Makes sense, although it may be a bit tricky to adjust bit height with the follower under the template; will have to think about it.
An alternative would be to replace the existing (on the front of carriage) follower with a longer one, possibly bent so that the tip it is at the same level as the bit. There will still be some pantograph effect, but perhaps less so, and it will allow you to mount an existing turned object to use as the template. You will need to make a cradle to mount the template/existing object.
Incidentally, templates are not that hard to make, but with all the sanding and smoothing, only worth it if you are planning on making a number of identical objects. My Elektra Beckham lathe has a special holder to hold Masonite templates, for use with a copying chisel. Even came with a few Perspex templates, but I prefer free-hand.
Larry, attached are some photos of a standard lamp I made 30 years ago. It has developed a lean over the years, so ignore that. It was really a sampler, with a bunch of unpracticed mistakes. The close-ups show a “pineapple” surface treatment, with a number of irregularities, some caused by me, some by a loose cable connection, and some by the tool path of the bit. The last is more apparent on the spirals of the three-start segment, where one side of each spiral is not identical to the other side. The fluting and coves are fine.
Incidentally, the wood is iroko, before I knew about its toxic properties. Fortunately, at that time I was forced to work outdoors, and wear a surgical mask, so hopefully no harm done. But great wood to work with.
Rick, beautiful work. Which bit did you use for the ropework ?