The Camberwell Panel – Eight

Stepping the Mast

Stepping the Mast

While I was attaching the hull, I was also looking at my references on Stumpwork, or Raised Work. The headache that had been looming all the way through to this point was, How Shall I Do The Mast?

I tried to cover straws with thread or find narrow pieces of plastic or wood, and all of the attempts looked clunky and un-seaman-like. I thought about trying to use stitching – either satin stitch or lines of stem stitching, but in the end decided that these elements needed to be smooth and relatively featureless, whereas the stitching in the piece is entirely to create detail. When I thought a bit harder, it seemed to me that the mast and spar weren’t mere “details” and that there would be a rather jarring effect if I created them using a “detail” technique, rather as though they’d been magnified, or something like that.

In the end I decided to continue using only fabric in the piece. This meant a slightly more difficult process, as the mast and spar are narrow and need to be rounded, but it also maintains the integrity of the design as a purely fabric appliqué.

Mast Close Up

Mast Close Up

So: the mast and spar were padded with slivers of felt and covered with narrow cotton tape. This made the ends slightly tricky (the tape kept trying to fray), but provided a clean edge on either side of the spars.

I also attached the padding for the funnel to the background. Both of these needed to be attached before the entire slip for the hull and superstructure were entirely caught down, but at the same time I couldn’t be sure of the placements (wretched shrinkage!) until I had the slip in place.


  1. Looking good. The movement of fabric always flummoxes me so I think this is marvelous!

  2. karen says:

    I can imagine how tricky the mast was…extremely fiddly!! well done, it looks great.

  3. Elmsley Rose says:

    It looks good!

    I would have thought of some bamboo thread in er, bamboo colour, possibly couched down or in a very narrow raised stem stitch bands ….. to give the ‘rope’ impression, But then again, I have no idea what bamboo thread actually looks like, and your mast looks great!

    Bet you swore over the end of that tape! I’ve had a few recalcitrant ends to deal with lately, coz I can’t plunge any gold threads on the Butterfly for one reason or another, so had to connnect them/end them on the surface. A dab of UHU glue, then let dry, if FrayStop doesn’t work – will teach most threads to stick together!

  4. Erica says:

    That looks really great. Does the process of working out just what will work best in a design make you feel quite stressed? It does me. But oh, the satisfaction when the problem is solved. There is nothing quite like that feeling.

  5. Did you think about using a padded Caselquidi stitch?

  6. I think you made exactly the right choice, though I would have been tempted by the details too. It’s looking perfect.

  7. Jan says:

    Trial and error (practice stitching) and a lot of mulling always work for me as well. You did a great job on this and I’m sure it took time and patience as well. Super!

  8. Lady Fi says:

    Wonderful. I really love that hull!

  9. Camberwell Client says:

    I remember at this stage we had several long e-mail conversations about how to do the mast and various other bits. I hope I was a usefull sounding board. The small project I have done recently reminded me strongly of all the plans and schemes and how what you end up with may not be at all like what you first thought of. Not to mention “If that was where I wanted to be, I wouldn’t be starting from here”!

  10. Janice says:

    I know how long it can take to poder over these details! But what you came up with looks just perfect.