Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One project of mine that I am most proud of is my chatelaine. I completed it a year or so ago and it hangs across an antique chair in my living room. I used Drawn Thread's pattern and then added some thoughts of my own to finish it out. It was done on linen banding with Needlepoint, Gloriana and Soie silks. I did the finishing work myself. I purchased the tools in different shops.

A chatelaine is a very old invention, developed as a way to carry personal possessions in such a way as to keep them close by. Chatelaines may be traced back as far as China (225B.C.). The name more or less was attached during the Middle Ages when the mistress of the castle kept the keys, a the symbol of her status, attached to her waist. Her title was "La Chatelain". The name of the clasp then became known as the chatelaine. The 18th Century saw the peak of popularity of the chatelaine. They became more elaborate and they held everything from perfume bottles to eyeglasses and prayer books. The Victorian era saw the use of the chatelaine expand. The housewife's chatelaine was often made of leather and held needles, thimble, pincushion, pencil, etc.

The modern chatelaine is worn around the neck. It's use is simple but quite often lovely to look at. It's used more by stitchers than anyone else.

Flowers, plants and trees.
Fishes, birds and bees.
There's nothing neere at hand
or farthest sought
but with a needle
may be shap'd and wrought.

A needle (though it be but small and slender) yet
it is both a maker and a mender.

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