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Chatelaine




THL Cassandra of Glastonbury

Documentable from Viking to Elizabethan.


m'Lady Pelagia

The metalwork technique currently referred to as 'Viking knitting' is also known as trichinopoly chainwork because similarly worked items were found in the city of Trichinopoly near Madras in South India. The technique has been executed in both yarn (embroidery) and metal. Textile examples include "Ostenstitch" items from Birka (Geijer) and a silk cap from Egypt from the 10th - 11th C (Hald). Geijer also documented the stitch used as embroidery on a shirt collar dating from the 19th c (Geijer, 1938).

As metalwork, the braid has been found made into many items including jewelry and implements such as part of a pair of scales. Necklaces with Thor's hammer pendants, coins and other decorative pendants, and also crucifixes are well known. Sometimes, the pendant is placed on the braid, and sometimes it is attached to a ring between segments of braid.

The direct inspiration for this piece was found by William Campbell, Esq, of Ballinaby on the Island of Islay in 1878 in a well-furnished grave of a woman. At that time the braid was in one piece, if in precarious condition. The braid was about 37 cm long with terminals of wire Turks head knots and ending with a ring at each end. One ring was attached to a pin. The ring at the other end was not attached to anything. How it was situated in the grave was not reported, to my knowledge. The original chain was made of wire .04 cm in diameter

However, as chatelaines are found in period, the idea of using some of this chain to create a chatelaine appealed to me. This one has three chains: one for the scissors, one for the needle holder, and a third with a clasp on it for attaching whatever else I may need later on. It is composed of brass, including 26 ga (0.04 cm) wire, and the chains are drawn to 9/64" (0.35 cm) in diameter. Two of the chains are c. 25 cm in length; the third is c. 15 cm (attached to scissors).