Tutorial: Making a Yo-Yo Necklace
If you complete a project based on this tutorial, I would love to see it posted it to my Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1309748@N20/
I recently was hooked up by Totally Tutorials with Ruby Jane’s Retro Fabrics to create a tutorial using Deb Strain’s Fresh fabrics for Moda.
When I was a kid, my maternal grandmother lived with us. Grandma was a Home Economics teacher and was a very, very crafty lady. We would have sewing lessons and cooking lessons and we did all sorts of arts and crafts projects. One of the early sewing projects she did with me was making a yo-yo quilt. Yo-yo quilts were very popular during Depression times because it was a way to use up your little scraps of fabric and create something really beautiful. As a seven or eight year old kid, I loved being able to do such a simple project and help Grandma work on one of her projects. As an adult, I find making the yo-yos to be a very satisfying, zen-like experience akin to knitting. Once you make your first one or two and get into the groove of it, you can quickly produce lots of pretty little yo-yos.
I wanted to do something different with my yo-yos, so I decided to piece them together to make a cool necklace. This tutorial will show you how to make the one pictured above.
(Find out how to win it at the end of this post!) (winner was announced on October 5th. Stay tuned for more giveaways!)
Let’s get started!
You will need:
fabric scraps or small quilting squares
needle and thread
fabric pen, pencil or chalk
jewelry design board
open jump rings
needle nose pliers for jewelry making
lobster claw or desired fastener
Thread your needle and tie a knot in the end. With the wrong side of your circle facing you, fold down the edge of the fabric about 1/8″ and push the needle through from wrong side to right side. Straight stitch all the way around your circle, folding a bit and adding a stitch all the way around the edge until you have stitched all the way around the circle and created a small hem. Do not backstitch or do anything fancy. You need a simple straight stitch because you will be ruffling your fabric.
It should look something like this, with your final stitch coming up from the right side to the wrong side, and ending up next to your first stitch. Don’t worry about it being perfect–imperfections will be lost in the ruffles and will actually create a more interesting final yo-yo.
It should look like a pouch, with the right side visble and the wrong side inside the pouch. Tie a knot firmly, but gently enough so as not to break the thread. Tie several knots (three or four) and snip off the extra thread.
Make enough yo-yos for your necklace and lay them out in your design. I liked the back of some of my yo-yos and thought it was nice to have a difference of texture in my design, so I flipped over a few of my yo-yos. I also wanted an asymmetrical design so I placed my two larger yo-yos to the left of the center. Play with it until it looks just the way you like, and add more or take away some yo-yos if you need to in order to make a design that works for you.
There are several ways that you can join your yo-yos together. You could place the right sides of two yo-yos together and do a simple whip stitch to join them, or you could push a metal jump ring through two yo-yos to join them. For this necklace I used embroidery thread and knotted the yo-yos. To do that:
Cut a length of embroidery thread long enough to weave through your entire design. Thread your needle and tie a knot in the end. Going through the center of your first yo-yo (in this case I started with my top left yo-yo) sew through from the inside to the outside and pull until the thread stops and the knot is flush against the inside of the fabric.
Sew through your next yo-yo as though it was a bead, going in one end and coming out the other. You will not necessarily go straight in one side and out the other! Look at your design–you want to poke holes at the points where the yo-yos touch. If it makes it easier, use your fabric marker to make a tiny mark where you should sew the thread through.
Take care not to poke through your fabric somewhere in the middle. If you “puff” up your yo-yo a bit to make threading it easier, make sure that you flatten the yo-yo as much as you can before tying your next knot. You want the knots flush up against each side of a yo-yo without bunching the fabric or leaving any gaps.
You can also add beads to the center of some of your yo-yos. Simply go in one end with your needle, then thread through your bead and then out the other side. Settle the bead neatly in the center of the yo-yo, tighten your thread, and make a knot.
When you have placed all of your knots and stitched together all of your yo-yos, finish off by going in through your last yo-yo and instead of going all the way through to the other side, make a tiny stitch just inside one of the center ruffles. Tie a knot and tuck it into the yo-yo. Depending on your design, you may have to tie off the thread at several points and then start again with a new thread. For this piece, I first threaded together all of the top row of yo-yos (the top six yo-os), then I threaded together the bottom three yo-yos and attached them to the top row.
It is important that your yo-yos are anchored together at at least two points. Yo-yos that only have one piece of thread running through them will flip around. You can either add more knots, or you can whip stitch a second anchor point on the yo-yos that only have one knot attaching them to another yo-yo. To do this, fold your yo-yos with the right sides facing each other and make a small stitch very close to the top and next to the existing knot. Tie a double knot and snip off the excess thread.
Center your piece on a bead design board. For a 16″ necklace, lay out your chain from the edge of your piece to the 8″ mark and cut with wire cutters. Remember to always turn your head away and shut your eyes when you cut chain because little sharp metal bits will go flying! Cut a second piece of chain for th opposite side.
Attach your chain to your yo-yo piece using an open metal jump ring. Please review instruction on how to properly open a jump ring here: click!
Push your jump ring through the yo-yo, then attach your chain and close the jump ring. Do the same on the other side of your yo-yo piece.
You’re all done! Put the necklace on and be admired by frends and strangers who will gasp when you say, “Oh, I made it myself! It was nothing, really!”
Remember to check out Ruby Jane’s for this line and other lines of beautiful fabrics to make your own yo-yo necklace. One of Moda’s Charm Packs would be perfect for this project.
And, hey, if you don’t want to make it yourself, I’ve decided to make this necklace my next giveaway! I recently hit the 100-fan mark on Facebook (just need 900 more to reach my goal!) Only Facebook Fans will be eligible for this giveaway, so if you haven’t done it yet, join my Fan Page for a chance to win this necklace.(winner was announced on October 5th. Stay tuned for more giveaways!)
Entered in the Sew, Mama, Sew! October Scrap Buster’s Contest