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Sunday, January 6, 2013


As I mentioned on Friday, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, the latest book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, features yo-yo crafts. Fabric yo-yos have been around since the Depression when women began making them to salvage every last scrap of fabric from garments that had worn out. Most scraps made their way into patchwork quilts, but those pieces too small to be used in quilts were made into yo-yos. Because of the way the yo-yo is constructed, even slightly worn pieces of fabric gained a second life. The yo-yos were then fashioned into coverlets, dresser scarves, placemats, and other useful items.

In the 1960’s yo-yos were rediscovered by the hippies who stitched them into colorful vests. Today you can find yo-yos embellishing various fashion accessories from head-to-toe or hair clips-to-shoes.

In Revenge of the Crafty Corpse Anastasia, the crafts editor at American Woman magazine, comes into possession of a box of fabric yo-yos. She uses some of them to craft a series of Christmas ornaments. Since Christmas is over, and most of you are probably in the process of packing away your ornaments for another year, here’s a yo-yo craft to herald in spring. After all, it’s only 72 days away. (Now doesn’t that help chase away the winter doldrums?)

Yo-yo Bird Pin

Materials: 4” circular piece of lightweight cotton fabric, 1" ceramic bird button, sewing needle, quilting thread, 1” jewelry pin back, jewelry glue
Hold the fabric circle with the wrong side facing you. Fold 1/4” of the raw edge toward the wrong side of the fabric. Using the quilting thread, begin the first stitch underneath the fold of the hem to hide the knot, then sew a running stitch around the circle. When you reach your starting point, and the circle is completely hemmed, pull the thread tight to gather the fabric. Smooth and flatten the yo-yo so the hole is in the center. This is the right side of your yo-yo.

Sew the bird button over the center hole of the yo-yo. Knot the thread and snip excess.

Glue pin back to back of yo-yo.


Kathy said...

thanks for the idea. now i know what i can do with the card of ceramic bird house buttons i bought on sale years ago.


Kathy, I have a collection of ceramic buttons and am always looking for ways to use them. If I think of some others, I'll share them on the blog.

Judythe Morgan said...

One of the coolest quilts I ever sold in my antiques shop was a yo-yo quilt. Colorful and loaded with vintage buttons. Didn't take long to sell either.
Thanks for the instructions. I'm thinking that making yo-yos is a great craft for these wintery days.

Annette Mahon said...

I love yo-yos! Years ago when I was awaiting a biopsy on an iffy mamogram (for 3 weeks!) my hands weren't steady enough for my usual applique, but I was able to do yo-yos. Did hundreds of them. I sewed them into blocks but have never stitched the blocks together.


Annette, maybe this blog post will spur you to take out those panels and make them into pillows or something else.

Annette Mahon said...

Thanks, Anastasia. I was thinking tablecloth. Saw one in a magazine and loved it. Not practical, but lovely on a dining room table.