The Endless Project . . . Is Ending

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Have you ever had a project that seemed endless . . . and you liked it that way?

I have been making fabric yoyos for just about two years. It began as a portable project, born from a long airport delay when I had nothing to do.

I hated having nothing to do so I created a little kit to make yoyos, with no long-term plan for them.

The fabric yoyos became a constant in my everyday life.

The yoyos have gone on many trips with me.

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They have become part of my evening routine, as I did my stint of 10 a night, every night.

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Many of them were sewn at a table with members of my weekly sewing group, a project that could be done amid lots of chatter and snacking and pleasant distractions.

Somewhere along the way, as people continually asked me what I was going to do with the yoyos, I decided I would make a coverlet for a daybed we have on our porch. I made a diagram on graph paper and did the math and found I would need over 1300 yoyos.

That number was daunting but I liked it that way. I liked making yoyos and didn’t really want to stop. The yoyos were a comforting part of my daily life.

I figured 1300 yoyos would take me far into the future . . .

But then, recently, I made an assessment.

I had reached my goal of 1300 and surpassed it.

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I was dismayed! Truly, I was a bit undone.

So I measured the daybed again and found that what I needed, really, was to make the coverlet bigger! I needed more yoyos after all!

But, now, I’ve completed even those. I have about 1500 fabric yoyos.

They weigh over 3 pounds.

They are cute and perky and . . . finished.

They need to be sewn together.IMG_6265

Ick.

I’ve been working on a system for sewing the yoyos together and it’s slow going.

In sewing the yoyos together, the project becomes less portable, more unwieldy, altogether less fun.

I miss making yoyos.

I suppose I could simply keep making them and piling them up but the practical side of me scoffs at that idea. They need to be made into something; they need to have a purpose in life.

So I will keep sewing them together and make the planned coverlet and report back to you when it is done.

And I’ll be on the lookout for the next comforting, soothing, endless project . . .

 

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52 thoughts on “The Endless Project . . . Is Ending

    • The sewing together has not been fun so far, I’m sad to report. But I think I’m getting a system for it and I hope it’ll start to go more smoothly!

  1. I feel your pain at the prospect of acres of work that will only get heavier with progress. I have a crocheted afghan that I now work on only in winter as it’s 50 by 60 inches and way too hot on my lap any other time of year. How about this approach? For every X number of yoyos you make, you sew the same number together. By sewing the yoyos together in sections you’ll be dealing with more manageable units. And your reward for sewing them together is the fun of making more yoyos. The real pain will come only when you need to do the final joins of the sections.

    • I really should’ve used your idea and sewn these together as I made them. But I was still acquiring fabric scraps and wanted them all mixed in and random so I did all the yo-yos first. And, as you say, I may have to wait until winter to put it all together–it’s going to get unwieldy.

  2. Project completion can be daunting for sure. Procrastination is the monkey on the back. I know as I am guilty. Well done on such a super schedule and your determination to get it done! Nice work. Love the yo-yos.

    • Once I gave myself the challenge to do at least 10 yoyos a day, they piled up quickly! Now I need to decide what a reasonable stint is, for sewing them together . . .

    • Oh, true! I could make pillow covers or something. The yo-yos are a nice way to use up scraps of fabric. We’ll see . . . I’m pondering my options.

    • Thanks! Yes, I think I need to bring enough for a block or two to my sewing group and just work away at it. I have other handwork I can do, too, but the yo-yos have become almost mascots of the group!

  3. I have never worked on YoYos so forgive my ignorant question. Are you hand sewing them together on the edges? Then do they lay on top of another piece of fabric? You’re probably shaking your head but this is not a project I’ve pursued so thanks for the clarification. 🙂

    • No, not silly questions at all! I am too close to this project and forget that others are new to it. The yo-yos get sewn together with a few stitches where the circles meet so at, say, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, etc. The finished product is not sewn to backing fabric, like a real quilt, but used as a light cover over a plain sheet or other fabric. My day bed has a plain sage green cover so I’m hoping the coverlet looks good over that.

  4. They are so cute in those little wicker baskets ..I’m not sure if I would have the heart to remove them, I also don’t have the vision of where your finished project will find its home…so I’ll just support you on the tiresome sewing . 🙂 the block layout is lovely!

    • Thanks, Deb! They are cute in the baskets and I also have stored some of them in a big apothecary jar with a lid–they are fetching in that, too! If I have leftovers, I’ll continue to display them. Or maybe just make more! 😉

  5. Feel that way about my hexies, but is am sewing them together and making more simultaneously! I love your yoyos, I do have a pattern for a yoyo cushion cover, so maybe you could make matching cushions!

    • I am considering hexies for my next endless project! I have tons of vintage linens that have minor damage so I’m thinking I could use the pretty parts–the lace and embroidery–in the hexies . . . . SO many projects . . .

    • Oh, there will be waiting involved! I am trying to come up with an efficient system of sewing those little things together . . . so far, it isn’t much fun!

  6. I’m looking forward to updates on the progress of the coverlet. I have a bag of yoyo’s my mother made years and years ago. I think that I may now understand why they were never finished into anything. 🙂

    • The finishing is a whole lot less fun than the making of the yo-yos! I have bags of vintage yo-yos, too, and am now wondering if I’ll ever have the stamina to sew them together. But it makes me sad to see them left just sitting in the bags, unloved . . .

  7. I was utterly phased when I started to read this. For me, yoyos are 2 wooden discs with string between, which you spin up and down. Fabric yoyos seemed about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Now I understand. That cover will be wonderful, so just keep sewing those yoyos together. Courage, my friend!

    • Sorry–I should’ve given better context! I’ve written about these before and just assumed everyone remembers every word I’ve ever written! HA! I will be sure to report back when (if!) I ever get them all together!

  8. Congratulations on finishing making your yo-yos. A lot of people would have stalled after their initial enthusiasm wore out, but you’ve got grit! Isn’t is funny how we like one part of a project and find another part tedious even though (in this case) it’s all hand sewing? It looks to me like you’re making squares bordered in the teal.

    Another similar hand project is making little hexagons for a quilt. There are lots of hexie lovers and hexie boards for inspiration.

    • Yes, I am using solid teal yo-yos, in varying shades, as borders. I hope I have enough–I ran out of fabric and was too cheap to buy more! I am very intrigued by hexies . . . I’m seriously considering them for my next endless project!

  9. Damn!! When I was a child all I ever wanted was a book that never ended. My aunt gifted me two volumes – altogether an 800 page collection of stories. I was over the moon and set about reading every story. Eventually I finished the collection and was devastated. Even the most enormous [2] books in the entire world came to an end. Life has never been the same since 🙂

    I have no idea of how you are going to attach these things to each other. I suspect the work has only just begun though. Personally I’d be inclined to bung a stitch into two of ’em and string them together – but I guess that wouldn’t be right either……… Maybe the making up will become the next never ending project 🙂 [Sorry!]

    • I’m afraid you’re right about this next stage being endless! I’m basically using 3-4 stitches at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, etc, to connect them . . . so far the process is not filling me with joy. And regarding books–the idea of one that never ends is both exciting and unsettling for me. I really do like the idea of closure at some stage . . .

  10. What a great story! I love the idea that they’ve been a narration in your life, following you around as you did your activities, saw you through some long (and short) days, and were a constant. I had a similar experience with making appliquéd heart blocks after a hard time in my life. I carried that basket of hearts and squares everywhere with me, and then bam! all of a sudden I had enough. I still love that quilt. You’ll find something new, I’m sure! (Chuck Nohara blocks?)

    • I had to go look Chuck Nohara up! Those blocks look hard! Probably too hard for my next project–the yo-yos were pretty mindless and I liked that about them. I may turn to cathedral window blocks or even hexies, although they are awfully trendy right now. . . .

  11. What a marathon project! I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like that – most of my projects are short term – except housework which is never-ending and mostly boring! I enjoy weeding the flowerbeds though and that goes on for ever.
    I will be interested to see how you attach them together and how long it takes you!

  12. Hmmm. You could make the coverlet, or you could sell them as lots on your etsy shop. Someone would want them and make something. Still, you may want to make that coverlet . Great colors!

  13. It’s always anti-climatic when we come to the end of something big. It can also be hard starting something new. I find though that that new “thing” has a way of presenting itself, and with that brings comfort.
    I remember making similar yo-yos as a teenager, but stacking them to make arms and legs and a torso of a rag-styled doll. I dreaded the cutting but loved the sewing and gathering of the thread. Reading this post brought it all back.

    I often think the sadness at the end of something monumental like this is that we don’t really want to finish. We want to come to the end on one level, but we mourn the joy of the process.

    • You understand how I feel perfectly! I hadn’t realized how the yo-yos had become a constant in my days–mindless, soothing, yet productive. It’s comforting to know that, if I want, I can always start a new round of them but I may find I’m ready to go a different direction. Change is good, right?

  14. Ugh indeed. I love the look of yo-yos but have never enjoyed making them! It’s so funny because I can endlessly make hexies. They just seem too picky somehow and what I most love about hexies is playing with fabric and color combinations. I did aspire to make a runner for a table but only made a few…. That’s one impressive project.

    • I liked making the yo-yos fine–I have one of those plastic gizmos that helps and I could just sit in my chair in the evening and whip them out. This business of sewing them all together, though, is much less fun!

  15. As I was reading about your yo yos and their portability, I was reminded of knitting.
    The ability to pull out the knitting while waiting in airports, medical office waiting rooms, City Council Meetings, wherever. The calmness and comfort that comes with keeping your hands busy, but your mind flowing free.
    Good luck with this next phase, Kerry.

  16. My goodness, girl! This is amazing. What a project. And they are so pretty, each one.
    Yes, I have an endless length of knitting. It will never end, and that’s the point.

    • I think that’s why I like the yoyos–they are just cute, each and every one. And, as I sew them together, I find they play well with each other, too!

  17. Oh wow, I can’t believe you’ve made so many of these! I remember when you first posted about your yoyos. I’m excited to see what they look like all sewn together. I bet it’s going to be a beautiful quilt and it will be satisfying to see them all come together! Granny squares are my favourite portably project, although it can become unweildy if you need to bring lots of different colours of wool x

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