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...

1 comment:

june said...

Very pretty old quilt. So elegant and fun.

Would love to see the progress on the one youre making.