchwork.

    Nina xx

  6. I recall well using quill and fountain pens in my youth! Being somewhat of a rebel (going to the Urselines's) I liked to write with aqua coloured ink...and was told this was not appropriate (party poopers!)
    Etiquette agrees with you: handwritten notes are still treasured more than emails!

  7. I think you're a bit hard on yourself Jane, your landscape is lovely, so please don't throw it in the back of a cupboard.
    I remember Quink at school, fountain pens and I never did get on, I'm left handed and my hand just went through the wet ink as I went along, what a mess!!
    Great result from 'The Tour' yesterday. :)

  8. I love your innovative patchwork - it's beautiful :o)
    Rose H

  9. I love your little collage!!! I'd frame it alongside the photo, they would look very sweet together. Definitely too good to go in the back of your cupboard!

  10. Just back home and catching up Jane.
    I'm going to go against the flow here about writing letters. I LOVE modern communication through the internet. If this were pen and ink I might write it but probably never get around to posting it.... and I certainly would not be communicating with people every day or so. I love being able to add bits where ever I want, correct spelling (or not !!), go back and erase things I haven't expressed very well or just take back ill advised thoughts that were better left unsaid !! Give me modern communication any day.
    Don't throw that lovely piece of fabric art in the back of the cupboard. Frame the two together - the photo and the fabric picture and put them on display ( the loo would be a good place for people to study them !!- not up too high !!). your work is lovely.

  11. What an interesting and wonderfully rambling post!

    You could use that fabric piece to make a cushion might be interesting...make it the center piece with other fabric around it to frame it...

    I am also a touch typist and know just what you mean about trying to keep up with your thoughts when using pen and ink. My handwriting has deteriorated over the years due to so much typing all the time!

  12. Oh to be able to write beautifully still. I used to win prizes as a child for my handwriting but would never do so today! I think you did wonders in depicting that view as a crazy patchwork. Such a lovely little piece, you should be proud of it.

  13. Another interesting post - I love the written word but struggle to write a long chatty letter. Typing on the pc allows for mistakes to be corrected, sentiments to be clarified. So I'm with Helsie on thanking modern technology.

    I still remember my excitement when returning to the classroom from assembly to find that each child in the class had a new dip pen on their desk, having previously only written with a pencil. Happy memories :)

    I think the idea of framing your crazy patchwork and the photo together is brilliant, please don't throw that beautiful work to the back of the cupboard!


  14. How I hated my pens at school - we learned with a dip pen - and I always remember a description of a nib crossing its legs and sitting down, which mine always did - in a horrible blot. They were scratchy and always ran out of ink in the middle of a word. My Osmiroid fountain pen in pearly green plastic was only with me for a short while as I was dreadful at losing them, to my mother's despair, and I dreaded going home and telling her I had lost my pen - again. My pens leaked, leaving stains on your fingers, in your pencil case and the bottom of your satchel. Filling your pen with that little lever also often meant sending the bottle of ink flying - not good when you did it on the living room carpet!! Next came cartridge pens, much more sensible, but none of them did anything for my handwriting which was dreadful. When I was fifteen my little sister went to a high school and was taught to write in italics, I loved the look and got myself an italic nib and got her to show me the letter formations and taught myself. However I abandoned the fountain pen at the first opportunity. My default handwriting is still awful, but I can write neatly with concentration and in short bursts, no good for long letters!
    Love your little landscape.

  15. Thank you for your lovely letter Jane. I don't think I will be cutting a quill or writing with elderberry ink on my next letter though! I think your crazy patchwork scene is great although you could title it 'scene from a bus to London' if you frame it and you are concerned that people won't know what it represents!!!

  16. Jane, what a delight it was to receive your letter tonight when I got home.Thank you for your reply. I loved being on the receiving end of such a delightful thing. You've mastered that crazy patchwork so well. Somehow I just don't get how it is done but I can see the view in it quite clearly because of the colours and patterns. I too watched the Tour de France, having never been interested before. What a true sportsman Bradley Wiggins showed himself to be and I really got interested in the whole thing. A well deserved win. I shall now be cheering him on in the Olympics!

  17. Lovely post, Jane! I'm so glad you've got TWO letters! My eldest (13 y.o.)daughter still writing with ink pen at school (French embassy school) and like it so much. She is so romantic :o)
    I'm in love with your quilt-painting. It's gorgeous!
    Happy weekend


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