Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

by Jennifer Walter

All of us have our preferred choices. Of these, Yoyo quilt is my obvious choice. Yes admittedly people would differ as yoyo quilts are the most intricate to make of all the varieties.

But then Yoyo quilts are the most intricate for that very reason. Let's be all clear that Yoyo quilts take impervious time to make and thus are meant for impatient and beginners. During the 1930's & 40's these quilts were at the prime in recognition and their time seems to be here again now.

These quilts are basically small rosettes containing cotton. The technique involves assembling and sewing material into a circle. The rosettes are then stitched into a predetermined pattern. Printed materials are commonly used for making yoyos.

The choice of fabric is not limited as ironing is not required for these quilts and therefore batting type can also vary. Many a times a large fabric is used as a cover for yoyos, some do it as they do not like their special yoyo to get spoilt while using it while others just like to preserve the quilt for longer use.

Yoyo quilts like other quilts are the result of our imagination of colors and patterns, they can be made as per your perference . If you like your yoyo to serve as mini cushion on your sofa or like a bed cover then slight adjustments of not adding batting and backpack shall do it.

Be clear that initially the art of making a yoyo quilt can be difficult to learn but gradually once you have got accustomed to the steps it shall not take much time.

It's always important that the supplies are ready before hand. Beautiful designs added with color variations give the yoyo quilt an elegant look. Here are the steps to craft a yoyo quilt.

1. Before you do anything have the size of the quilt in you mind and thereafter make a spherical cut-out pattern twice that dimension and an extra 1/2". A cardboard cutout will act as a guide.

2. Place the cut-out pattern to your right or left hand side of the fabric depending on your writing hand and then using a pencil create a highlighted area around it. Allow space of 1/2" between circles.

3. Create circles of size ¼ inch after the line.

4. It is recommended that a quilting thread be used or else if you use a regular thread then sew with 2 strands. Tie a knot at the last tip of the thread and take it upside from behind while folding underneath the ring on the line.

5. Keep stitching on the line of the circle, folding underneath the seam allowance further.

6. As you keep stitching you shall reach the start point again, there pull the thread so that it all collects within a rosette. the yoyo should have an opening in the center

7. Few backstitches will help secure the thread, tie a knot so that the thread is not lost.

8. All the excess thread should be cut off then re-knot & start another yoyo.

9. Place the yoyo in front of you in rows in a manner that reflects the kind of design/pattern you want to make.

10. Now sew two yoyos. Stitching can be done either from the middle or any side. Do this again until all rows are done. Now sew all the rows to form one piece.

11. What you can also do is sew the yoyo with a larger material, then adding batting to it & adding finishing touch to the edges.

Discover free beginner hand quilting instructions and expert quilting lesson by Jennifer Walter, the owner of successful quilting site at

Learn how to use the Clover Yo-Yo Maker with Pat Sloan..

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Replies to This Post

I was very glad to see the article about yo-yo's.

I have a pillow my grandmother made me in the late 30's of yo yo's.

My mother made at least 35 queen sized yo yo spreads. The last one she was in her 80's.
She took the dresses of my mother-in-law (after she was finished with them) and made spreads for my two daughters and 3 grandchildren. She passed away in 1977, but had me save the spreads to give to my grandchilden at their wedding showers so they would have a gift from her.
She won a blue ribbon at the Oklahoma State Fair on one of her spreads.
what a treasure you have! Your mom & grandmother sound very talented. Did they teach you to quilt too?
I love "Yo Yo" quilts or spreads. I have the remnants of one made by my great grandmother. It has survived 2 house fires and Hurricane Katrina evacuation. I am looking for fabrics similar so I can restore it. My mother taught my sister and me how to make teses when we were very young and I have never forgotten. It is a good way to start young children on hand sewing.
I'm inspired once again!! I want to do this and I even have the yo-yo maker but just couldn't decide on fabric colors. I love the the quilt reminds of sherbert!

Since I read this on July 18th I have been very busy! I calculated I needed1232 yo-yo's for a 42" X 66" throw. So I started digging through the stash and cutting the fabric. To my surprise, I counted the one's that were done and I have 680 yo-yo's completed! I love the colors in the picture above so I am staying in that color and random design mode. I rotary cut all the circles from 4 1/2" squares, which made it fast and efficient. I don't yet have all the circles cut because I'm still on the hunt for more peach and pink fabric. That's been kind of difficult, even on-line! If anyone has any peach or pink they'd like to donate to the cause I would be truly "sew" grateful...Lynne
holy smokes you have been busy! Beautiful colors.
WOW...that's a lot of yoyo's. You have more patience than I do.

Does any one know what sizes of yo-yos were used for this quilt.

 I have never made a quilt before,and think this is a good one to start with.

 Love the colors.

how do you know how much fabric to buy?

Rhonda the yo-yo maker shown in the picture at the top of page

is the "large" maker.

There are 5 sizes of round extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large.
I have all of them plus many of the other shaped such as the butterfly, and

both sizes of ovals.

They are very addicting.


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