Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Drawing a Circle!!

Now that the question is answered (see the previous post) about the permanence of the colored Sharpies - (I bought a set, drew on canvas with each color, soaked it with water and several other liquids, and the ink wouldn't budge!) let's draw a circle. I used black, tho' so they would show up well.

This is a picture of some of my favorite templates - if the diameter is right, I don't have to get out the high tech compass. For the large, 15" diameter pillows I paint, usually on 18 mesh canvas, I don't count and stitch paint the perimeter, as I don't feel it's necessary if I take great care in the drawing. I had a framer cut templates for me from mat board in several round sizes and two ovals - as this makes the neatest line. NEVER try to draw the circle on paper, and then trace it onto canvas, as this usually makes a messy, squiggly line, which is quite unattractive - especially if you want to wholesale painted canvas. Also - don't try to draw onto canvas with a compass, as the holes in the canvas will cause it to slip around the point of the compass and make a big mess - a line that doesn't meet at the end of the circle.

This little four inch square quilt pattern is a good example of WHY it is so important to stitch count and make symmetric some of these shapes. The circle is 2" in diameter, and could have been just carefully drawn onto the canvas, but it would NOT have stitched to be symmetric, and would be ugly and lopsided. To do this, I drew a 2" circle in ink on paper, and then put the canvas over it - and marked the vertical (and the horizontal) center down the groove in the mesh, as it is an EVEN count due to it's being a four patch quilt pattern.

The canvas was then put over the drawing, and I counted 18 threads up from the center to make the mark at the top to begin. This was just to assure that each section was 18 threads, to create one inch sections. The drawing on canvas at the bottom illustrates that the diagonal was marked out from the center, which is a little square of four stitches. Then, with the canvas still over the circle drawing, just dot around to the diagonal - to make 1/8 of the circle. Then this is simply duplicated going on around the circle until it meets on the other side - very very easy, once you understand what's going on. Mistakes can be easily dotted out with white acrylic paint. Do remember that canvas is square, and no matter how hard you try, there are going to be jagged little strange square places - but even if you draw a perfectly smooth, nice circle with a template, when it's stitched, the edges will have those same little jagged edges - it's the nature of needlepoint canvas.
Another illustration of the importance of stitch counting a circle for symmetry is the white and purple bargello ornament - scroll down a bit and look at it. I made the top an even count, as it was intended for upright stitches, and I needed the groove for the stitch. The symmetry is absolutely necessary so that the design elements come out even, and appear more attractive. The circle with the little flower motif in the center was drawn in the same way - but just by placing the canvas over an inked circle on paper that was drawn with the little plastic bowl. I drew the diagonal out from the center, and proceeded around the circle in the same manner as the 2" version. I put the flower there so you can see why this one is 13 stitches across the top - an odd number, as the flower itself is on an odd count. This assures that the pattern (one of my diaper pattern designs) comes out even on both sides and at top and bottom.

The crazy quilt pattern is on the 5" circle, but I saw no reason to stitch paint it - but did take great care in the drawing. It has no symmetrical design elements, so I didn't think it necessary.

Always make a scan of the canvas after drawing a new circle - with the setting on dark, so it can be filed away for future use, and you won't have to go through the creation process again. The "ornament" was made simply by adding the top - it is to be upright stitches, so I made the count even instead of odd. These shapes can be manipulated in many ways to make still other shapes for playing around with all kinds of patterns and threads, etc.

This scan is of a circle simply drawn around a template - a bowl or plate. One must NOT bear down on the pen, as it will slip down into the groove and not stay on top of the thread, which is where it needs to be - that's where stitches are. I'm sure many of you have purchased rather pricey canvases only to find that the drawing was not well done, so the paint is down in between the threads, and you couldn't decide where to make the stitch. Also, don't make little short strokes with the pen. You need t o make a long, even line as well as you can. Light touch!! No matter how careful I am, I can still usually see a little bobble where the lines meet. Look at the bottom left of this one.

My next pet peeve, besides lopsided eggs with pointy tops and dark, ugly outlines, is hearts that don't have the top curves on the same thread. They might look O.K. on canvas, but not when they are stitched, and it's difficult to make them look right when finishing. also - if there is to be background around these symmetric pieces, they will look totally AWFUL if they aren't stitch counted and symmetric. The center V's of the heart should be on the SAME THREAD. I'm giving you two sizes here, but do try to draw some of your own. Just draw a heart on paper - the sides don't have to match, as you will only use one side as a pattern, and then, after placing a piece of canvas over the drawing, make dots around one side of the canvas - and then copy what you did around the other side, making dots with your drawing pen. Sometimes I resort to the old grade school method of cutting one out from a piece of folded paper. This is really well worth the effort to do correctly.
When putting one of these patterns onto canvas, there is no need to count the long slanted lines that meet at the bottom - just start at the center top, and simultaneously draw around the shape and down the sides to where the slant begins.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Judy,

    Yes! Love this post!

    Designs that are supposed to be even on all sides drive me crazy when they aren't, especially when I'm trying to stitch!!! Argh...

    I've actually used all of these techniques that you've described for designs that I've made for myself. I have traced around circles, etc. to make shapes. I love using cookie cutters as they make great shapes for designs.

    Another technique that I've used, such as for my Bargello stocking, is to actually lay a thread on top of the canvas and then I lay a basting thread around the shape until I'm satisfied with the shape. It's much easier to move a thread then to try and cover up a drawn line. :-)

    My usual technique is to get out the graph paper. I then sketch/draw my shape on the graph paper to make sure that everything is symmetrical. Works great!

    Thanks again for such a great post! :-)

    Windy Meadow