Monday, July 22, 2013

I just met you and this is crazy - repairing the yo yo quilt

This is what the yo yo quilt looked like when I bought it in an Iowa field in early May.

I decided right away it was a good project because I could haul it around with me and work on it in short spurts.

I spent most of the spring in the backyard with the kids piecing it back together, one yo yo and one broken thread at a time. Because I was short about 15 yo yo's I made the decision to remove one row along one of the edges. That is the ONLY change I made to the original maker's design. I did not correct any of her choices (in some places two of the same fabrics are next to each other).
 It was the perfect project for that part of my life. I was piecing back together her work and piecing back together bits of my own life after the troubles of the past few months. It reminded me that even though I was feeling very broken everything can be put back together with time and patience and some skill.
 I finished it about two weeks ago. It took me another two weeks to decide how to wash it.

 I laid it on a big tarp on a slightly inclined section of our yard and took the hose to it.
 The water that came off it was really brown, erasing any doubts I had about whether or not I should have actually attempted to clean the thing.

 I tried to choose a pretty warm, but not sunny day. I did not want sun fade. But it kept sprinkling rain and a cool front came through.

I ended up rolling it up in the tarp and moving it to the cover of the porch and putting a fan on it.

When dark came and it still wasn't dry we rolled it up again and put it in the living room with the fan.
 I have two or three more threads that broke from washing, but overall it brightened up the colors, removed the smell (mostly, I didn't use soap) and made the yo yo's lay much, much flatter with no ironing.

What you cannot tell is just how huge this beast is. I live in a big ranch house and there was no where to easy lay it out flat. It didn't fit on my huge porch either. Above it is hanging on an 8 foot wide drive gate. With easily a foot hanging over the backside and another foot and a half puddled on the ground.

 The different amount of fabrics in this thing is staggering. I counted the yo yo's and I think there are around 1500 of them. There must be 200 different fabrics at least.
A true scrap project (some have seams in them from being from clothing remnants, etc).

And a true labor of love - for both her and I.


  1. That is an amazing accomplishment. I cannot believe the amount of work that goes into quilting. You definitely brought that beauty back to her original glory.

    Love Sam's outfit. That girl cracks me up:-)


  2. Love your little supervisor there.
    The quilt looks fantastic. I've been wanting to hear how the cleaning went - glad to hear your idea worked well!

  3. Amazing!!! I love that you took the time to repair it. It looks great. I hope it will bring you many smiles over the years. Well done!

  4. Anonymous3:25 PM

    Wow. Somewhere there's a very happy lady, looking down on that finished quilt. I love yo-yo quilts!

  5. Beautiful! I'm almost inspired to make one myself!

  6. Wow Sarah! That's amazing. What a sweetie you are to save that quilt. Too bad there isn't some way to know who originally made all those yoyos. The two of you do great work!

  7. You did a beautiful job.

  8. Anonymous7:36 AM

    Color love! The healing process of fixing something over a long time works this post.

  9. I've gotta hand it to've got the patience of a saint! You should be very pleased with yourself. I started a yo-you quilt probably 15 years ago, and it's still not finished. I kept adding different fabrics and thought it might look kinda crazy, but you've inspired me to drag it out again and finally finish it. Although by looking at the size of yours, when do you actually decide that BIG is big enough?!?

  10. Awesome job!! It looks beautiful. You need to add a tag somewhere on it stating your name and how you repaired it with the date.


  11. Omigosh, you did a wonderful job! The quilt is a gem, quite worth the time you put into it. I admire your work!

  12. That. Is. STUNNING.


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