Have you heard of the quilting technique known as ‘Yorkshire Daisies’ ? You may possibly know this method by its more common name of ‘Suffolk Puffs’, or the American name ‘Yo-yo Flowers’.
Although not strictly ‘quilting’ as it doesn’t usually have a middle layer of wadding between the two layers of fabric, it is still a traditional method of making a lightweight quilt or coverlet. There are records of Suffolk Puffs being made in England as early as 1601, but this method was particularly popular in the Victorian era, examples of these can be seen in many museums.
I love this technique and use it in a number of ways, making large items such as quilts and throws, and smaller projects such as embellishing the front of a cushion or bag, right down to using just one or two ‘daisies’ to make a brooch or corsage, or attaching to a hair-band. I’ve even made Christmas daisy decorations using glitzy fabrics and beads.
Apart from the fact that I find them really pretty, part of the appeal is linked to my (adopted !) Yorkshire thriftiness ! I can’t bear to throw away even the smallest piece of fabric ! These decorative fabric ‘puffs’ can be made using scraps of cotton fabric left over from previous projects, or from recycled clothing. Alternatively, small bundles of ‘fat-quarters’ of fabric can be used.
The method of making the daisies is very simple, and although there are gadgets known as ‘Yo-yo makers’ available to buy these are really not necessary.
To make your Yorkshire Daisies you will need :-
Fabric scraps (cotton works best)
Circular items to draw round e.g. saucers, lids
Note :- If you want to work out the size of your completed daisy there is a simple equation. Your daisy will be half the diameter of the item you use as your template minus 2cm for the turnings. So, for example, if your saucer has a 16cm diameter your finished daisy will be 16 divided by 2 = 8, minus 2 for the turnings = 6cm diameter.
Take your piece of fabric and circular template. Place the template on the fabric and draw round it with a pencil. Cut out.
Thread a long length of sewing thread (about 1m) in you needle, double the thread over a tie 2 knots in the end. Take your circle of fabric and fold over about 1cm of the edge to the wrong side. Work a couple of stitches on top of each other to secure your thread, then begin working around the periphery of the fabric, folding over 1cm of fabric to the wrong side and stitching it down using running stitch. You will need to pleat in the excess fabric as you go.
When you have worked right around the circle pull up the gathering stitch. Place the daisy on a table and flatten it out so that the gathers form a tight circle in the centre and the whole piece makes an evenly shaped circle. Work a few stitches across the centre of your daisy to secure the gathering stitches. Trim the threads close to the fabric. You have your first Yorkshire Daisy !
So, now that you know how to make your daisies, it’s up to you to decide how to use them. To make a quilt or throw align them either in vertical and horizontal lines, or offset them to make diagonal lines, then simply stitch them to each other at the edges with sewing thread. For the brooches or bag decoration make daisies of different sizes, stitch a small one on top of a larger one, then add a button on the front a brooch back on the reverse side.
The important thing is to have fun, enjoy using all your lovely fabrics and feel proud to be creating something beautiful out of just scraps !
RaggedyAnnie runs a wide variety of textile courses from her studio in Croft Myl, Halifax. Have a look at her website www.RaggedyAnnie.co.uk, or www.facebook.com/annie.lancaster.948 or email her on [email protected]
Courses can be arranged to suit you, for groups of between 2-12 people.