Sunday, January 6, 2008

Yo Yos

Yo-Yo quilts have been a popular American quilt documnted since the 1920s. Small circles of fabric are gathered around the edges and sewn together forming a three-dimensional quilt top that requires no batting or backing. The quilt pattern is very practical as the circles can be cut from small scraps of fabric and the project easily carried with you to work on while on the go. This quilting style was named yo-yo as it is believed the circles, once gathered, somewhat resemble the yo-yo toy so popular during the 1930-50s.

I am using an assortment of red, green and gold prints from a stack of fat-quarters I have in my collection.

In addition to fabric, the other supplies needed are minimal - scissors, template for circle tracing, a pen, needle, thread, needle threader and a thimble.

I found an oriental bowl in my kitchen that was approximately 4-1/2" in diameter and placed it on the ironed fat quarter cloth and simply traced around it with a pen and cut it out with my scissors.

Once cut out, I thread my needle and start sewing in a running stitch around the edge of the circle, turning the raw edge under 1/4" as I sew.

I gather the fabric up with the thread a bit as I sew around, then pull the gathers tight once I've stitched all the way around the circle.

A 4-1/2" circle makes one yo-yo approximately 2-1/4" wide once it has been gathered and flattened.

Once several yo yos have been made, I sew the sides of each of them together to make the quilt and continue until I've reached a finished size that I desire - anywhere from table topper size to king-size bed sized. I like to make small blocks up of four yo yo circles per block and then sew the blocks of four into larger blocks made up of four of the smaller blocks. Then arrange them into rows, and then sewing the rows together to make up a larger quilt.

We'll see how big this one ends up . . .

An excellent reference in pdf format on the history and making of the yo-yo quilt can be found on the web at -

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