Are Yo-Yo Tops Really Quilts?

All quilts are not created equal.

The first time I saw a picture of a Yo-Yo quilt I didn’t quite understand it. It didn’t look like any quilt I’d seen before. It had holes in it.

Okay. To be fair they weren’t “holes” they were spaces not filled in with fabric.  Still, they looked like holes to me and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would make a quilt top that, when finished would have the batting sticking out.

A Yo-yo top is a collection of gathered circles sewn together. While they can be sewn into a pattern, most y0-yos are a lighter version of the patchwork quilt.

A completed YoYo quilt from 2 sisters quilting. The green showing through between the circles (yo-yos) is the background of whatever the quilt is on.

The description I read at the time said these “quilts” were for summer, and topped a colored sheet. At the time, it just looked like an unfinished quilt to me. I’ve since learned more about them and appreciate them for their time and beauty.

While they are not quilts, there is only the one layer, possibly  two if the top is stitched to a backing. They are beautiful, and have their own stories just as their “real” quilt sisters.

I wonder if a yo-yo top wasn’t someone’s idea of a pretty, light weight top similar to a crocheted bedspread, or tablecloth. Maybe the first yo-yo maker couldn’t afford all the thread to crochet a pretty top. Maybe she didn’t know how to crochet, but she wanted something light-weight, and airy for  summer.

Just imagine a woman looking at her pile of scraps and her naked table, or a heavy quilt on her bed in the heat of the summer. She could sew, but really didn’t want a “quilt” to dress her table, and she wanted/needed something lightweight for her bed.

She began to experiment, after all isn’t that how we get most of our patterns, experimenting?  Maybe she had made the yo-yos before as a decoration.

Now, however, she sews them together and before long, viola! A pretty, airy table covering, or bed topper.

The sheet that served as cover for the hot Oklahoma nights could be made prettier by topping it with the yo-yo top.

Now, I don’t really know how a yo-yo top came into being, why or how they were first used. I do know they are beautiful, and perfect for someone who loves to do handwork. That wouldn’t be me. I’ll just enjoy the yo-yo tops others make.

What about you? Do you have a yo-yo top? Have you ever made one?

This post was for the letter Y in the A to Z blogging challenge. Tomorrow is the last day of the month and, of course, Z will be the letter of the day. Hope you’ve enjoyed some of the many blogs who joined the challenge.




3 thoughts on “Are Yo-Yo Tops Really Quilts?

  1. Pingback: Searching for Miss Right. | Dina's Daily

  2. versana

    Yo yo quilts (?) are truly beautiful. I never really thought of them as quilts rather considered them fabric “lace”. Most of the yoyo quilts I’ve seen were just the yo yos . Hmmm, never considered as a real quilt unless they were a layer of the quilt sandwich. the yo yos would be considered embellishments! Lol!

  3. Sue

    I used to feel the same way about a yo yo quilt and have also grown to love them! I bought myself a yo yo maker and when I have a small square of leftover fabric, I’ll make a yo yo. One day I will have enough to make a quilt. I love looking at them…so many colours and so many memories!


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