One of the projects I put on my list this year is my Yo-Yo quilt. I’m planning to do a lot of handwork this year, and my Yo-Yo quilt is a big hand stitching project that I’ve had going on for years. I’ve decided that this is the year I’d like to try and finish it.
I guess I should call it a coverlet, since it’s not technically a quilt, but I’m so used to calling it a quilt, I’m gonna stick with that.
Since I’ve posted a pic or two here on the blog and on Instagram lately, I’ve been getting asked lots of questions about it. So I thought I’d do a blog post to show what I’m doing!
When I started this quilt years ago (I don’t know how many years exactly, but well before 1999), to make my circle template, I drew around a teacup of my grandmother’s. So my circle template is just a hair shy of 3 1/4″ in diameter (real scientific).
I drew around the template on my fabric (not adding a seam allowance) and cut them out by hand on the line I drew. I keep piles of the circles in this little carton to grab and go for a quick carry-around project.
I’m using scraps of every kind — I’m not being choosy. Just using up all sorts of old scraps. The quilt is going to have an all-over dark look about it, but there are pops of real bright colors throughout. And it will have a wide border of all dark purple yo-yos around the outer edge (on the sides and bottom only).
Did I mention it’s going to be queen-sized? Yep! I didn’t wanna go small with this one. I have lots of scraps to use up! It will be approximately 87″ x 92″ when I’m done, but when I’m all finished, I’ll have to measure it again to see what size it really ends up.
I’m not using a yo-yo maker for my yo-yos. Here’s how I make one . . .
I turn the edge of my circle under 1/4″ (just eyeballing it), and start a running stitch around the edge to hold the turned-under edge in place.
Use fairly large stitches here — this is no time to be trying to make tiny little even stitches, because if you make tiny stitches, the result is too many gathers, and the yo-yo won’t pull up in the center neatly. So — big running stitches all the way around the edge, turning the raw edge under as you go.
When you get back to where you started . . .
Pull the thread to gather the edges all up into the center tightly.
Then tack the thread in place so it won’t come loose, and cut your thread. Smoosh the yo-yo out flat, so the gathered spot is right in the center. My yo-yos are coming out real close to 1 1/2″ finished, but not exact, since my beginning circle isn’t exact.
To join the yo-yos together, hold two of them front sides together, and run your needle through just the edges, just enough to catch them good. I don’t tie a knot — you can see I’m holding the tail end of my thread between my two back fingers.
Then I take several tacking stitches, and once I’m sure it will hold, I cut both tails off.
Then you have two joined together! Repeat approximately a million times!
I keep all my finished yo-yos in a bigger carton, so they’re all together when I get ready to set some into a section.
I’ve been joining mine in little sets of 9.
Then joining the sets of nine into bigger blocks of 9 x 9 yo-yos. These sections are coming out to approximately 12″ x 12″. It doesn’t really matter that they’re not exact, just that they’re all alike! So that makes this a very forgiving project. You can start with whatever size circle you want — make them bigger or smaller — whatever you want!
I have 15 sections put together, so I still have a long way to go.
My quilt will have a total of 4352 yo-yos in it when I’m finished. 950 of those are the purple ones for the border, so 3402 of them are the scrappy ones. I’ll keep you updated on my yo-yo quilt progress this year, and I hope I can get it done, or at least very, very close!