In quilting, yo-yos are small medallions sewn from circles of gathered fabric. Fabric yo-yos peaked in popularity from the 1930s to 1950s, when makers made thousands of yo-yos and stitched them together to create openwork coverlets.
A Milwaukee Art Quilters member, Diana Dunaway, happened on a partially completed yo-yo quilt project at a thrift shop. Some of the yo-yos were stitched together into the beginnings of a coverlet. There were also piles of completed loose yo-yos, fabric circles waiting to be made into yo-yos, and bits of vintage yardage. Diana bought it all, and the MArQ group decided to work with the yo-yo collection as an exercise in creativity, and as a tribute to an unknown quilter who worked hard on her yo-yos, but was never able to complete the project.
Each participant received a five by five square of assembled yo-yos, a selection of loose yo-yos, and a bit of ticking–all part of the original thrift shop purchase. Extra fabric circles and fabric were available for anyone who needed more. There were no size requirements for the challenge quilts and members could use any technique and any treatment of the yo-yos.
The quilts were completed in the fall of 2018. MArQ members made 15 quilts.