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Quilting by Hand: Yo-Yo Quilts

Often seen as embellishments quilts, clothing or home decor, yo-yos resemble fabric flowers with their round shape and gathered center. For the truly ambitious quilter, an entire quilt made of yo-yos can be a satisfying heirloom project!

Made from fabric circles, the yo-yo quilt is a perfect project for sewing with scraps and taking along wherever you might go, as a hand-sewing project. In order to get started, you’ll just want to select your circle size and revisit how to sew a yo-yo. The finished yo-yos can then be joined together at four sides to make a yo-yo quilt or coverlet, or appliquéd on an existing quilt for a pop of added texture. Here are a few inspirational yo-yo quilts we love.

yo yo quilt

Sewn by hand, yo-yo quilts can be time-consuming projects. Audrey of Audrey Pawdrey, for instance, started this yo-yo quilt in 2003 and finished the piece eight years later, in 2011! She worked on the quilt on long car rides over the years and packed it up to take with her when she got married and moved across the country several times. The final quilt is 90” square and contains 3,156 yo-yos!

yo yo pillows

Before attempting a full-size yo-yo quilt, you might want to embellish a pillow cover. This Yo-Yo Pillows tutorial from Kalleen of At Second Street shows just how elegant all-white yo-yos can look against a neutral fabric background. Her timesaving tip is to cut fabric circles quickly and accurately with a die-cutting machine like the Accuquilt GO! Baby. She also uses yo-yos to embellish clothing.

yo yo mini quilo
Mini quilts are also a great place to experiment with sewing yo-yos. This Yo-Yo Wallhanging by Paique uses all solid fabrics to form the shape of a heart. The yo-yos are hand-sewn together along the edges, which was the perfect project keep her busy while riding in the car from Alaska to North Carolina.

yo yo pillows

Another take on the yo-yo mini quilt is this Yo-Yo Pillow, by Tania Willis for Fiskars. Decorated with bright and colorful fabric yo-yos and buttons, this pillow cover has 25 yo-yos in a grid that are spaced about a half-inch apart. Rather than sewing the yo-yos with thread, Tania uses embroidery floss and attached the buttons to the flowers in the same step.

yo yo american flag

A yo-yo quilt at her neighbor’s house inspired the Yo-Yo American Flag by carolthep57618. After seeing the quilt, a family heirloom, she knew she had to give it a try. Piecing together red, white and blue yo-yos for this quilt was a great hand-sewing project for those times when she had to wait around.

flowers yo yo quilt

Although desna’s 3-D Flowers Quilt is not technically a yo-yo quilt, she did use a Clover Yo-Yo maker to hand-sew the flowers. This play-mat sized quilt was a gift for her 5-month old granddaughter, to encourage her to explore and touch the dimensional flowers. She made the quilt using this pattern.

pieceful life yo yo quilt

Elizabeth of Pieceful Life created a Yo-Yo Mini Quilt that she hand-stitched with variegated crochet thread. A yo-yo quilt in a magazine inspired this project, for which she too used the Clover yo-yo maker. The yo-yos are spaced out and sewn to the quilt sandwich in rows.

Have you ever tried making a yo-yo quilt? What’s your favorite project to sew by hand?

In case you missed it yesterday discover patterns for curved piecing. Come back to the Bluprint blog tomorrow to learn about the infamous Farmer’s Wife quilt.


lyn crain

3,156 yo-yo’s I cannot imagine working on something 8 years! That looks amazing! You are to be congratulated Audrey Pawdrey!

Coty Cazon

Me encantan sus trabajos.


absolutely beautiful, wondered what to do with all the yo yos I made, great ideas


I’ve made over 400 yo-yos so far in the last year. I sew a few every evening.

Eileen McDonaugh

Love the quilt! I think I have enough finished yoyos to finish a quilt!

JoAnn Coviello

I was given a yo-yo quilt top. It is loosely basted to a cotton fabric. How should it be quilted? Hand quilting the only way? Suggestions please.


My question is along the lines of the one above. I have a full sized yo-yo quilt top that I want to turn into a wall hanging. Can I machine sew it to muslin through the middle of the yo-yo’s every 6 rows and columns? Will it be too heavy? I’m hoping not to have to hand sew every yo-yo. I’m having difficulty finding my chances of success with this method, as I can’t find anyone online who has tried this!

Merlene Kingrey

I have made yo yo’s for about 15 years I make bedspreads and do not put anything underneath. The sheet or blanket on your bed show through and that is all that you need. My bed is high so I used a skirt around the bed and put two rows of yo yo’s on it. It looks beautiful on the bed. I close my yo yo’s unless you want to put a bead or a button with a shank on them. Hope this helps.


This is a wonderful site for me learning the yo yo technique. I’m old BUT not too old to learn. Thanks for this site.

beth mccoy

just made my first four yo yos. Thanks for info on your site. Planning to make an accent pillow for my friend. Thinking of adding buttons in the centers as a nice design element. Very relaxing to sew while keeping company with family during tv time. More ideas?


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