(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
Musubi is a manufacturer of beautiful fabric-covered journals and pen cases. I’ve long coveted the Manekineko (“Fortune Cats”) journal in Ao, but I haven’t purchased one because, even though I love the craftsmanship of these hand bound journals, I would be intimidated to use them. I wish Musubi made A5 journal covers so I could reuse the cover with journals like the Seven Seas Writer.
While ogling Musubi’s journals, I discovered they also make pen cases. I decided to purchase their oversize case in the Murasaki Seigaiha (purple waves) pattern.
One reason I wanted to buy a product from Musubi is their commitment to helping women. The pen cases are made in Indonesia by abused women. According to their website:
In Indonesia, we train women from abusive family backgrounds in the same high-tech methods used to make our pen cases, providing them the skillset necessary to gain financial independence and escape their unfavourable circumstances. The end result: every Musubi creation directly and measurably benefits the least fortunate amongst us.
The Musubi case is made with an impact-resistant frame covered with a single piece of Japanese fabric. The case is rigid and retains its shape regardless of whether or not pens are inside.
There is a pull tab for the snap closure, which makes the case easy to open. Fabric covers the snap on the inside of the case so your pens aren’t in danger of being scratched.
I chose the oversize case (which is 150mm/6 inches long and 63mm/2.5 inches wide) especially for two pens I’d like to carry in my purse all the time: my 1970s Montblanc 149 (named “Walter” for reasons I’ll explain in a review someday) and my Nakaya Portable Cigar, which I reviewed last week.
These two are oversized pens, and the pen case fits them perfectly. You can see that they are easily accommodated with only the tops showing.
Musubi includes a removable matching fabric insert that keeps the two pens from touching while inside the case.
Although you can use the case without the insert, I would be worried that my two pens would scratch one another, so I keep it inside. At first I wished that the insert was permanently sewn inside, but I discovered that it’s actually better that it’s moveable. Walter is a bit larger in diameter than my Nakaya, so the pen insert adjusts to accommodate two pens of unequal size.
You can, of course, put smaller pens inside the case. I tried it with a Sailor 1911L and a Pilot Vanishing Point. Those pens have wiggle room inside the case, but the fabric protects them from any damage.
I hoped that maybe the Musubi case would be large enough to fit a pair of glasses so that it could perform double duty, but my glasses did not fit. I suppose a small pair of reading specs might fit inside, however.
I’m very happy with my Musubi pen case. The fabric is beautiful and the case is well constructed. I have no doubt that my two pens will be protected while they are inside my purse and on my desk. And, although I’m not going to do a drop test, the case is rigid enough that I’m confident my pens would not suffer damage.
You can purchase a pen case (either regular size or over size) from the Musubi website. Regular size (140mm in length) cases are about $65, and oversize cases are about $75. With shipping from Singapore, I spent around $92 total. My case arrived in less than a week. Although $92 is rather expensive for a two-pen case, you are getting a handmade product with beautiful fabric, and you are helping women escape abusive situations. That’s totally worth it to me!
If you aren’t interested in the pen cases, you might want to purchase Musubi journals, which are made by persons with physical and intellectual disabilities. I am so impressed with the mission of Musubi to employ people in difficult circumstances who make products of such beauty. Now if they would just make the pen cases in the Fortune Cats fabric!
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