Featured Guest: Marcia Layton

Our guest blogger this month is Marcia Layton, author and pattern designer with a decided penchant for using yo-yos on her quilts. She’s authored two books, both published by Martingale & Company — Handprint Quilts (2003), and Calendar Kids (2007).

One of the challenges I set for myself once I started the series of yo-yo houses was to make the borders different on each of the quilts. “Patriot’s Corner” has jumbo circle yo-yos sewn into the outside edge of the quilt with smaller yo-yos sewn on top. It was a fun way to get the look of the red, white and blue bunting that makes me think of the 4th of July.

I wasn’t always obsessed with yo-yos. I started my quilting career back in the late 1990s by making little quilts with children’s handprints. I was a preschool teacher at the time and had plenty of little handprints to play with. I started experimenting and dreaming about all the different things I could make from the shape of a hand and incorporating them into quilts to auction off for the school. I can honestly say I became totally obsessed with handprints!

About five years ago I started working in a quilt shop where I was surrounded by beautiful fabric every day and introduced to all sorts of new quilting tools. One tool that piqued my interest was the Clover Quick Yo-Yo Makers, especially the heart-shaped one. I thought the little hearts would be cute on clothing so I made a few. They were fun to make, so I made a few more.

Then I started to play with the circle-shaped yo-yo makers and quickly became addicted to yo-yo making.  Soon I had a sizeable collection of yo-yos with no real purpose in mind. They were fun to sort and look at but I really didn’t know what I was going to do with them. Then I had an idea. I had made some yo-yos that were really bright and all the colors of the rainbow … they looked like candy. I decided then that I would make a little gingerbread house scene and cover it with yo-yo candies. “Lollipop Lane” was my first yo-yo quilt and became my first pattern. The yo-yo circle shapes just seem to add a whole new dimension to the look of traditional appliqué and I was totally enamored of them.

My seventh and newest quilt design is a fall scene called Harvest Road and I have finally included the little heart shaped yo-yo which started my whole yo-yo journey. Who knows where it will end!

I love to use the yo-yo makers and often demonstrate how to use them when I travel to lecture or to vend at quilt shows. So many people have yo-yo stories to tell. For some, making yo-yos the traditional way was their first experience with sewing, fondly remembered. For others it was a chore they don’t care to repeat. I like to think the new yo-yo makers and my little quilts will create some pleasant memories for a new generation of quilters just as they have for me!

To see more of Marcia’s patterns, visit her web site.

2 thoughts on “Featured Guest: Marcia Layton

  1. I’ve seen these quilts in person, and they are absolutely amazing! I’m not even a quilter, but the original way that Marcia has incorporated yo yo’s into these charming designs is creative beyond imagination!

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