Sunday, September 12, 2010

If I can blame Julie for yarn...

I can blame Kateryn for this.

Really, I need another pen like I need more yarn. Or yoga books (including the newly acquired Yoga for Osteoporosis - I'll be reviewing this one at yogalila). But....

I really like the Lamy Safari fountain pens. They're relatively inexpensive, hardy, tough to break - I once accidentally flung one, uncapped, down the length of a school hallway, and once I recovered, it wrote just as reliably and smoothly as it did before its long skittering slide along the linoleum. I have two perfectly good Safaris, and don't really need another. Even if I knew one of the limited editions came in purple, I reminded myself sternly that I didn't need one.

Till I sat next to Kateryn at a judo tournament and she pulled out her purple Al-star. And showed me that it had an italic nib. And let me try it. It was all I could do not to shout "look over there! a monkey!" and make off with it at once. I did continue to covet it, but being a limited edition, it seemed no longer available. Until it mysteriously showed up again at JetPens.

The great thing about the Lamy Safari is its versatility - though you can use proprietary cartridges, you can also use a piston converter to allow for a wider variety of ink. And the relatively cheap nibs can be easily switched out, which is exactly what I did here, exchanging the nib for a 1.1mm italic. The colour is really quite hard to capture on camera - it's a bit bluer than what shows up here. But it's still awfully nice.

new pen

now, I know it is not suitable for true calligraphy - it's not really wide nor crisp enough for a lot of line variation, but that's exactly why I like it - it can be used for everyday writing if you so choose. It's smooth, easy to use, and gives your handwriting character, whether in italics or not.

quality of mercy

However, the main drawback for me is the triangular grip shown here. This forces your grip into a particular position relative to the nib, which is not problematic at all for a round nib. But I do find that it creates a constraint for me with an italic nib. I tend to angle the edge of an italic nib at 45 degrees, but with this grip, it makes better contact with the paper at 35. This doesn't seem like a lot, but it does affect the type of line variation you get, and the type of hand best suited to that angle. With any other italic nib I have, this isn't an issue since I can rotate the pen in my hand to get what I want. But the triangular Safari grip doesn't allow for those small, almost subconcious rotations.

But I still like it. For everyday writing, it's perfectly fine. However, I doubt I will get the wider nibs (they're available in 1.5 and 1.9 mm) that would otherwise be more suitable for calligraphy, as I think at that point, the inability to rotate the pen would start making me nuts. I don't think this would be an issue for everyone, and is likely particular to my own grip. And it's not really a problem at this particular width, and I look forward to getting plenty of use out of it.

(and anyway, it looks so very very cute next to the lime Safari):
I can quit any time, Loretta.


michele said...

it does look cute next to that lime safari!

and your handwriting looks so neat. i wonder if a fountain pen would improve my hand writing.

Sophie_vf said...

can you imagine a sock or sweater in those two colours....?

Maybe that would be best left to the imagination :)

iHanna said...

Great review of that pen! I'm a pen addict too but don't own even one lamy safari. Gaah! :-)

Sophie_vf said...

admittedly they are not the most attractive pens ever. But they're hardy, versatile, and reliable. This one is a bit special, being pretty purple and all, but I love having the Vista as a knock-around pen.