January 26th, 2011

I bought my first nib pen a few years ago at Barnes & Noble (I had a gift certificate). It was used rather haphazardly, now and then, as the mood struck me. When I did trot it out, I got into the habit of rinsing it off in the sink before putting it away. And wouldn’t you know it, the nib has rusted in place!

I have to admit I nearly got caught in the same trap with my new exotic wood pen. I had already rinsed it a few times when I noticed that rust was starting to form inside the ferrule. I caught it in time to remove the nib and clean out most of the rust. I guess I should think about replacing the ferrule (the insert that holds the nib) eventually. But for now, it is alright. And I learned my lesson.

Now, as they did in the 1850s, I clean my pen with a pen-wiper!


I actually made this a few years ago as part of tableaux at the museum where I work. I forget where I found the directions (it is indeed made from a mid-19th century pattern). Since it was no longer on display at the museum, I decided to bring it home and put it into active service.

Inside, between the crocheted top and velvet bottom, there are four circles of white flannel. Each circle is worked round the edge in buttonhole stitch, then folded twice into a quarter circle. The four folded circles were stitched together to form a single circle with lots of layered openings into which you can stick your pen to wipe it clean.

Wiper with Pen

Like so. Clever, eh? You should see all the different and fanciful forms taken by pen-wipers in the mid-19th century. This one is rather tame. I look forward to making new wipers, in more adventurous patterns.

And I also look forward to receiving my first blotter. Hint. Hint.

  • morsun says:

    Do you have the pattern to this? I am making Civil War reproduction fabric quilts and have been reading about other doodads they made. I came across this in a book I was reading and would like to make one.

    • eva says:

      Alas, I don’t know where the pattern went. It’s likely filed somewhere, but has so far eluded me. It’s basically a crocheted circle, with some fancy loops for the edging. Could be easily improvised. If you need the actual pattern though for research purposes, you might try looking through Godey’s. You can find old volumes on Google Books, or by subscribing to Accessible Archives. Do you post pictures of your quilts anywhere?

Leave a Reply