Thursday, May 24, 2012

FSO: Made by hand - YoYo quilting

My secondary school teachers, Mr. Johnson and Miss Mamora. At the right is me, you see my very beautiful Sarawak beads. (Photo taken in Dec 1999)

Making rosettes or “Yo-Yo” . A pair of very sharp scissors, a round shape like a can or CD disc to make your template. Trace out circles on fabric. Fold over/hem at the edge and make neat tiny running stitch to the entire edge. Gentle pull the thread to form gathers. You should get a round rosette. To the Chinese, you will think they look like Cha Siew Bao or Chinese roast buns.

When you have enough discs, join them side by side to get strips and lastly join the strips so each disc is attached at four ends.


I added a pair of reading glasses. When you reach half a century, you need glasses to make neat dainty stitches.



make tiny running stitch round the fabric before you pull the thread to make gathers.
Cut disc left, rosette right, the rosette is less than half the diameter.
Choose a not too stiff material. My friend's top was made with silk cotton. If you look at the red discs, the hole in the centre is too big. No good for quilts, but ok for making toys. The lime green and purple material is soft, so the gathering is done beautifully and the hole is very small. For the bigger disc, I made lace disc to cover the big hole. You can also make lace discs and use them to make hair accessories. These ones are experimental ones, it was more than 25 years ago when I last made them to make a clown.

  I have been wanting to make these discs since Christmas. My colleague wore this top to our Christmas function. At the collar of her top, were these disc. It brought me back to my childhood. Known in USA as yo-yo quilting or Japanese Fabric embroidery.


I dedicate this post to my domestic Science teacher Miss Ada Mamora.( The woman in the photo, taken with my British teacher Mr. Johnson during my 28th reunion of our fifth formers in 1999. )It was 26 year since I saw my teachers as I finished my form 6 in Methodist school in Sibu.

Miss Mamora taught me domestic science when I was 13. She taught me to make things made by hand.  We did fabric dying, cross stitch and others I couldn't name or forgotten. She didn't teach me the above Japanese fabric embroidery. She taught my older sister, and I learn it from her. My sister made a clown in school. In 1985 I made one for my first baby who is now my 27th year old daughter.  It was one of it's kind and I was very proud of it. I had friends from all over the world and they had never seen something like that.

Going back to my colleague's top, I told her, I know how to make the discs. She was surprised because she had never heard anyone making them. Earlier this year, a student was wearing a dress with a few of these on the front of her dress. I was more determined to make it as I couldn't explain to my friends from Germany, England and Fiji. 

I asked my second daughter if she like a quilt made with these discs, since I had made a quilt for big daughter, and a cross stitch picture for my son.  It doesn't take a lot of time to make one disc, but it takes very meticulous and nimble fingers to make them, I will let you know if I do finish the quilt. You need to make thousands and thousands of these discs. So I am not very hopeful. Yo-yo quilts were very popular in the 1930′s and 1940′s.

If you have made something with these discs, I shall love to hear from you.

Friday My Town Shoot Out for 5/26: Made by Hand



link to Mr Linky at the Friday shoot out link below.

10 comments:

Jama said...

My mom used to do a lot of these discs, and I used to help her . A few years ago, I did the disc again, to get rid of some remnant of material, and ended up making a few table runners.

Rebecca said...

I have a quilt made of discs. It was made by my husband's grandmother. So much time!!

MizzKay said...

I'd not heard of these quilting discs before, thank you for a fascinating post.

Ginny said...

Gosh, these would be fun to make, and so versatile, can be used for many things. I would love to see the top!!

Pauline Woodcock said...

That was a good tutorial, Ann. I remember my grandmother making those discs but can't remember what she used them for.

shabby girl said...

So much work to come up with enough of them to actually make something. I have quilted, so I get it, but this may be beyond me. :)

eileeninmd said...

hi Ann, I am not familiar with quilting at all, but I enjoyed your post. Have a great weekend!

GingerV said...

I am clapping my hands in delite.

I have seen these (or simular) made into a clown. Now I will buy it if I ever see it again - now that I know how much work it was. I am imagining a quilt made with flannel - what a great wrap for the legs while reading. and could you use lace - for insets on blouses. I admire anyone that can make 'little' things, I would need a magnafying glass. I have forwarded to a blogger friend who is making quilts.

~JarieLyn~ said...

Ann, this is very intriguing. I have never heard of these discs before but they look like they would make beautiful quilts. Great lesson you have just taught us. I love this post. Thanks for sharing.

Bagman and Butler said...

Wonderful, instructional -- I almost thought I might do one -- using a can to make a circle was something I thought I could do. But then I saw something about making a tiny running stitch and pulling gathers and realized I was way out of my league.