Yo-Yos and Couching: Two Easy-to-Do Embellishment Techniquescomments (12) August 8th, 2008
There are actually four elements to this project: machine quilting, couching, fabric yo-yos, and beads. I used them to embellish a simple little clutch, but they would be at home on almost any project. Today I'll show you how to make the yo-yos and couch the yarn. But first let me take a minute to talk a bit about selecting materials.
Fabric selection sets the tone.
Although yo-yos obviously use very small amounts of fabric, you'll want to chose a palette of colors that provides some interest yet works to form a cohesive piece. I have a pretty good stash of dupioni silk in lots of colors, as well as other textured silks, and I recommend keeping some of these fabrics on hand. Dupioni takes dye well and, whether you prefer brights, iridescents, or more muted shades, it's a great fabric for large and small detail. For my clutch, I chose some earth tones and one or two jewel tones for accent. The colors are muted, but the fabrics have a soft sheen that matches the quality of the ottoman file fabric that I used as a base. The yarn is variegated hand-dyed pearl cotton that makes subtle shade changes as it meanders through the piece. The quilting thread is also variegated. The pearl beads mirror the color of the file and give the yo-yos a finishing touch.
So let's make some yo-yos.
These little rosettes were popular in the '70s ("Hippie" style, if you're into that), and back in the '20s they showed up in quilts. I love their retro quality, but I have to admit, I've never liked making them until I discovered the Clover Yo-Yo Maker at the last quilt show I attended. Turning under curved edges on a small shape is a pain, but this tool makes it a snap.
To make yo-yos the old-fashioned way, you have to cut out a bunch of uniform circles, turn under the edge, sew along the fold with long running stitches, then pull up the stitches so the fold comes together in the center.
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