I bet you thought a yo-yo was just a plastic “object consisting of an axle connected to two disks, with a length of twine looped around the axle, similar to a slender spool.”(Wikipedia) You would have been right, that is, up until Road this past January. Because that is where you would have experienced the quilted kind of yo-yo as displayed in Helen Remick’s exhibit, YoYo Quilts.
What exactly is a traditional fabric yo-yo? A circle, folded under a ¼” with a running stitch made along the edge, and which is gathered to create the yo-yo design. Helen, from Seattle, Washington, has spent the past five years experimenting with different yo-yo patterns. Her stitching with her first fabric yo-yo’s wasn’t that perfect. They often came out too small and you could see through the fabric. It took some practice. She improvised and played around with not only circle shapes but ovals, squares, and triangles too, both opened and closed. She even makes half yo-yo’s. Using flexible plastic helps the fabric keep its unusual shapes. Helen also likes to play with different color combinations. In addition to using traditional single fabrics, she has made yo-yo’s using sheer fabrics and then putting a print in the middle.
Helen started designing yo-yo quilts because, “Quilts don’t have to be just three layers.” She sews a pieced quilt top first, tacking the yo-yo’s on top. Often, her quilts are inspired by the names of yo-yo tricks. Some of her most popular designs use the yo-yo’s to create flower designs, patterned after Islamic mosaics. These flowers can have four, five, seven, or eight petals.
Curating the Yo Yo Quilt Exhibit was the first time Helen had all of her quilts assembled together. Helen found Road to California to be professional, well-organized, and a beautiful venue to show off her quilts. Road was delighted to preview this very unique style of quilting.
Have you ever tried to make a yo-yo?