The Many Tricks of the Yo-Yo

I first learned of yo-yos, specifically the yo-yo quilt, through my grandmother, one of the quiltingest ladies I’ve ever known. Yo-yo quilts are considered a beginner’s quilt, in that you can practice your stitching and not have to fret so much over measuring and ironing seams. But it wasn’t until I saw a yo-yo on a simple child’s dress that their true versatility dawned on me. Snazz up a wallet or purse, adorn a headband, add a pinback and use as a fabric brooch, or add stuffing to make a bunny’s tail, you can use yo-yos just about anywhere. And the best part? They’re the perfect thing to make out of your fabric scraps or worn-out clothes. Simple to make, fun to use, and up-cycling friendly…get ready to yo-yo all over the place!
What You’ll Need:

  1. A circular template (think plastic lids, jar rims, bottoms of cups, here I used the lid to a Tupperware-type container)
  2. Rotary cutter OR fabric pencil and scissors (both shown)
  3. Needle and thread
  4. Oh, and scrap fabric

How To Do:

Step #1

1) Using your lid (or template), cut out a circle of fabric. A rotary cutter makes this quick and easy, otherwise you can trace the circle with a pencil, then cut out with scissors (which is still pretty easy). Keep in mind the circle you start out with will not be the size of the finished yo-yo. In fact, the size gets cut down to roughly half, so start with a template that’s bigger rather than smaller.

Step #2

2) Thread a needle and tie a knot at the end, leaving a one- to two-inch tail. With the wrong side of the fabric facing you, start a running stitch about 1/8-inch in from the outside edge. (Psst…a running stitch is the most basic stitch. With the needle, just go down one side of the fabric and then come up the other side  ¼-inch, or less, away from where you went down.)

Step #3

3) Continue stitching around the edge of the circle, until you, y’know, have come full circle.

Step #4

4) Pull the needle away from the fabric while simultaneously pushing the fabric away from the needle, guiding it down thread . This will cause the fabric to bunch up. Be gentle, as you don’t want to snap your thread, which, by the way, lengthens here.

Step #5

5) Once the fabric is as bunched up as it can be, tie a knot using the tail you started with in Step 2 and the “live” thread. Make a few knots, actually, just to be safe.

Step #6

6) Cut the thread tails (unless you want to make adornments as described below) and coax the fabric flat. Why hello, yo-yo!

To make the aforementioned adornments, don’t cut the tails in Step 6. Use the extra thread to sew the yo-yo either around its outer edge or through its center.
To make into a bunny’s tail, add stuffing or cotton while completing Step 4. It gets a bit tricky, but you’ll need to tighten the yo-yo while stuffing it. When you have a ball-ish shape, use the extra thread you got from tightening the yo-yo to secure it to a bun-bun.

Quilting? Yes, please!

To make a quilt (or table runner or curtain or whatever!), simply make a million yo-yos and attach to each other by sewing together where the edges meet.

Happy crafting (and reusing)!
Love, Sally

About Sydney

One of the 4 founders of WonderRoot Creative Reuse and DAMN proud of it!
This entry was posted in Creative Reuse, How-to and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Many Tricks of the Yo-Yo

  1. Kelly says:

    That lesson was awesome! I’ve always wondered how the yo-yo quilts were made.

  2. Pingback: Another workshop! | WRCRatl

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