Quilting Yo-Yos - Problem Solved


If you like quilting Yo-Yos, but have not been happy with the results, this great article covers how to solve that problem and love Yo Yos!

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Quilting Yo-Yos - Problem Solved

Would you like to make yo-yos, but avoid them because you haven't been happy with ones you have made in the past? Let's solve that problem! Yo-yos are really simple to make if you know the secrets; large stitches very close to the folded edge of your circles and the right needle.

Quilting Yo-Yos - Problem Solved


Small Stitches

First lets talk about some common reasons for yo-yo problems. Large centers - these are usually the result of taking small stitches like you would want for hand quilting or piecing. This results in the fabric not having any room to move up and down so it leaves a large opening in the center of the yo-yo. This can be a real problem if your fabric is not pretty on the “wrong side” and you see it peeking out through the large center. Another cause of large centers is very heavyweight fabrics. Yo-yos are best made using a nice quilt shop quality fabric. Attempting to use something like knits, upholstery, or "bottom weight" fabrics will make for a very thick yo-yo with a large center no matter how large the stitches are that you take. For beginners, I suggest using a fabric that is pretty on both sides like batiks. They are usually a nice weight and both sides are pretty.


Quilting Yo-Yos - Tiny Stitches
Quilting Yo-Yos - Tiny Stitches

Tiny stitches create large centers as seen in the second picture.


Stitches Too Far From Edge

Yo-yo problem two is having ruffles sticking up? Ruffles at the stitched edge can be caused by taking stitches that are more than a few threads from the folded edge of the fabric. If, when you gather your circle together after stitching, you see a ruffle beyond your stitching, you will know that you have not stitched close enough to the folded edge of your seam allowance.


Quilting Yo-Yos - Stitches To Far From Edge
Quilting Yo-Yos - Stitches To Far From Edge

Stitches too far from the folded edge of the seam allowance and the resulting ruffle.


Not The Desired Size

Yo-yo problem three – your yo-yos don’t turn out the size you desire. Is your yo-yo too small? Your turn over of the seam allowance might be a bit too generous. In general, you will need to cut a circle twice the size of the yo-yo you would like to have when you finish stitching plus 1/2". So, if you would like to have a 1" finished yo-yo, you will need to cut a 2-1/2" circle.


Needle Too Hard To Pull

Yo-yo problem four – the needle is too hard to pull through the fabric. Needle choice is a factor in the ease of making yo-yos. A Millner size 10 needle is a great choice since it is very thin from eye-to-point and will glide nicely through your fabric. My favorite brand is John James needles that are found most often in nice quilt shops. These needles are long enough so that you may stack quite a few stitches on the needle before pulling your needle through the fabric. This allows you to see that your stitches are a consistent size and saves you a bit of time as well.


Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Step 1
Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Step 2
Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Step 3

Large stitches nice and close to the folded edge, stacked on the needle to make sure that you have consistently sized stitches which can be seen by looking at the top of the needle and noticing that the gathers are consistent.


Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Result

Success. Perfect tiny center.


Now that you know how to make yo-yos, here is a bit of inspiration for quilted projects that you may make.


Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Example 1
Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Example 2
Perfect Quilting Yo-Yos - Example 3


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Hand Quilting
A running stitch that is made through all three layers of a quilt to hold them together.
The process of assembling quilt blocks from pieces of fabric sewn along their edges to form a whole.

See Also: English Paper Piecing, Assembly Piecing, Machine Piecing, Chain Piecing, Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing
Seam Allowance
The width of fabric left to the right of a sewn seam. In quilting this is traditionally 1/4 inch. For sewing garments it is usually 5/8 inch.
An easy way to create quilt blocks with unique kaleidoscope designs. These designs require a set of identical pieces cut from a print fabric. Rather than finding and cutting each piece individually, a quilter can cut and layer a number of large, identical print rectangles to make a stack.

Same As: Stack-n-Whack, Whack
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