Stitching in time

Somewhere in the deep storage of memories, I remember a quilt – 2 in fact. I guess they were really just coverlets, no batting for warmth. But they brought a comfort, coming out of the depths of the old sofa bed storage whenever one of us was sick and the couch became our daybed.

One was made of squares of shirting fabric embroidered with simple designs that I recognized from Christmas cookie cutters: circles, diamonds, hearts, flowers, Scottie dogs… block letters spelled a child’s name.

vintage quilt

The other quilt was made of circles of the same kind of fabric gathered into tight little bunches – “yo-yos” I now know. A few found in an old sewing box many years later stirred the memory and a small piece was born from my scrap box and needle.

yo-yo 1

Slightly larger circles by the dozens have taken shape in waiting times and places and fill a large basket.

yo-yo 2

Recently, in this lovely book by Jane Brocket, I saw much larger yo-yos or as she calls them, Suffolk Puffs. I made a template and gathered some fabrics.

yo-yo 3

I am so pleased by the varied appearance the different sized puffs produce and especially these large ones. I enjoy the repetitive, simple stitching in waiting times and long rides. No expertise with a needle is required for this project. Jane gives directions in her book, but if you just happen to have a circle of fabric and needle and thread handy and want to give it a try, Heather Bailey has a lovely tutorial on her blog.

A few months ago, I sat stitching, keeping busy, keeping calm in a hospital waiting room with incessant TV. From time to time, I would look up and see someone’s eyes fastened on my work. I wondered if it was just something to focus on beside the screen or if somehow memories of quilts known or hands sewing were being stirred and offered some comfort to the anxious waiting there.

A quick search of Pinterest + yo-yos will show you an amazing amount of creativity springing from such a simple craft.