Monday, December 20, 2010

Drawing the Topiary Template - getting started

When this idea first popped into my head a number of years ago, I had no idea how I would make a conical 3-D tree in needlepoint, so went to a craft store and purchased three styrofoam cones - three different heights, as I had visualized a nice little forest of trees on the mantel or dining table. To save a lot of time here, I'll just say it didn't work.

The paper pattern models I made with them were way to skinny. Then - and again, skipping a lot of other failed experiments - I decided to just make a simple cone with poster board, using a compass and tape. To my surprise, a 90 degree angle worked best, and the proportions were wonderful for a needlepoint topiary tree!

I'm showing in this first picture the method one might use if one's compass is buried at the bottom of an unknown box in the garage - it's my trusty tape measure. I measured down from the corner 7 inches, and then, using the tape measure, just made intermittent dots, along which I cut the poster board. Neatness is not a great factor here..

Then I found the compass and it's extension arm, and did the same thing on a piece of white paper - but made more definite lines - neater, etc., and included two more concentric circles, as this willl aid in the pattern making to make any swags or other lines meet where they should when the cone is formed with the canvas. I cut the paper model very carefully and neatly along the bottom.

You can see the penciled lines that are partial concentric circles out flat on the pattern, but then are just lines that go straight around the cone when it's put together. (with a little bit of tape)

In the next photo, I just lightly sketched some ornaments to demonstrate the reason for doing this on a curve drawn when the pattern is out flat - the swag appears as it should, and also meets at the same place on the back (the arrows show) When drawing it onto canvas, this will assure you that the pattern meets.

To do this, I had placed the paper cone over the poster board cone for the stiffness, which allowed me to draw the ornaments, etc. with ease. The paper will later be un-taped and flattened for use as the pattern when drawing it onto the canvas.

The sketched ornaments and swags are just for demonstration - too messy to be a real pattern, but it gets the idea across, I believe.
With the paper cone opened out flat again, you can clearly see how the process works. The arrows point to where I left an overlap to make the drawing easier where the swags and concentric circles meet. That space will not be left on the canvas drawing.

I have decided to do the rest of this tutorial and show actual patterns on the Freebies, etc. blog, and then show the stitching and decorating and whatever will be done here on this one. You can let your imagination to wild on these, using the stitches and techniques you've learned, and getting into your own stash of wonderful threads!

I have so many of these things now whirling around in my head - I can see holiday/festive mantles or table tops - or dining tables set with centerpieces of little trees of varying heights and different colors - they needn't just be for Christmas!! Ideas for enhancements and surface embellishments are almost unlimited!!


LilyStitch said...

This idea is really cool. 3D needlepoint pieces are just SO great.

Rachel said...

Once you find the right technique - as you clearly have! - these things become much simpler, don't they!

Cool City Stitcher said...

I'm eager to watch this develop.. I love the idea!

Needle Nicely said...

Seeing your diagrams makes me want to drop what I'm stitching and start my own tree! Thanks for the thorough instructions.

Needle Nicely said...

My fingers are itching to drop what I'm currently stitching, grab a compass and start working on my own version of a tree. Thanks for such clear directions.

mskathk said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas! Merry Christmas to you and yours.