Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yo-Yo Connections

Mom reached into the stuffed plastic bag and carefully pulled it out, gently unfolded and spread it open, lovingly smoothing it with her hands. I had never known about this and it took my breath away.

My in-laws had reached the age when “down-sizing” seemed prudent and Mom, especially, had been trying to clear things out and get their house in order, so to speak. For the last couple of years she had gone through the things she treasured with me, asking what we might want. At first I’d been hesitant, not wanting to seem greedy or uncaring. I told her they should be the ones to decide what to do with their things. Mostly, I hadn’t wanted to face facts and the inevitable time of passing things down to the next generation. Finally, we had chosen what we most wanted and marked each with a small round sticker - B & B scribbled on as a reminder. Many of the things still lived with them, but their minds had been eased on the matter.

And then this - a multicolored coverlet made of myriad pieces of cotton fabric, each piece carefully cut into a perfect circle then hand-gathered into a “Yo-Yo”. The Yo-Yos were assembled - a solid colored one surrounded by 6 patterned ones, those surrounded by 12 more of the 1st solid color, then by 18 white ones - and hand-stitched together into a hexagon. Connecting the 6-sided figures, and along each edge, were green Yo-Yos. The overall effect of 3,325 small circles of pink, yellow, blue, lavender, orange, gray , white and green united into a beautiful honeycomb pattern was dazzling!

Probably begun in the late ‘40s or early ‘50s, this wonderful piece of needlework took all the time, patience, precision & love that Mom could pour into it. Bill remembers years of family evenings spent in their basement rec room with Mom diligently working away at this project. No one quite remembers how long it took nor when it was finally finished. Although it looked brand-new and as if it had never been used, she assured me it had been.

Did I want it? Mom’s memory was beginning to fail, so over the next couple of years she asked the same question many times; each time, I tried to reassure her that I did. One fall, I simply wrote & told them we would love to receive that coverlet for Christmas. It arrived the next week along with a note saying how relieved she was that we really did want it. Since then, we’ve enjoyed it covering our bed each summer, adding color, nostalgia and warm thoughts of family to our lives.

Each time I look at it I am reminded of the many connections we have in our lives. Each of us, as individuals, is surrounded closely by those dear to us: first our immediate family, then extended family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and others we interact with from time to time. The color, pattern and shape of each life radiates outward through these connections until we all are joined together by a common thread. Without it, we are single Yo-Yos bouncing through life with no design at all.

When the thread is a strong one called LOVE - we become a living work of art.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God...This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him...God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him...We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7, 9, 16 & 19


  1. My grandmother made one of these but I never know what it was called. Nice to see it here and what a nice memory!

    Jan C.

  2. I am so enjoying the stories you are sharing here, Barb. I didn't even know about the yo-yo coverlet! I guess my sentiments about quilts is much like yours about the yo-yo quilt. I made Corinna a "fairy quilt" when she was a little girl and Danielle a "bear baby quilt". The fairy quilt was crazy-quilt style. The bear quilt trapunto and french knots and hand quilting. I hope they'll cherish the work of their mother's hands when they are a little more grown up than they are today. ~ Linda ~