Thursday, July 7, 2011

complete at last: 1967-2011

 detail of yo-yos attached with red threads
It began with a trip to Bridgeport, Connecticut with my family to see some of my parents college friends in 1967. Brad and Winnie Day had no children and a house full of antiques and were hosting us for a couple nights visit. At twelve I was supremely impressed  that my bed was covered in a hand made cover that was antique like the spool frame bed I was getting to sleep in all by myself. Winnie asked me to let her remove the antique quilt before I went to sleep, leading to a discussion about the colorful cover. We sat and looked at the tiny circles of fabric and she told us she bought it for $10 at a garage sale somewhere in Conn. but it was a little fragile and she liked to fold it up and lay it on the quilt stand at night. She thought it was a top to a Quilt someone didn't complete but she liked it this way as it to let the white bedspread show through the numerous colored circles. I remember liking that we could see the backs of the "yo-yos" to study  the print designs of the old fabrics that were a little difficult to see on the gathered side of the yo-yos. If this quilt top had been attached to a backing we wouldn't be able to see those old prints. I realized after close inspection that I knew how to make these yo-yos from some sewing I had done with my Grandmother Sallie Nunley. Cutting out small circles which were gathered up to make a little purse or a hat for a barbie doll. So I determined that weekend  I could make a yo-yo cover much like Winnie's when I got home.

I had a lot of trouble getting the project to move forward as a kid but I kept trying. Mom helped by keeping it together in the closet when I lost energy to work on the yo-yos and knowing right where it was stored when I asked about getting back to work on "my yo-yo quilt". Eventually after years of neglect and half hearted attempts to get the yo-yos completed, I decided it was time to put this project on full speed ahead if it was ever going to have a happy ending. About three years later...

circles cut, needle threaded, and a bag full of finished yo-yo pieces 

Fast forward to July 3rd, 2011 evening comes, and I am sitting in my big chair watching TV news or something and stitching together my last row 1.400 yo-yos in the cover which is 40 yo-yos long and 35 yo-yos wide. It is such a pleasure to have it done but now I miss making those little circles a bit. I have never seen a finished antique yo-yo quilt at any of the Quilt shows we have attended. I hope some day, maybe I will show mine.  I wonder if I can sleep under the heavy weight of this cover? Will I need to fold it up each night like Winnie did?

Now I am feeling ready to go back to the other quilting project I started in 1999 the Crazy Quilt. I will wait until this fall, once it gets colder and I feel like sitting under it's layers to connect the squares that are mostly completed and finish the embroidery over the seams. I love these fabric projects because I like to remember the people associated with all the fabrics, those in my past and present life. I also like the fun it is to stitch something by hand. Color with lots of memories and craft to hold it all together makes it all worth my while.

1 comment:

june said...

40 years? Wow.

It's so colorful and fun. Love it!