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Yo Yo Quilting

“Non-quilting Quilt”

What is yo yo quilting?

This is a quilting motif that isn’t really a quilt.  Rosettes of fabric circles are bound together to make bedspreads that resemble doilies for tea time.  They usually have no batting or filling in them and backing doesn’t need to be used.

The fabric is arranged in such a way as to mimic thin light batting.

It was a popular style during the great depression period of the 1920’s through 1940’s.  This method of using fabric was an easy way to utilizes scraps.

This is the perfect on-the-go quilting project as the circle rosettes are made by hand and no filling is needed.

How do you use this method?

We’ll go over the basics of making a yo-yo circle rosette and two different methods of making this kind of quilt for your home.

The Circle Rosette

Some ingredients that you need to make the rosettes are:

  • Fabric
  • Compass
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard or template plastic that is at least 6 ½ inches square

You can replace the cardboard with a circular pattern of your choosing.  For instance if you have limited supplies, a big round bowl or large pot from the kitchen will work nicely.  Just make sure the diameter is twice as big as your desired yo-yo. J

These are the steps to make your yo-yo circles:

  • Set your compass to 3 inches.  This will create a 6 inch circle.
  • Draw the circle on the cardboard or template plastic with the compass.
  • Cut out your template.
  • Use your template on your desired fabric/s.  You can put the circles as close together as you can without actually touching each other.
  • Cut out your fabric circles.
  • Fold the ¼ grace on the outer edge of your fabric circles making wrong sides touch each other.

You can do this as you sew!


  • Thread a needle.  Match the ends of your thread and tie them together to make a double strand.
  • Sew a running stitch around in the ¼ inch grace to make your seam.
  • Gather the edge of your circle by pulling on the thread with your needle.
  • Once done, knot your thread and snip.

You now have a completed yo-yo circle rosette.

1st Quilt Method “The Top

First make all the yo-yo circles you need for your finished quilt.

We will then begin on assembling your quilt or yo yo quilting top.

Start by flattening your rosettes.

Place two circles side by side and whipstitch them into place.

Do this to complete your first and second row.

Then place the rows side by side and whipstitch each place that the circles touch.

Continue this method with each of your rows to complete your quilt.

2nd Quilt Method “Whole Quilt

Ok, you completed the method from the previous steps, but you feel like the project is unfinished because it has no backing.

Never fear.  The first method is for a lighter decorative project.  This method is for more of a functional quilt.

First assemble the backing you wish.  This works best if you can’t tell the wrong side of the fabric from the right side.

Place the backing on a large clean space.  A newly mopped or vacuumed for works well.

Layer your finished quilt from the first method on top of the backing.

Baste these two layers together.

Then tie quilt them into place.  This is usually done with yarn, but you can tie quilt however you prefer.

Bind the outer edges and your quilt is finished.

Wrap Up

That’s yo yo quilting in a nutshell.  Of course, these yo-yo rosettes can be used in other ways too.  You can make anything from handbags to throw pillows using these methods.  Your only limitation is your imagination.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

Color Block Quilts

› Yo Yo Quilting
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