The Yo-yo Quilt

More properly called a coverlet than a quilt, the Yo-yo quilt is none the less a fun way to use up scraps. Made from gathered circles of fabric which are then whipstitched together into the top, the yo-yo's go together relatively quickly and easily.


1. Determine what size circle template you will need. Lids from plastic margarine tubs or similar containers make great templates, as do those "free internet" CDs that come in the mail. Choose one that is suitably large, as you will lose about half the diameter when the fabric is gathered. A 4.5 inch lid or CD will make a 2 inch yo-yo. Make a few experimental yo-yos until you are satisfied with the size. A 1 inch yo-yo is cute, but you'll need a million of them to make a spread.

2. Knot your thread and begin to fold down the edges of the circle about 1/4 of an inch, making a little hem, turning the fabric to the back, and sewing with even, short running stitches. Do not make backstitches. You will be gathering these stitches. Sew all the way around the circle.

3. When you have sewn a little hem all the way around the circle take the threads and pull on them to gather your running stiches. You want to pull the circle into a little puff or pouch, with the outer edges gathered together in the center. They will gather and leave a hole about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch wide, depending on the size of your original patch. This is okay.

4. Flatten down your yo-yo so it is centered with the hole in the middle. The outside of the fabric should be on the outside of the yo-yo. If it looks too tightly gathered, ease it out a bit until you are satisfied with the way it looks. Tie off your knot. The side with the gather and the hole is the top, "right" side.

5. When you have made a pile of yo-yo circles you can begin to assemble them into a "quilt" top. Place two yo-yos right sides together or edge to edge and whipstich together where they meet. Continue adding yo-yos until the top is as large as you want it to be.

6. There is no batting or backing involved in this project. If I had a dollar for every person who had to ask me this, I'd be rich. So I'll repeat. THERE IS NO BACKING REQUIRED. The coverlet will be fine without one. Really. Yes, you could sew the coverlet to a sheet or something, if you just can't sleep at night worrying about it. But you don't need to. Just so this is perfectly clear, you don't have to put a backing on the yo-yos, but if you really want to you can tack it to a sheet or a large piece of fabric, even fleece.

Yo-yos arranged in a grid pattern.

Yo-yos arranged in a honeycomb or flower pattern.

A yo-yo coverlet made by Bubbly. Thanks for sharing the picture!

A patriotic yo-yo coverlet made by T.Gallagher. Thanks for sharing!

Make a square yo-yo!



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