Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quills, part 17

When the problem isn't technique or lack of ink, generally it's because the semiquills aren't sufficiently close together. Sometimes that's because you made a muck of cutting the ink channel, and the only thing to be done is start over, but usually it's not so drastic as that.

Often you notice it first thing in the morning. Overnight, your quill dried out a little, and the semiquills pulled apart a bit.

My scribey chum DMV discovered a way to prevent this: water tubes for flowers. They're little tubes with a rubbery seal on top, designed for sticking single blooms in so that they stay fresh. Of course, a flower stem is pretty much like a quill in the essential details, so you can use them to keep your quills damp, by putting a tiny bit of damp sponge in the bottom. Jolly clever of DMV to spot that, I say.

Tangentially: I like using them for knife storage, too. Much better than having naked blades floating around in your bag, and handier than having to de-blade your knife every time you want to take it somewhere. Like this:

Supposing you didn't manage to prevent semiquill divergence, though. Or perhaps the semiquills have pulled apart not because of drying out but because of rough handling - if you press too hard, you'll inevitably drive the semiquills apart.

This technique frequently does the trick: turn the quill over, and apply pressure as shown. The semiquills are pushed back together, and as long as you aren't too hard on them, they'll stay that way.

If you push too hard, you'll end up forcing the semiquills to overlap each other, like subduction zones in plate tectonics. This is inconvenient. If you get that, you have to turn it back over and press the other way. Sounds more complicated than it is.

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