We were so poor growing up, and my mom hated to sew. I don’t remember ever using anything for a doll quilts around my “babies” but old worn out towels. However, I do have special memories of a doll quilt my mom kept safe and gave me as an adult. This is a brief story of my yo-yo doll quilt memories.
Apparently these quilts were popular during the 1920’s to 1940’s. They were portable, could be used for scraps, only required a circle template (a plate or cup would do), did not need a sewing machine, and many did not have any kind of batting or backing. Quilters make due when times are tough.
Yo-yo doll quilt memories
This 18″ x 22″ yo-yo doll quilt is a really pretty example of this technique. Most of it is 1930s fabrics with a few pieces being 1940s. My grandma (the same wonderful woman who years later would teach me to sew) made it from scraps she had available. There is lots of blues and pinks, with some yellow and multi colored fabrics typical of the time in it.
When grandma died, I inherited her treadle sewing machine and fabrics. With the scraps were some still bright fabric pieces that match the fabrics in this quilt.
The yo-yo’s are sewn down to a piece of muslin for stability. My mom had a real baby doll to play with. Mom was born in the mid 1930s so life was still hard and the Great Depression still a real part of life.
When I was growing up, this yo-yo quilt was stored in a chest in my parents’ room. Once in a great while, mom would bring it out for me to touch and look at. The texture was wonderful. The backing had thin spots and a few small holes. A few of the yo-yo’s themselves were starting to come undone at the center.
Mom would tell me stories of her childhood while I rubbed my hands across the fabrics and thought about the huge family my mom was part of and how various people played such a part in her childhood. Most of the children of those same people were my playmates.
If you have a quilt that is passed down to you, please find out as much as possible about it. When it is passed on again, the story will make the quilt so much more precious.
I encourage you to keep some sort of notes and photos for the quilts you make. Put a tag on the back telling who and when it was made by.
Quilts are like hugs across the generations and years. There are quilts that are made to be loved to death with usage. Some are meant to be used and enjoyed. There are some that are meant to be heirlooms. The world needs all three types of quilts.
Other Doll Quilts:
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.