The creative soul is a delicate thing. I’ve been working mine tirelessly. Between freelance editing work and getting ready for the Wash & Wax exhibit with Leisa, I haven’t stopped to take a breath in a while. But today I finally had to.

I made a fabric chatelaine. I had seen the one that Pam Holland made on her blog a few months ago, and it got me thinking. It would be nice to have something to hold the tools of my trade so I wasn’t constantly losing them or leaving them on the opposite side of the room from where I needed them.

I even found several patterns online, but all of them were not what I was looking for. Pam doesn’t have a pattern that she followed, but I went back to her blog so I could look at her additions — how she attached the pin cushion, for example — and try as I might, I can’t find her blog post anymore. She didn’t call it a chatelain, and all of my searching has been fruitless.

So I gave up today and took out my priest’s stole pattern — Simplicity 7950. (By the way, I remember having to go to some trouble to locate this pattern many years ago when I made a stole for a friend. I’m fairly certain it’s been discontinued but can sometimes be found on eBay.) I shortened it so it would fall a little below my waist. (In all honestly, there was a fold in the pattern about where I wanted it to be and I went with that.) Then I pulled black and white remnants and cut it out. I used a scroll pattern for the top, a black with a subtle bubble texture on the back. I cut out four pockets from scraps, making sure the bottom pockets were tall enough to hold Sharpies (I may stitch lines to separate them and make them stand up later) and the top pockets were tall enough to hold my cell phone. There’s still a lot of space at the top. Later, I’ll add a ring to hold my new TJ Lane thimble (I still have to make the beaded holder), a ring for an extendable wire to hold light scissors, and then maybe a small pin cushion. I consider it a work in progress.


And then for dinner, I bought whole canned tomatoes, a basil plant, and fresh zucchini and squash and have made the best sauce for dinner. Between generous amounts of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, tomatoes, and roasted zucchini and squash, my whole house smells delicious. (I did add ground turkey for my husband so he wouldn’t think I had gone completely granola on him and start raiding the fridge a half hour after dinner.)

Leisa and I met a week or so ago with Lauren Bernazza, our curator, to look over what we have so far. The piece that’s going to cover the big wall is massive, but we decided that we needed some large solid pieces to pull everything together, so I’ve made about 20 more of those — and these are all very large. I just have to quilt them. They’re sitting on the floor in my studio. They’ll have to wait for now.

I also received #7 back from Leisa. This was the one that I had intended to cut up into mini framed pieces — but once it was done, I knew that it wouldn’t work, so it’s become an extra piece in our exhibit. We have room. I spray basted it yesterday, and it’s all ready for quilting, too.

I also spent a week or so ago cutting up 8 mini’s from the fabrics I used in #7. I used all the same background fabrics and then freehand cut shapes in blue, red, and yellow. Leisa has already transformed them, and we’ve bought frames for them.

#8 is a piece that we’ve been talking about for a long time. It is the only piece not appliqu├ęd — it is a photo transferred directly on to fabric. I used Spoonflower, and although the print is a little dark, it will work fine. Our original intention was to hang it lengthwise so that it would be taller than the wall and spill out onto the gallery floor towards the viewer, but once we had the fabric in hand, we preferred it lengthwise. Leisa has it now. She’s been adding sparkly fabric and embroidery. I’m not sure when I’ll get it back. She’s much more possessive with this one — but I’m really okay with that. I have my hands full finishing #7 and those 20 more free form pieces.

I sat down last night and updated the website for the series. Although I’ve shown a lot of in process pics on my website, we’ve decided not to share the final pics on the website until the opening of the exhibition. I have updated all of the pages with the exhibit name “Wash & Wax” — I should have done that ages ago — and I added an announcement with a closeup pic of one of the pieces and details on the opening and our workshop on every page.

As of this month, pieces #1 through #6 are completed. #7 and #8 are still in progress, as is the large wall installation piece. Leisa is also planning an interactive piece using actual car wash strips and has framed her inspiration photographs. It’s going to be a fantastic show, and we’re all ready starting to plan other venues for it to travel to.

Update: And the reason I didn’t find the chatelaine on Pam Holland’s website is because what I was looking for was on Jenny Bowker’s website. It’s here — much more colorful than mine. I’ll definitely be adding a pin cushion like hers.