Yo-Yo Quilts - Craft How To

A couple weeks ago, my friend Connie posted this picture on Facebook of a Yo-Yo quilt that she created.  I loved it and asked if she would be kind enough to write a guest post on my blog.  Of course she agreed so I am sharing her wonderful crafty knowledge with you.  What a great way to use scrap material!

Yo-yo quilts are some of my favorites! It’s a simple sewing technique that rose in popularity from 1920’s to 1950’s. During the Great Depression it was a simple way for ladies to be resourceful with very little in the way of fabric. They would use round lids (coffee can, canning rims, etc.) of various sizes and trace circles on to scraps of material or sometimes even create from gently used pieces of clothing. The small circles were very portable and could easily be taken anywhere.

I have also heard the yo-yo referred to as a puff or a Marguerite. The technique dates back to before the Victorian era. They are never quilted but tacked together by hand. They can be referred to as a quilt but are considered a coverlet. Some wonderful patterns can be achieved by using different colors. Ladies would place a solid color sheet or blanket on the bed and lay the yo-yo quilt on top. The solid color would show through giving a lacy, three-dimensional effect.

Yo-yo’s are so versatile! I’ve seen them on clothing, made into pillows, wearable art (earrings, necklaces, rings, buttons, etc.), table runners, purses, trim on lamps, even toys! They are so much fun and simple to make! If you’re artsy or crafty, you probably have most of the materials at your fingertips even as you read this blog! You need various fabrics of your choosing or from your private stash, hand-quilting thread, needle, and sharp scissors. Most important of all, you will need something round to trace or cut around (old, scratched CDs are perfect!). There are yo-yo making tools created by Clover that can give you different sizes and shapes depending on your preference. These come in two pieces. They clamp around the material and hold it in place. Instead of tracing you simply cut the fabric circle around the tool and then stitch through the pre-measured holes around the rim. Think of what size you may be comfortable with and go with it! Just remember, the smaller the yo-yo the more you’ll need.


Once you have a small pile of circles just start stitching! Thread your needle, turn down the edge of your circle ¼ inch, and stitch in and out turning down the edge of the circle down as you go. When you complete the stitching pull snug. Connect the first and last gather and whipstitch them together. Manipulate the yo-yo until the gathered hole is in the center. Voila!

When I attach my yo-yo’s, I begin by knotting the end of my threaded needle once. I poke my needle through the edge of the yo-yo so it’s between the folds of the material. I pull the needle out along the edge where I will attach to another yo-yo. I pull just taught enough to pop the small knot of the thread through to the inside of the yo-yo to hide it. I put the face side of two yo-yo’s together and whipstitch them, tie a small knot, and then run my needle through one of the yo-yo’s, about an inch, pull through and trim with scissors. This is how I hide the little end threads and make a cleaner looking back to my quilt.

The yo-yo quilt I’m currently creating has been a complete joy! I’ve been creating it in my idle moments. I would like to get it done sooner than later, but there is no deadline. I think I have enough yo-yo’s to complete it, so I’m now in the tacking phase. I like all colors bright, soft, or neutral. The material used is a compilation of my years of collecting, and my mother’s, grandmother’s, and mother-in-law’s scraps from former projects. I’m not exactly sure what my next yo-yo project will be, but I am sure it will be just as fun!



My deepest thanks to Connie for sharing this.  I am looking forward to giving this a try.  Hope you have fun!
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