Memorial Day Freestanding Lace Bouquet

by Christy Burcham

While I like a good barbecue as much as anyone else most years I spend Memorial Day in a cemetery - either in Prague or Duncan, Oklahoma where my grandparents are buried. I always take flowers, and I like to make arrangements rather than just buying them. I'm not a skilled florist, but I enjoy choosing the color combinations and thinking of what they would have liked. My grandfather, like many of your fathers and grandfathers, served in World War II, so his arrangement is always red, white, and blue. I made him a special arrangement using the Freestanding Lace Bouquet #12454 collection.

This project is made by adapting an inexpensive store-bought Memorial Day arrangement. It could easily be adapted to a patriotic wreath or floral arrangement by starting with a simple seasonal floral arrangement and adding the lace flowers as described here. 

For my project, I used  Yenmet Twilight Metallic thread colors in both the needle thread and the bobbin thread. I love this thread because it is a blend of a matte color with a silver or gold sprinkled in. It gives the flowers just the right amount of sparkle. 


I stitched 3 red/gold roses, 3 rust red/silver roses, 3 blue/silver roses and 3 gold/silver roses. I then stitched 8 sets of the leaves from the collection, using half lightgreen/silver and half green/silver. 


After stitching each piece, I removed it from the hoop and then trimmed away most of the excess stabilizer with a rotary cutter (scissors would work fine). 


When stitching the leaves, be sure to clip all the jump threads, both front AND back, before rinsing away the stabilizer - it is much easier to do this while it is still on the stabilizer than after. 


To rinse away the stabilizer, I put the piece into a plastic colander and then use the sink sprayer to rinse away the excess stabilizer. Some of the excess stabilizer "goop" will catch in the colander, and you can then throw it away rather than having to rinse it all down your sink. The colander also keeps you from losing any pieces of lace down the drain. The sink spray removes the water soluble stabilizer MUCH faster than regular running tap water. 


Once you've rinsed away the stabilizer, lay the pieces out to dry on a paper towel or flour sack towel on a flat surface.


Once your pieces are mostly dry, you can press them between paper towels or pressing cloths to unfurl any curls you don't want. If you like a more "natural" look you can keep the curls in place.


Now, assemble your flower by rolling it around a chopstick. Follow the collection instructions to button the end piece together. If you do this step while the flower is still very slightly damp, then your finished flower will hold its "rolled" form better. You can also spritz the finished flowers with spray starch to help them hold their shape.


As you are creating your flowers, you can pin them into a scrap piece of styrofoam to keep them organized until you are ready to assemble your arrangement.


Once all your lace flowers are done, you can begin your arrangement. Start with a purchased arrangement. Strip the flowers from the greenery, leaving the stems and leaves.


Now attach your lace flowers to the stems of the arrangement, following the collection instructions for wrapping the tabs from the flowers to the floral stem. You will probably need to remove the stems and leaves from the arrangement base during this step.


Once you have added all the roses, place the stems back into the base container. Add your own touches to fill out your arrangement. I added the white flowers and a second bow from tulle. 

Because I wanted the lace leaves to stand out and not blend in with the rest of the greenery, I added them at the end with hot glue instead of wrapping them to the stems. This way I could add them anywhere I needed a little more sparkle in the arrangement. I simply put a little dab of hot glue on the tab of each leaf and tucked it in where I needed it. 

I'm really pleased with the results - I'm thinking of making a door wreath with these same colors for myself. 

I enjoyed making this project, not only because I enjoy embroidery and crafting, but also because it had special meaning for me. Making something in memory of someone you love is a way of honoring them with both your heart and hands. It gives you time to reflect on their life and influence. Since you are putting your creativity into the project along with their memory, the finished project becomes a symbol of your relationship - a little of them and a little of you, all mixed together into something beautiful. I think Grandpa would have liked it. Especially because I made it.

Purchase the Freestanding Lace Bouquet #12454 embroidery pattern collection here.

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