Wednesday, October 2, 2013

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

Welcome to PART 2 of my update post...to 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. 

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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
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