Cait came over to visit, and showed us how to cut quills. She helped us both cut one on our own, and now we're all excited to work with them!
Even though one of the lessons we learned is that we don't have the right knives, we both managed to cut a workable quill, which we didn't succeed in when we tried on our own a while ago. And using the quill is amazing, it feels much nicer on the paper, and just works better shaping letters.
The only trouble is, now I can't go back to writing with cheap and simple metal nibs... We'll just have to find some swan roosting spots and go hunting for feathers in June (something else we learned from Cait: swans drop the right kind of feathers in June, and geesefeathers you have to pluck from the bird).
So in between bouts of flue and practicing bagpipes, I used the quill we cut together to write the numbers on our wooden 'Shut the box' cards, and then I actually cut another slightly narrower quill on my own to work on a piece of music that Mariken asked me to write the words for.
As you can see below, there's still some experimenting to do (how not to start with big blobs of ink that spread all over for instance, and how to shave off bits of quill, without shaving off bits of thumb :)), but overall, I'm extremely pleased. We're set for proper medieval calligraphy, and best of all, it's so much more enjoyable to practice! So, three cheers for Cait!