Monday, April 11, 2011

Yo-Yo Many

Years ago on a vacation in St. George, UT, I came upon the most delightful tablecloth made entirely out of charming little circles of fabric.  I had never seen anything like it before.  I thought to myself, "I can do that."  Of course I could.  A few years later, I came across a handy dandy too in a quilting magazine.  It was called a Yo-yo maker.  I instantly recognized it as the means to create that tablecloth of so many years before.  I purchased several sizes and shapes and put that project on the back burner.


Last summer the L. L. Bean Catalog arrived. 
After only a few page turns this sight met my eyes!  

Actually, the colors were circa 1970's red, brown, and orange.  This one is much prettier. 

I loved the look of this yo-yo coverlet, and my husband wanted a lighter summer weight cover for our bed.  I was not a fan of the color palette or the $479.00 price tag.  I had the CRAZY thought right then and there that I would make my own.  I would be done by Christmas.  The process isn't difficult.  (I must admit here that I LOVE to sew by hand.)  It is merely time consuming.  I mean REALLY time consuming.

I did some measuring and some calculating and determined that to make a king-sized coverlet and two covered pillow shams I would need 2,808 large sized yo-yos.  The dimensions of the coverlet are 9' x 8'.  Broken down into 12" x 12" squares the coverlet has 72 squares and each pillow sham has three each.  Each individual square has 36 yo-yos.

In the above picture, the rows of yo-yos are offset so that there are no spaces between each circle.  (When the whole project is sewn together the circles look more like hexagons.)  You can also create a looser design by making even rows and connecting the yo-yos only at the compass points.  In this design, space remains between each circle making the project as a whole more delicate.  The yo-yos on this coverlet are secured to a solid piece of fabric under the circular design.  This makes the project more stable and sturdy.

On to the descriptive portion of this post...

Here are the items you need to make a yo-yo project:

  • fabric (a yard of fabric makes 48 yo-yos)
  • large circle yo-yo maker (best price is at Connecting
  • needle & thread 
First you need to prepare the fabric:
fold the yardage into eighths
measure off 18"

use a rotary cutter to cut the 18" lengths
cut the 18" lengths into 6" lengths

 This fabric is for a different project.  I just wanted to show you the process.

Next, cut circles from the 6" squares you have made:

The folds of the fabric will not necessarily be even. 
Refold the fabric into 8 equal squares. 
This pattern is made of craft foam. 
After cutting the circle, cut the folded edges of the circles. 
I set my circles in offset stacks of 24.

After the circles are prepped, begin making the yo-yos.

The yo-yo maker comes with instructions on the package, but I have added a few tips.

There are two parts to the yo-yo maker.
Place the fabric circle over the tray (bottom) portion of the yo-yo maker.

Align the top portion of the yo-yo maker up with the dots in the bottom portion and snap the two pieces together with the fabric between them.

Following the package instructions, sew around the edge of the yo-yo maker.  I have found that you can sew four stitches at a time before pulling your entire thread through.

Hold the fabric down with your finger and stitch. 

Make four stitches before pulling the thread through.  
At the end of the circle, make a second stitch over the first stitch.  

Separate the two parts of the yo-yo maker, and take remove the fabric circle from center piece.

Pull the end of the thread to gather the yo-yo together.  Be sure to turn the yo-yo right-side out.  

Gather the yo-yo.
Turn it right-side out.
Tie off the ends of the thread.

Finished yo-yos.

Here is an extremely useful gadget for making yo-yos and all of your hand sewing projects!
Thread Conditioner!

I found this at Hobby Lobby.

Thread your needle.  Hold the thread to the conditioner with your thumb.  Slide the thread along the conditioner - down and back. 

This is WONDERFUL for keeping your thread from tangling while you hand sew.

Here are the piles of completed yo-yos.

Look closely,  see the fabrics?
I am only just over halfway finished with all of the yo-yos for this bedspread.    (Maybe I'll finish by this Christmas!)  I'll keep you posted!

UPDATE:  Click HERE to see part two of my Yo-yo Coverlet progress.

If you enjoyed this post, here are a few other pages you might enjoy from my blog:
How to make Toddler Statement Rings can be found HERE.  Ruffle-bum Onesies make a great baby shower gift!  Click HERE to see how easy they are to make.  If needlepoint is more your style, HERE is a great project for Thanksgiving. 

Thanks for visiting  I would love it if you followed me on Pinterest and Facebook!  Have a wonderful day!


The Atomic Mom said...

Super A ++++ for cuteness and creativity and PATIENCE! I could see myself doing something like this during winter, when there is nothing to do here. But I also loved that coverlet from LL Bean. What is it with their prices?? HELLO!

Anyway, good luck. :)

Kristie said...

I LOVE IT!!!!!! YAY, and a million times, YAY!!! Man, hearing about this from the very start and all you have done, it sure is amazing to actually SEE the monster bags full of yoyos! You are beyond amazing!! Way to go Tan!!! You rock!!!