Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Yo-yo, are you still updating? (Part 2)

Welcome to PART 2 of my update find Part 1 click HERE.

I gave myself a vacation from this project for a few weeks (bad idea) because my husbands business, Harrison Law, PLLC, was BUSY in addition to moving our offices.  By the time the dust settled it was October.  I snatched a few bags out of my out-of-sight, out-of-mind storage area and got to work.  I had no real plan for this part of the project only sew the darn things together.  After about six weeks, I realized that I'd made a fatal flaw in my sewing.  I now had six "squares" that weren't square and weren't oriented correctly.  *SIGH*  I began the slow, laborious process of picking out all of the hand stitching that I had done returning the "squares" back to their "pile of little circles" state.  *SIGH*  However, all of this time spent picking out sloppy stitching was not completely wasted because it gave me a chance to do the planning that I should have done in the first place. 

First, I did this...
Mark each of the segments with a washable sewing marker.

I went back to my geometry roots and made a sewing template.  Each segment is 60 degrees of the circle.  That division separates the circle into six equal segments to assist with the sewing.

As shown above, I divided the yo-yo circles into sixths and marked them using the template I made.  Since some circles are face up and some are face down on the quilt, I mark each circle on the wrong side of the circle.  That way I can see my hash marks as I am sewing.  I have found that different fabrics react differently to the fabric marker.  Some fabrics will hold onto the mark for weeks.  On others, the marker starts to fade the moment I draw on the circle.  The printed designs interfere with the fabric marker too.  This is especially true for the white-on-white yo-yos that border the quilt.  I learned to draw extra-long hash marks to make sure that the mark transferred to the fabric and not just to the printed design.  The marker wipes right off the paint.

From then on sewing together the squares was "simple."  You have to picture those as air quotes because the process was simple-er but I still have to put a lot of thinking into what I'm doing.  I still have to pick out seams on a semi-regular basis.  As soon as I get tired and my concentration slips, I sew something wrong and have to pull out my seam ripper.  (I keep it in the bag with the squares.  It just saves time that way!)

I make a mini-template of the current square as a quick reference so that I don't have to pull out my road map.  It is getting really fragile. 
My tools:  reference photo, mini road map, circle template, fabric pen, circles

I separate each bag of circles into individual strips of six following the photograph to get the correct order.  I use the road map to determine which circles are face up and which are face down.  Then, I do my marking.  I load the lines into plastic zipper bags numbered 1 - 6, and finally, I'm ready to sew. 

Awaiting the needle and thread
Match up the hash marks and whip stitch two circles with the right sides together.  Since the hash marks are on the wrong sides of the yo-yos, it is easy (usually) to see when to stop sewing.  Here I must confess that I did not pre-wash my fabric before making the yo-yos.  This was a HUGE mistake.  Some of the fabric circles shrunk in the wash so not all of the finished yo-yos are the same size.  I have to ease some of the larger circles down to match the smaller segments on the smaller circles.  Also, some of the yo-yos dried funny leaving them misshapen.  Sewing these yo-yos together is more of a challenge.

Let me take another opportunity to laud the glories of Thread Heaven, Thread Conditioner!  As I stated in my first post, Thread Heaven is what I use to make my thread smooth and keep it relatively tangle-free.  (You still need to keep a careful eye on your thread.  It will still tangle if you're not careful, but this eliminates much of the trouble.)I began this project using beeswax, but it just wasn't just working out.  I run my thread back and forth across the conditioner three or four times to get a really good coating.  As per the Thread Heaven directions, I run the coated thread through my fingers once to create a static charge.  Then I'm off...

Ready, Set, SEW!

Line up the hash marks.

Whip Stitch

Stop at the next hash mark and tie off your thread.
Add the next yo-yo onto the chain and stop when all six are connected.  Like this...

Strips of circles, so many strips of circles.

Once all of  your strips are complete, it is time to assemble the finished square.  I chose that the top right corner of every square would be shifted to the right to allow the circles to nest against each other.  (I could have done this project much more quickly and with fewer yo-yos if I had opted to sew the yo-yos together without nesting.)

Here is where it gets a little tricky...(for me, maybe not for you!)  :)

For the strips to be bumped OUT, sew  ONE hash mark up from the strip sewing.  For the strips being bumped IN, sew TWO hash marks from the strip sewing.  WHAT!?!  This is where I mess up all the time!

Look closely.
You will see that the flowered circle is bumped IN.  Two segments are sewn - the first to the tan circle and second to the green circle.  The tan circle is hidden in the back, but it is bumped OUT and the green circle next to it is also sewn once.  See the photos below for a better idea of the finished product.

All of the circles nest together.
 Keep adding strips bumping each odd numbered strip OUT and each even numbered strip IN.

I'm almost done.  It is time to put more thread on the needle. 

As of this posting I am finished with half of the squares for the quilt.  I have a bag that I carry everything around in and work as I have time.  You will notice that the upper pictures have my old carpeting as the backdrop, but the last picture is me working while my children were in swimming lessons (one year later).  I get a lot of work done waiting in the car line at school.  (Before you gasp and clutch your pearls, the car is turned off!  I come early to get a good spot.)

My husband asks me when this project will be done.  I tell him sometime in 2015.  I'm not kidding when I say that.  Every time I update (and sometimes each time I pick up the bag) reconsider spending the $450.00 that Land's End was asking for their yo-yo quilt, but I'm into it now.  I'm not turning back. Also, Land's End isn't even selling it any more. *SIGH*

Click HERE to see my first post about how to make yo-yos, HERE for my first update on this project, and HERE for Part 1 of my second update. 

I would love it if you became a follower of my blog.  You can find me HERE on Facebook and HERE on Pinterest.  Come check me out there!

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy my post for this Rainbow Jell-o.  Find out how to make your Toddler his or her own textbook HERE.  Get ready for Thanksgiving with some "Give Thanks" Board
Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Updating Again - Yo-Yo! (Part 1)

You may recall that I am making a king-sized bedspread entirely out of yo-yos that are 2" in diameter.  You can read my first post about it HERE and my progress update from last summer HERE.  Since my last update I have finished making all of the  yo-yos necessary to complete the bedspread and two pillow shams - 2,808 to be exact.  I finished the last one while my children were in swimming lessons.  I sat there kind of feeling lost thinking, "Well, now what do I do?"  I knew there was something that I should be doing, I just didn't know what it was.  I celebrated the fact that I was done making yo-yos for a couple of days and then I began phase two - SEWING THE YO-YOS TOGETHER!

That sounds quick and easy right?  Yeah, right!  I popped all 2,808 yo-yos into the washing machine thinking that surely they would all come apart and I would have to begin again.  Blessedly I have only found one that has come apart!  You are asking yourself, "What does a pile of 2,808 yo-yos look like anyway?"  Well a lot like this:

That's a lot of yo-yos. Yo!
I wanted the pattern of the bedspread to be random so I needed to PLAN the randomness.  I prepared myself for a LONG evening and monopolized my entire family room floor.  (No other room is big enough.)  I began laying out the pattern.  I edged the entire quilt in the white on white circles that I showed in the last post.  I made extra so they are scattered throughout the pattern as well.  I know you are dying to see what they looked like all over my carpet........Take a look:

This is the view from my kitchen.  You can just see the laundry basket empty of its yo-yos in the top right corner.

This is the view looking the other direction.  I think it looks incredible!
 I just love how all of the colors blend together and compliment one another with a pop of color here and there of navy, shades of green, and white.

Um, yeah, now what.....I can't just leave them there and sew them together one at a time.  Also, I set them all out with the back/solid side up so that I could get the full effect of the colors for contrast.  That is a gorgeous look, but I love the traditional gathered/top side too.  This was my dilemma.  I'll come back to my solution to that problem later.  At that time, I just needed to get all of my yo-yos off of the floor before my children woke up. 

 My solution involved a bunch of quart-sized Ziploc bags, an unopened package of index cards, and a camera.  I sub-divided the quilt into squares.  Each square contained 36 circles - 6 rows with 6 circles each.  I then numbered the squares beginning with 1 in the top left-hand corner and working down to 9 in columns.  Square 10 was at the top of the second column and so on down and across the quilt.  I wrote the square's number on the index card, placed it next to the square, and took a picture.  Then I removed the 36 squares from the floor, placed them all into a Ziploc bag, and shoved the numbered card in with them.  This process went on for several hours.  

What was my husband doing, you ask, while I was galumphing all Gollum-like across our family room floor?  At first he watched a movie, (I don't remember which one) and then he turned to this...

Yup, Angry Birds...We have it on our ROKU Internet TV box.  WE LOVE IT!

That bird is an-gry!

As I mentioned before, I took photos of every square with the cards next to them.  I did that so that when the time came to sew the squares together, I would not need to guess where I put all of the circles.  I worked hard to keep from repeating colors as I laid them out, and I didn't want to mess that up.  (Even with all of the planning, I did end up with some like colors matching up.) I took the photos to Costco and had the pictures printed out so that I had physical photos.  The next step was to match the photos up to the numbered index cards and put them into the bags with the other items.  There were a few mistakes that I needed to correct when matching up the photos with the bags. 

Now I'm ready to start sewing, or am I?

As I mentioned before, I wanted to show both the solid/back sides of the yo-yos and the gathered/front sides of the yo-yos on the same quilt.  I solved this problem by creating this...

 I made this road map to decide which yo-yos to leave up and which ones to flip over.  The white lines represent the front (gathered) sides and the black lines represent the back (solid) sides of the yo-yos.

My road map

Did you notice that my picture is upside down?  *SIGH*  Oh well, you get the idea.  Or don't you?  If you look closely at the square below, you can see how some of the yo-yos are facing "up" and some of the yo-yos are facing "down."  The road map above helps me remember which is which. 

Some of the yo-yos are facing "up" and some of the yo-yos are facing "down."

This post is getting LOOOONG.  To find out what I did to begin sewing the squares together, come visit again tomorrow!

Click HERE to see my first post about how to make yo-yos and HERE for my first update on this project. 

I would love it if you became a follower of my blog.  You can find me HERE on Facebook and HERE on Pinterest.  Come check me out there!
If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy my post for organizing your Spice Cabinet.  Find out how to make your own vanilla extract just in time for holiday gifting by clicking HERE.  Get ready for Thanksgiving with some Thankful Blocks.  

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