Pen Wipe

It has been since mid-August 2015 since I last interpreted at Fort Nisqually!  Hard to believe it’s been that long but they were closed for construction work the early part of the year and then I took a leave of absence for Himself’s surgery.  I was finally back to interpret my watercolor sketching of the 19th century today.

I’m not sure I like these enough to think them worthy of selling in the Fort’s shop.  I did have one young visitor  interested and she painted along with me!  She was very conscientious so I let her use my brush and watercolor.  Perhaps next time I’ll bring some student grade brushes and watercolors.

Leeks in the Fort’s garden.  These blossoms were as big as a large apple.

These hollyhocks must have been 8 feet tall!

I also learned something new!

I’d forgotten to check my ink supply and it had dried up in the meantime.  Today’s sketches were done with just pencil and watercolor.  I thought about replenishing from the Fort’s supply of India ink but decided against it.

When I asked Nancy, one of the staff interpreters, about the ink, we got to talking about ink and pens and writing.  She suggested I needed a Pen Wipe.  I have never heard of such a thing.  This was made by a member of the Fort’s sewing guild.  The outer cover is silk covering cardboard and the inner, black fabric, is wool.  It is for wiping off a pen nib as cleaning with water could lead to rust.

Once I got home I had to look up pen wipes. “The wipe was made of a “sandwich” of fabric stitched together so the point [of the nib] could be wiped quickly on both sides. …Many pen wipes are hand-stitched layers of cloth cut into a circle. The creative housewife added a top piece that was often a stitched fabric animal or bird.”

Made by the author of this post:

A description of how to make one



About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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