Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yo-yo assembly line

On these colder days I spend more time inside the house doing handwork than out in the studio sewing on my machine. Debbie Babin heads a Yahoo group, Studio Quilts-Goldilocks and Friends, and on there I mentioned an idea for making Christmas ornaments out of my stash of yo-yos (why am I making these things?), and she suggested a yo-yo ornament swap. Just what I need to do when I have all these other design ideas in my head, but I am interested, nevertheless. Now, of course, none of my previously made yo-yos are holidayish, so I am making more yo-yos with Christmas fabric.

I use two different sizes of the Clover Yo-Yo Makers (no affilation, etc.), and I find that, over all, they are faster for me than using a cardboard template, though the stitching step is slower, because you can't weave your needle in and out of the fabric while it's in the Maker. It's just needle-in-pull and needle-out-pull, or needle-down-pull and needle-up-pull, over and over. I suppose one could use the Maker to cut the circles, and since the two plastic layers mark a slight fold around the edge of the fabric, the fold could be finger pressed while stitching or iron pressed before stitching. I'll have to experiment. Laziness is the mother of efficiency.

Here are the steps I've been following for making a pile of yo-yos relatively quickly:
  1. Followed Yo-yo Maker directions for making the circle.
  2. Threaded a dozen needles and stitched a pile of yo-yos, keeping the needle with each yo-yo, because I still have to gather and knot the threads after pressing.
  3. Pressed all the yo-yos flat (makes gathering easier). I also noticed that using thinner fabrics makes the gathering easier. I like to press them all at once, so as not to have the iron on all the time.
  4. Gathered them, re-knotted the threads on the needles for the next set of yo-yos. After awhile, if your thread length has been on the long side, the thread starts unwinding its twist or may start knotting. At that point I discard it and re-thread the needle. Slightly stronger thread than usual is a good idea.
Now I've got to do some experimentation for making the ornaments. My plan is to attach 2 yo-yos to each other, back to back, somewhere along the line embellishing them with beads, etc.

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