Mini Quilt of the Month, May: Yo-Yo Coverlet
Every month this year we are presenting a new mini quilt! It’s been such a fun project for everyone involved. These little pieces are a great way to try a new idea or technique without too much pressure. To see all of the quilts we’ve run so far in this series please click here.
This month we are so excited to present our mini Yo-Yo Coverlet! Yo-yos are small rosette-like shapes that are made simply by gathering the edge of a circle of fabric. Made in the traditional way, yo-yos are notoriously time consuming. Fortunately, though, there is a modern solution to this problem, the Clover Yo-yo maker! It makes the process speedy and fun. You just click it onto your fabric, cut around the edges, stitch along the marked holes, and then pull your thread to form one of these beautiful little shapes. It’s actually quite addictive!
You may be familiar with vintage yo-yo coverlets which are often used as decorative bedspreads and are traditionally made of an assortment of small colorful prints. We decided to make our mini coverlet a bit more modern by using a mix of denim colored blues accented by bright orange stitching. While arranging the yo-yos, we found ourselves pulling inspiration from the Gees Bend quilts made of multiple denims, as well as Japanese strip pieced quilts that also incorporate beautiful denim blues. The whole thing came to life once we started stitching with the bright, happy Trio thread.
Despite its delicate appearance, the piece is very sturdy and would also work well on a larger scale. That said, we are fascinated by how sweet and petite this mini coverlet is and can’t help but think of little desserts or dumplings each time we look at it. It would be such a beautiful wall hanging or would look great as part of a table setting.
1 1/2 yard of cotton fabric in an assortment of solid colors. We used (shown above from the top down) . . .
- Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton, Snow
- Rowan Fabrics’ Shot Cotton, Ice
- Carolina Chambray in Royal (this particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our current fabrics for some great alternatives)
- Rowan Fabrics’ Shot Cotton, Smoky
- Rowan Fabrics’ Shot Cotton, Moor
You will also need . . .
- Clover’s Yo-Yo Maker, Large 1.8″
- Brown Paper Packages’ Trio, color 091, Big Orange
- 100% cotton thread to match the fabrics.
These are enough materials to make one 16-inch by 20-inch mini quilt.
16 by 20 inches
Make the Yo Yos
Clip the yo-yo maker to one of the fabrics by lining up the notches on the back of the maker with the markings on the front.
Cut the fabric out roughly a 1/4-inch from the edge of the yo-yo maker. This cutting doesn’t need to be very precise.
Thread an 18-inch (or shorter) length of cotton thread and tie knot at the end. Use thread that matches your fabric fairly well. We used a contrasting thread in the pictures so it would be more visible.
Fold the excess fabric towards the inside of the circle and place your needle through this fold and into the groove to the left of the top marking on the yo-yo maker as shown above.
Turn the yo-yo maker over and then insert your needle into the opening on the back, directly to the right of your last exit point. Make sure that the excess fabric is still folded down towards the middle of the circle so that you are sewing through the fold.
Sew all the way around the circle and then remove the fabric from the maker. You should have a very roughly hemmed circle of fabric as shown above.
To secure the yo-yo tie a few small knots on the inside of the center opening.
And then pull the thread through the center of the yo-yo and out through the back.
Clip the thread and your yo-yo is complete.
Repeat this process to make a total of at least 99 yo-yos (or however many you desire) out of a mixture of the fabrics.
Attach the Yo Yos Together
The coverlet is sewn together with Trio thread, which is plied. To sew with it, cut a length of Trio and then separate the plies. It should come apart easily into three pieces of two plies a piece. You will be using these 2-ply pieces to sew with.
Arrange 99 yo-yos into a grid 11 yo-yos tall by 9 yo-yos wide. You can arrange them into a random pattern, stripes, blocks, or however you like.
You will be sewing them together into 11 horizontal strips first, and then sewing those strips to one another veritcially. The technique for sewing them together is shown below:
Tie a knot at the end of a 2 ply length of Trio and thread it onto an embroidery needle. Enter the first yo-yo though its center. Exit slightly towards the back of the yo-yo. Pull the thread through thus hiding the knot.
Flip the yo-yo over and insert your needle about 1/8-inch from the edge and poke it though to the front.
Pull the thread through.
Take the second yo-yo and pinch it wrong sides together to the first. Insert the needle 1/8-inch from the edge of the second yo-yo. Push the needle through to the first yo-yo so that it emerges 1/8-inch above the first stitch.
Pull the thread fairly taught so that the yo-yos lay flat next to each other and the first stitch is making a small horizontal line as shown above. Insert the needle 1/8-inch from the edge of the second yo-yo directly across from your last exit point.
Pull the thread through to the back and flip the yo-yos over. Insert the needle through the back of the second yo-yo. Do not poke through to the front.
Pull the needle out on the other side of the second yo-yo, at the opposite edge, just towards the back.
Attach all subsequent yo-yos in the same manner.
When sewing the horizontal rows you should be sewing at 3:00 and 9:00 on each yo-yo.
When you move on and sew the vertical rows together you should sewing these equals sign (=) stitches at 12:00 and 6:00 on each yo-yo.