Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yo-Yos in the Wind

Being the daughter and granddaughter of quilters, I know a wee bit about quilts and the art of quilting. My mom is the real deal. She meets weekly to hand-quilt with a lovely group of women in the basement of a nearby church. They have the big wooden quilting frame and everything. People in their community pay them to quilt fabrics that have already been pieced together. The ladies then give the money to the church. They quilt because they enjoy the act of stitching, they have fun gabbing as they stitch, and because they all get that same thrill when they take a completed quilt out of the frame and admire what they created together.  Doesn't that sound dreamy?

As you all know, my favorite thing to stitch is paper. I like applying my meager sewing skills to paper and seeing what I can create. Lately, I've been playing around with the yo-yo quilt concept. Yo-Yo quilts are made from a series of fabric puffs made from circles of different fabrics. They are so whimsical and fun. Here's a perfect example from Yo Yo Cottage's Etsy shop (right here in Georgia!).

I decided to try this technique on some painted rice paper. You might like to try this too, so here's the low down on how I did it.

1)  Using a variety of colors and playful techniques, cover several pieces of rice paper with acrylic paint and allow to dry completely. If you've never painted on rice paper, be aware... it is very delicate when wet, almost like a wet paper towel. I place it on plastic wrap, then gently peel it up and dry it on a plastic-wrap-covered drying rack.

2)  Using a circle pattern (mine is a jar lid), trace circles onto the paper and cut them out.

3)  Use your sewing machine to baste a stitch about 1/4" from the edge of each circle.

4)  Gently pull one of the loose strings from the seam  you just basted. As the paper bunches up, carefully move the gather around the paper until you have cinched the entire circle into a puff shape.

5) Create as many puffs as you'd like. My mobile is rather small - only 25 puffs, but you can make any size. I'd love to see one in jumbo form!

5) Use fishing line or other translucent string and a needle to string rows of completed puffs. Leave about 10 inches of fishing line at the top of each row.

6) Find something to use as the anchor for your mobile. You can use a stick if you want the mobile to be straight across. I found this cardboard ring and covered it in extra rice paper using matte medium as my glue. You could also use a wooden embroidery hoop.

7)  Tie the rows onto the ring in whatever pattern you like.

8) Tie the loose strings together at the top.

9)  Even though this mobile is for indoor use, you must take your finished mobile outside and let it blow in the wind for a few moments. You'll be happy you did.


  1. Oh fun yo-yos...xox

  2. How neat. It turned out so nicely. I so admire what your mom and her friends are doing, quilting together with a group. I used to have a friend whose grandma used to do that and it sounded like such a wonderful way to pass time with friends!

    1. Doesn't it sound nice? I think we need to revive it, but I don't really know what I am doing with that kind of quilting!

  3. I too am using my sewing on paper/cardboard more than fabric. AND...I agree...go BIG!!

  4. Your writing about your mother and the church quilters reminds me of that movie "How to Sew an American Quilt" with Winona Ryder. Wasn't that the name of it?? Just a beautiful story of women and their life stories shared around the quilting frame. I just love stitching as it can be applied to many different mediums!

    1. I agree. Stitching is so meaningful. I never feel like a work is complete with out a few stitches on it!