Thursday, July 29, 2010


Seeing all of these scraps give-aways makes me want to at least be useful with mine. So I decided to use some scraps and make a blue potholder. Although this used far more scraps then I expected, it obviously didn't use nearly enough. I guess I'm going to have to make some kind of spiderweb quilt or something! Or i could continue to make hundreds of potholders and give them out as Christmas gifts, just kidding! lol
I've always felt very different towards scraps. Like when do you have enough? Should I start using them now? Or do I wait until the variations between my scraps is much greater?
This potholder didn't use that many so I'm not really concerned yet. But do I have enough for a quilt... perhaps not.
For the longest time I only quilted in country pattern fabric so my scraps are not as fun or colorful as they could be. Then again, neither is my stash, we're working on it. The fabric I buy in bright colors for baby quilts has definitely been helping! One purchase at a time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to Make a Yo-Yo

Start by deciding how big you want your finished Yo-Yo to be. Then create or find a circle approximately 2.5 times that size in diameter. Ex. For a finished Yo-Yo of 2", you will need a 5" circle (2" x 2.5 = 5").
I have found that an old cd works perfect as a Yo-Yo template.
Next, choose your fabric. You can make a Yo-Yo out of nearly any fabric (as they did initially with old clothes). However, light weight fabric makes the best Yo-Yo's because it bunches in the center more easily and creates a flat Yo-Yo. (All you fabric lovers out there had no idea Joann's fabric was often better for Yo-Yo making because of it's light-weight!)
Trace a few circles onto the fabric using fabric pens or pencils.
Next, cut out the circles.You will need a needle and thread that matches your fabric.

Thread the needle with 12"of thread and tie a knot in the end. If you have thicker, more durable thread or wish to double up the thread it will create a more lasting Yo-Yo. I typically use double thread.
Next start with the fabric circle facing good side down. About an 1/8th of an inch from the side stitch through the fabric and pull the knot tight on the inside if the fabric.
Fold over the side of the circle about 1/4" so your stitch is coming out of the fabric facing you and going back through the two pieces of fabric stitch again away from you.
Continue all the way around the circle, folding over the side and stitching up and down about 1/4" apart. Consistency is more important than the actual length. Too far apart or close and you could end up with a mountain in the center or a large center whole.
Once you're back to the start, holding the fabric close to your last stitch, pull the thread so the circle bunches in the middle (good side of fabric facing out).
Tie a few knots securing the thread to your desired scrunch. Again, the actual tightness doesn't matter as much as the consistency with all of your Yo-Yo's.
Clip the thread and push the Yo-Yo flat, I've seen some people flatten them with an iron.
Last, tie another knot in the thread and start again with a new fabric circle. Another 1,399 Yo-Yo's to go! (If you're making a coverlet)

Monday, July 26, 2010


Per wikipedia, "The Yo-Yo is a popular toy consisting of a length of string tied at one end to a flat spool. It is played by holding the free end of the string and pulling..." Wait, wait, wait, wrong Yo-Yo... Now those are the right ones!

The history of Yo-Yo's started somewhere between 1920 and 1940, or at least that is time period of their popularity. Which, interestingly enough, also corresponds with the US popularity of the modern day Yo-Yo toy (1930's and 1940's). Fabric Yo-Yo's are also called "Suffolk Puffs", "Pom Poms" or "Rosettes".
I believe that you rarely notice things in life until you have an experience or reason for noticing them. Like when you buy a new car; then you see that exact make and model everywhere! Did everyone, all of a sudden, run out and buy that specific car? Or perhaps, did you just not notice them before your purchase?
The same situation holds true for me and Yo-Yo's. I don't believe I'd ever seen a Yo-Yo until Spring of 2006 when I visited my in-laws house and was met by this most beautiful quilt!
Within a few years I saw it mentioned in a blog somewhere and for the first time, my fabric circle quilt had a name... "Yo-Yo"! And suddenly, I saw them everywhere; tutorials, online, and in blogs!In December of 2009 I decided I was going to make a Yo-Yo quilt, quite an undertaking if you consider the above quilt was made from roughly 1,400 Yo-Yo's. I thought 4 a day would be enough to finish the quilt in a year and then I could spend the following year assembling the monstrosity!

In January or February of 2010 I saw a quilt with Yo-Yo's stitched into it on the front cover of an LLBean catalog, followed by a pillowcase in Bed, Bath & Beyond with the same idea.
Were Yo-Yo's returning to popularity like leg warmers or retro shirts? In July 2010 there are hundreds of tutorials and many projects that incorporate those little round objects into their designs (see Oopsie the Octopus or this Pillow) and many of which are being commercially made .
Well let's just say I have somewhere around 400 Yo-Yo's complete, that's not 1,400, but nothing to shrug at either! The hardest part is separating the scraps I have used from the colors I haven't! In addition, my mother-in-law, inspired by the antique quilt and with a little help from her daughter-in-law also embarked on the Yo-Yo challenge. Her Yo-Yo template is about double the size of mine and therefore should make the process a little faster!

Below are some more photos of this quilt. It is my understanding this quilt was made sometime around 1940 by my husband's paternal great-grandmother and her friends. It is made with scraps of old clothes and serves as a coverlet for a full bed.
Little did they know how much this quilt would someday be cherished!

Yo-Yo tutorial to follow...

Sunday, July 25, 2010


We just got back today from a 4 day camping trip...
and boy was it exhausting...
A little bit of rain...
A little bit of sun...
A little bit of humidity...
and a lot of wet dog!
I think we're all happy to be home and ready to quilt, well at least I am!
Laundry, here I come!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Wedding Gift

Speaking of quilts made for wedding presents, here is one that my husband and I received for our wedding. It was made by one of my very good friend's mother. She is an avid quilter with a long-arm quilting machine. The detail in this quilt is absolutely beautiful. All of the little pieces make my head spin and remind me how new I am to quilting, and that I am still an amateur with a lot to learn. She did the colors in black and white because that was the theme of our wedding.

She originally designed the quilt to be taken to the wedding for everyone to sign with best wishes for the bride and groom. My mother and I couldn't bare to let people write on this amazing work of art. Besides, could they really have something important enough to write on this masterpiece.

Last time I visited I believe she was saying she taught a class on this quilt. She is definitely an inspiration to me! In order to complete the quilts I made for my mother and mother-in-law in time for the wedding, she taught me how to use her long-arm and helped me to finish both of the quilts (Brisk Breeze and Nature's Nine Patch). They both turned out beautifully! It's so nice to have someone who will take the time to teach you, so rare in this world.

This is where everyone was supposed to sign... no way!! Too gorgeous!

And the quilting was phenomenal, so perfect for the occasion. Daisy thought she would get into the photo opportunity as well, she's tired. "Please mom, sit still and put your camera away so I can go to sleep!"

...And my next project, I'm keeping the design for this one a secret until it is unveiled.
I have the quilt top and bottom complete, I need to iron, baste, quilt and bind and I will be done. That actually sounds like quite a bit, perhaps I should start another in the interim, two projects at once hardly seems like a challenge.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


In anticipation of amandajean's quilt along (I'm way behind) and the next quilt I am making I needed to purchase more batting and sashing materials. In addition, I found some fat quarters I couldn't live without! The yellow and white are remnants, and the orange was a color I realized I didn't have in my stash... no orange, how sad! I have found that I am not drawn to either orange or purple, I need to work on my fabric selection in the future.
Here is a close up of the top fabric, I thought it was absolutely adorable, I would have bought more but they only had it in a fat quarter. Soooo cute!
I bought an entire bolt of Kona Cotton White, I have a feeling this won't last me much more than 2-3 quilts, I tend to enjoy the use of crisp white sashing (really opens up my quilts). I also purchased some more Coats Cotton quilting thread in Natural... I find this thread is best for quilting. The color blends very well with most colors.
I had a 50% coupon for Joann's and therefore purchased 10 yards of Warm and White batting. I haven't yet got up the courage to purchase an entire bolt (40 yards). Although I know I will never stop quilting, a tiny voice in my head says, "but what would you do with 40 yards?" For now I will stick to 10 and frequent Joann's until I can get up the courage to purchase 20 yards, we will work our way to 40.
All fabric is washed, ironed, folded and put away (yes, all 8 yards of the Kona Cotton too), perhaps a sneak peak at my stash will be warranted eventually!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nautical Stripe

I finished up the binding for this quilt in the car on the way to the shower. That's what I love about small baby quilts, they take no time at all and the binding is a breeze. The couple I made this for just had a baby last month and according to their registry, they are using a nautical theme for the baby's room! Nautical Stripe measures 42" x 52" and is the perfect size for a stroller, car trip or to pack in a diaper bag!
I couldn't help myself, I had to make the back with pretty baby fabric, you only get to use it so often. I'd say this quilt is reversible, nautical when in the bedroom then flip it over for some fun baby colors!
For the quilting I used a back and forth stipple I will call the "wave stipple". I like how the quilting looks on the strips, this is one of my more favorite quilting techniques.
And a close up of the back! Yes between all the adorable elephants, turtles, giraffes, lions, kittens, chicks and blocks the fabric does say "cute as a button!"
I believe I am going to send this quilt out some time this week! As the recipients are the relatives of some very close friends, I am still waiting on the address! Below is a picture of the quilting process, quilt is basted and waiting for me to flip the switch on my sewing machine and start quilting. Again I used A LOT of safety pins for basting, it really does make quilting that much easier! (I bet next you're going to ask where we eat, as I'm obviously quilting on the dining room table! My husband often asks that same question, one of the joys of living in an apartment!)
I have a few more quilts in the works but haven't been that motivated lately to really dig in and start my next big project. I think I'm deadline driven, I find it so much easier to dedicate my time to a quilt when a deadline is fast approaching. I think that's because I can put it in front of exercise, cleaning or cooking if it "has to get done soon!" Perhaps I'll start on a few more of the baby quilts I have in my quilting queue! Talk about a solid deadline!