Crochet Motif with a Fabric Yo-yo Center

Use this motif with a fabric yo-yo center by itself for decorating a gift, making a barrette, or embellishing a larger crochet project. Or, you can easily join-as-you-go to create place mats, doilies, table runners, blanket edgings, or an entire coverlet!

crochet motif with a fabric yo-yo center

This motif is definitely not an instant gratification project. However, it is just the thing for using little bits: little bits of time, little bits of space, little bits of fabric and thread. I’ve been picking this up and putting it down for a while. First, I made all the yo-yos, then stitched all the anchor stitches, and finally crocheted all the edgings. Once all of my yo-yo circles were cut, everything was stored in a small project box that I could tote around the house, or even work on in the car (in the passenger seat, of course).

A single finished motif measures about three inches in diameter, and has three options for joining: one loop to one loop, two-to-two with an empty loop between, or two-to-two with no empty loop (like joining hexagons). More on this later . . .

What You'll Need

Small bits of fabric (at least 4.5 inches square)

Sewing thread (preferably, thread that will match your crochet thread)

Embroidery needle or small sewing needle

Scissors (one for cutting fabric, and one for cutting thread)

#10 weight crochet thread

#5 steel crochet hook

Small blunt needle (for weaving in crochet thread ends)

There are three parts to making this crochet motif with a fabric yo-yo center:
First, making the yo-yo. Then, sewing the “anchor stitches.” Finally, you’ll crochet the edging into the anchor stitches.

Make your fabric yo-yo(s)

Here is a video for getting the idea of how to make a fabric yo-yo.

For this motif, you’ll need a two-inch yo-yo, and here is how I made mine:

Iron your fabric and trace 4.5 inch circles onto the wrong side of your pressed fabric. Cut out your circles.

Measure out 24 to 30 inches of sewing thread. Insert one cut end of thread through your sewing needle and pull the needle to the center of the thread. Knot the thread ends together one or two times (to be sure not to pull through your fabric). You now have a double thickness of thread.

Hold your fabric circle with the wrong side of the fabric facing you. Fold over a very small hem, wrong sides touching (a bit less than ¼ inch). Insert the needle from back to front until the knot catches (the knot will be on the right side of the fabric).

Make a running stitch evenly around the circumference of the circle. Continue folding a small hem down as you go and work through both thicknesses of the fabric. Make your stitches about ½ inch. You can gently cinch the thread and fabric a bit as you go, if that is easier.

When you approach your starting knot, make your last stitch pass come out on the right side of the fabric, a bit before your starting knot. Pull the thread tightly to cinch the center of the yo-yo. Carefully pull out the knotted end and hold both the starting and ending threads to cinch even tighter (like a drawstring).

With the needle still on, knot the starting and ending thread ends together to secure the center of the yo-yo. You can now cut the knot off.

Hide both thread ends inside the yo-yo by pulling the ends down through the center of the yo-yo, then out through the back side (anywhere). Snip the excess thread, then pinch/wiggle the thread back to the inside of the yo-yo — much like this process for hiding thread ends.

fabric yo-yo

Your yo-yo should be about two inches across. If it’s too big, either: 1) Your hem is too small, or 2) your stitches are too close together (the smaller the stitches, the bigger the opening of the center hole is). If it’s too small: vice-versa to the previous!

Sew your anchor stitches

Once the yo-yo is finished, you’ll need to sew anchor stitches all the way around the outer edge of the yo-yo. This is where the first round of crochet will be worked. Work a back stitch around the circumference. Pinch the yo-yo edge as you go (for stability), and make sure your stitches don’t come out the front or the back of the yo-yo (you’ll work from the outside, down into the inside of the yo-yo, then back out).

fabric yo-yo

I used a knotless loop start to secure the first stitch, and also act as the first stitch. You can see this in action here under “no knots with two strands.”

Cut a length of sewing thread at least 48 inches long and fold it in half (now 24 inches, doubled over). Insert both the cut ends through your needle eye and pull through a few inches.

Insert your needle from the outside edge, down into “tube” (inside) of the yo-yo, then back out the edge about ¼ inch to the left. Pull thread almost all the way through, then catch the loop with your needle. Pull the stitch flush to the yo-yo edge. The knotless loop start is now complete!

Now, backstitch around evenly, making your stitches about ¼ inch. Pause when there is space for one last stitch left. Make your last stitch and knot it to the base of either your very first or very last stitch, right up close to the edge of the yo-yo. Hide your thread end inside the yo-yo as you did before. You now have anchor stitches around the entire circumference of your yo-yo.

Crochet time!

Round 1: With a #5 steel crochet hook and #10 weight crochet thread, join yarn around any anchor stitch with a single crochet (first sc). Working under your anchor stitches, make 48 total sc evenly around. Join to first sc with a sl st. (48 sc)
I always counted my anchor stitches first, to see how many sc should go into each. I never had to do more than three in a stitch. It’s very exciting when you find you have exactly 24 anchor stitches!

Round 2: Ch 1, sc in same st. Ch 3, skip next st. *(Sc in next st, ch 3, skip next st). Repeat from * around. Join to first sc with a sl st. (24 sc, 24 ch-3 loops)

Round 3: Sl st to center of first ch-3 loop. Ch 1, sc in same loop, ch 3. *(Sc in next loop, ch 3). Repeat from * around. Join to first sc with a sl st. (24 sc, 24 ch-3 loops)

Round 4: Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1). Dc, ch 1 in same st. Sl st in next sc, ch 1. *[In next sc make (dc, ch1) three times. Sl st in next sc, ch 1]. Repeat from * around. Make a (dc, ch 1) in same st as first dc. Join to first dc (the third ch of first ch 4) with a sl st. (12 3-dc fans)

Round 5: Ch 7. *(Sl st in top of center dc of next fan, ch 7). Repeat from * around. Sl st in same st as first ch-7 to join. Cut thread, finish off, weave in ends. (12 ch-7 loops)

Finishing Up

You can gently block your motif with a wet towel and hovering steam iron. Because I made several and joined them, I blocked my work after all my motifs were joined. I also waited to weave in all my thread ends until after my motifs were joined. And there it is: a little crochet motif with a fabric yo-yo center!

Joining Motifs

I used the join-as-you-go method for joining my motifs. I used a slip stitch join during Round 5 like so: Ch 3, sl st join to next motif in center of a ch-7 loop, ch 3, sl st in working motif’s next fan center.

I’ll post about this in more detail later on, and will also post a pattern for fill-in lace for the  “two-to-two with an empty loop between” option. This is what that looks like before the fill-in lace (click here to go to the fill-in lace pattern):

crochet motif with a fabric yo-yo center

crochet motif with a fabric yo-yo center

And here is a “two-to-two with no empty loop (like joining hexagons):”

two-to-two with no empty loop (like joining hexagons)

Please let me know if you have any questions. If you make these, I would love to see your project! I’ll see you soon with more information about joining your motifs!

two-to-two with no empty loop (like joining hexagons)

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