Slice of Life – Making a Yo-Yo Quilt

Today’s Slice of Life at, 24 August 2021

Remnants of history
(that blouse for the Sadie Hawkins dance,
the dress that I wore when I interviewed for my first job,
a scrap from the bridesmaids’ dresses my mom made for my wedding,
and hundreds more forgotten memories)
I’ve carried around for forty years,
cut into perfect circles,
each stitched lovingly around the edges
by Aunt Thelma, and now by me,
to make what she called a yo-yo,
now find new purpose.

Image by Mahmood Ali from Pixabay

This whole project is a scrap craft from things I have on hand. My inspiration is this landmark building in Manama–the Bahrain World Trade Center. It always leads people to Manama, the capital city. My Aunt Thelma was the quintessential crafter. She cut hundreds of circles and stitched them into yo-yos. Now, as I near retirement, I have finally got serious about using them to make something. It’s far from finished, but I’m having fun.

Tammi Belko was the host today for Ethical ELA’s Open Write. Her prompt was to create a One Sentence Poem. Since I’ve had this quilt on my mind lately, that became my topic for my poem. (I have no idea if it’s really only one sentence!)

Yesterday’s prompt came from Tammi too. She introduced a new-to-me Sevenling poem. She has students use it to share about a book they have read–as a hook or a character sketch. I thought it has great potential for that. Check out the link for many other examples of poems written in this form. Here is my sevenling about E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan.

Sevenling (He Works Hard)
He works hard to restore his honor,
Paying off his father’s debts, and
Waiting for his true love to respond.

He goes to school and takes on odd jobs—
Camp counselor where he learns to play, night club performer,
And Boston Public Garden entertainer.

Louis the swan became a trumpeter


10 thoughts on “Slice of Life – Making a Yo-Yo Quilt

  1. Denise, I am thrilled to see your photos that I could not see on ethicalela site. These are beautiful! What a way to use fabric to preserve memories and family history!

  2. Yes, indeed, when did we become old women. I wish I had a quilt to finish from the remnants of my life. What a joy! I have a cookbook project waiting on my shelf for me to turn the corner. I have never heard of these poems but am fascinated by the results. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Denise,
    I love seeing your progress making the quilt, and I can’t wait to see the finished one. Yes, you have written one sentence in your one-sentence poem.

  4. What a great way to use yo-yos. My wife has made yo-yo flowers for projects, I have seen yo-yo purses, but never seen yo-yos used to “paint” a picture. What a great idea.

  5. I’m so glad you posted about the yo-yo quilt. I didn’t quite have an image in my mind. I think my great grandmother had one of these quilts. It looks challenging to make. And to make it to mimic an architectural structure, even more so. I love learning more and more about you and your place. The Sevenling you wrote is a great mentor text for using this form as a book report. Gotta keep this one in my bag of tricks.

  6. Wow, what an amazing quilt! I wish I knew how to do something like that!

  7. The fabric circles are just beautiful, and I think that memories and loved ones encircle you as you work on the yo-yo quilt. It’s shaping up to be stunning, with that Bahrain WTC pattern! Your sevenling is so wonderfully rendered – that last line a perfect reveal.

  8. Love the poems and the yo-yo quilt. I am going to steal like an artist and use these with my students this year. Love the Sevenling poem and the quilt poems – exceptional! Thank you!

  9. I love all the parts of this post and totally relate to the “when did I become an old woman?” Your sevenling is a great mentor text for me to borrow for my fifth graders if I may- we are about to embark on some character study and I love this way of approaching it!

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