Generally, I have an aversion to yoyos. No, not the disks you do tricks with with your hands, nor the south central Michigan version which is also known as a retractable measuring tape. These are gathered circles of cloth.
I developed this aversion when I was in the second grade. One of the recess ladies was really smart. On days when we had to stay in because it was raining, she somehow got me and all of my friends to make yo-yos for her. You see, to make a quilt out of yo-yos takes a lot of yo-yos.
OK, so if I don't really like yo-yos...why am I talking about them? Well, there's one lady who does the most fantastic yo-yos! I lust after her work with yo-yos. Actually, I lust after a lot of her pieces. Today, I helped hang the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network's show at Glen Helen Environmental Education Center in Yellow Springs, OH. Lori entered a fantastic piece which she illustrated on her blog, Laughing Girl Quilts. You MUST look at this. In fact, if I weren't more ethical, I'd swipe her photo and show it to you here...but go see this...then come back and read this.
This brought to mind the yo-yo quilt I am showing here. Myra Fields made this quilt in 2009 using over 200 different fabrics. She made 850 yoyos. Myra wrote: "This is an easy quilt to make but soooooo (sic) time consuming. I vowed never to make another; however, but both of my daughters asked for this quilt, so now I'm making another one!"
Also known as "Suffolk Puffs", these quilts were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. This is an unusual example because it is indeed a quilt. There are sections of the piece which are composed of three layers held together with stitching. This is called a "Boston Common" set, because it is set out in rectangles as the traditional pieced Boston Common quilt is. Usually, a yo-yo quilt is not truly a quilt because the rosettes are sewn to each other and then sewn down on a sheet or solid piece of fabric, or just left "holey."
Lori said that making them was time consuming but addictive. Making yo-yos is a little easier as Clover came out with some yo-yo making templates to make from very small yo-yos up to very large yo-yos. They even come in specialty shapes to make hearts, clovers, butterflies, flowers and ovals. I've even been making some to serve as centers on a quilt I am making for my mom.
I'll leave you with one other piece employing yo-yos. I don't think that this belongs to Beth Ann Miller, I think she was holding it up for someone else, but it was made by a member of the Batty Binder's quilt guild in Troy, OH. Yo-yos add extra texture and sometimes they are just the right thing....like in Lori's Wrack Line.