Thursday, June 13, 2013

Using the Yo Yo Maker with a Charm Square Tutorial

This post goes along with my post today over at Clover and Violet  for the a Season by Hand Series.

It is part of a two post series of tutorials. In this post I will share how to use the Large Clover Yo-Yo Maker with a charm square. Saving as much fabric as possible.  

Then tomorrow I will show you how to make the mini quilt for yourself. 

First you will need some supplies. 

To make the Yo Yos you will need:
The Large Clover Yo-Yo Maker
Charm Squares - at 23 if you are planning on making the mini quilt. I used a Joel Dewberry Notting Hill Charm Pack
Quilting weight thread - I used Superior Threads King Tut for mine 
Needle - I used John James Quilting Needles- Size 9
Needle Threader - I used Clover Desk Needle Threader
Scissors - Mine are OLFA  Scissors

All of these can nicely be packed up in a lovely little pouch to carry with you where ever you need to go.

The Clover Yo-Yo Maker makes it really easy to make your yo yo. First you need to start by tying a knot on your thread. I found that make the best size knot for this project is a quilter's knot that is made by wrapping the thread around the needle 4 times in a clockwise direction and then pushing the wrapped thread down the needle and all the way down thread until it makes a knot.

Now it is time to get your Clover Yo-Yo Maker ready. It has  two parts.

Your going to place your charm square right side down into the translucent piece of the Clover Yo-Yo Maker. Then put the other piece on top so you can see the writing on it. If it doesn't pop into place just re-position it until it easy pops down. Notice how I made one corner really short and left a little bit over a 1/8 of an inch on two sides. I went for closer to but not quite 1/4 inch, because it was easier for me. By doing this you save as much of the fabric as possible (I will get back to this later) If that isn't important to you then you can just center the square in the circle.

Next you cut down the sides. The directions say 1/8 to 3/8 inch.  These don't have to be perfect but I recommend greater than 1/8. Since I am not perfect about eye balling something like that and I pretty much know what a quarter inch looks like I just aimed for smaller than a quarter inch.

But you do want to be kind of careful to make sure it enough because when you are doing the next steps you are going to need enough room to hold down the fabric easily.

Once your yo yo maker is all set up you start on the top side with the opaque circle where you can see the lines and the wording. You slide your needle though one of the double openings. It is best to start next to a single opening just so you have a good idea when you are going to need to stop.

Then flip your yo you maker over so the transparent ring in on top. This is the side you will mostly work from. Pull your needle the rest of the way through and give your thread a little tug to embed the thread in the fabric. Not too hard though. Or it will pop out the other side. Not that I did something like that too many times to really count.

Now your just going to go in and out with your needle on the double hole spaces. Skipping the single hole spaces. Just keep going... back and forth... back and forth... you get the idea.

Now here are some of the things to avoid... These mishaps may happen when...  lets say when a good part comes on the show you are watching... or the dogs start barking... or husband starts asking you questions... you know any of those things that distract you from the task you are really interested in.

You don't wrap the thread around the yo yo maker.

You don't go from one hole to the other on the transparent side.

You don't miss your fabric, because you forgot to hold it down or something like that. 

Now if you didn't make any of those mistakes and you are finally back to the place where you started you are going to place your needle right next to (not on or through) the knot. Continue that stitch so the needle ends back on the opaque side. Do not pull your needle out. We aren't done with it yet.

Then press through the little hole and pop out your opaque piece with your soon to be yo yo attached.

It should all look like this. See the nice looking evenly spaced stitches. Perfect! We are almost there.

Just pop out the circle. Just pull one side off then lift the yo yo maker off.

Grab on to the needle a gently pull. This is why it is important to have a little bit thicker thread. After all that work we just did, we don't want the thread to break when we pull it to make the yo yo. If it does however, you will be happy that you make you sides a little bigger than 1/8, because you are going to have start all over. But that isn't going to happen.. hopefully.. so lets continue. Gently pull the thread. 

I found it easiest to adjust if I put my fingers in the yo yo as I pulled it tight. Sometimes you may need to easy them into looking their best. (Now where did that random piece of green come from.. oh well..)

Just keep pulling and adjusting until it is nice and tight and looks like the yo yo you want.

Then you are going to make the same quilter's knot we did before, but this time wrap the thread around the needle really close to the yo yo. You are trying to keep your knot as close to the yo yo as you can. So just go slow and gently.

Finally hide the knot by gently pulling it through one of the pleats.

TA DA! One yo yo down... many many more to go.

Now  I bet you might be wondering about that funky ring of fabric you get from doing your yo yo this way. So here is the thing... if you cut down the charm square to the size square the directions suggest you end up with two very thin slices of unusable fabric. Where as my method you can get up to three triangles.

All you do is line the fabric up with your 45 degree line on your ruler and move the ruler over as far as you can and still have a straight edge. The cut. You will end up with one good sized triangle and two smaller ones.

This might not be the most ideal way of saying some fabric, but you could make something with half square triangles, or wonky stars. or something like UP UP and AWAY from Sunday Morning Quilts
. Just a couple ideas and at least you would get more than one use out of that charm pack of yours.

sunday morning quilts bee up up and away for Fiona

Tomorrow I will share the second part of this tutorial for the directions to make the mini quilt. 

By the way this is not a sponsored post by any product.  These are all my own opinions. I just wanted to share with you the tips that I figured out while using this product. Additionally the links to amazon are my affiliate  account, it has a very minor percent back if you purchase so much and I have never hit the targeted amount to ever receive any compensation for linking to amazon. I just use it because it is the easiest way to show you what I am talking about and you don't have to search for random tools and products and hope they were what I was really talking about :) 

OK done with the fine print. See you back tomorrow for the mini quilt. 


  1. This is a great tutorial with excellent photographs. The warnings of what not to do are also helpful. Thanks!

  2. I love these Yo-Yo makers and it's just a wonderful item to have on hand to keep hands busy when you have a few mintues in line, etc. Can't wait for tomorrow's post to see how you attach them to your quilt/wall hanging. I usually attach thru the center as a decorations but want to use them on other items. Thanks for sharing.

  3. those clover yo yo makers are the only way I will make yo yos now. love your little quilt.

  4. It's been a long time since I have made yo-yo's and that was cutting circles by hand. This looks oh so much easier!! Going to have to find myself one of the Clover gadgets on my next sewing trip. Thanks for the tips!

  5. This is so timely for me, Jenniffier! I'm working on a red/white yo-yo quilt using the large yo-yo maker! Your directions are much clearer to me that what was included with it! Thanks!


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Thanks for visiting, Jenn