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Guide To Yo-Yo Crochet

The yo-yo is a new, trending crochet motif that has gained rapid popularity. Although there are several different designs for the crochet yo-yo, basically it's a small crochet circle made using just one or two rounds of stitches. The yo-yo motifs are stitched together, typically using a join-as-you-go method, in any number of patterns to create scarves, shawls, blankets and just about everything else that you can think of. Since each yo-yo is made up of just a small bit of yarn, yo-yo projects are great stash buster projects but you can also use the same yarn for each yo-yo to make a more cohesive-looking project. There are even variations on the yo-yo pattern that use larger amounts of yarn, which we'll look at towards the end of this guide.

guide to yo-yo crochet

Crochet yo-yo scarf tutorial

yo yo triangle scarf

The Yo-Yo Scarf crochet pattern by Alessandra Hayden is a great example of how this motif can be creatively used for simple projects today. Each yo-yo is made quickly and easily and joined into the shape of a triangle scarf.

Here are the basic steps for creating the yo-yo motif used in this pattern:

1. Crochet a Magic Ring

The magic ring, also called an adjustable loop or magic circle, is a popular method of creating a crochet circle. Here's how to do it:

adjustable loop

Wrap the yarn around your fingers as shown above, with a yarn tail on the left that lies underneath the working yarn. Later you'll be able to pull on this yarn tail to close the circle.

Insert the crochet hook through the circle, front to back, with the head of the hook positioned between the loop and the working yarn that hangs to the right.

Yarn over using the working yarn on the right (attached to the ball of yarn) and pull through loop. This is your magic ring.

2. Chain (ch) 2.

magic ring, chain two

3. 12 double crochet (dc) into magic ring. Work over the tail of the yarn but don't cover it completely, as you'll need to pull on this yarn to close the ring.

4. Pull the tail end (on the left) of the magic ring to tighten the circle. Slip stitch to close.

close magic ring

That is the basic yo-yo motif. The only variation that occurs throughout the project is in the joining. This is a join-as-you-go project, so you'll join each of the motifs in the first row together. Here's how you'll do that, creating the second yo-yo joined to the first:

1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the yo-yo motif above.

2. 9 dc into magic ring.

3. Holding the "wrong sides" of yo-yo #1 and #2 together, slip st into 3rd stitch of yo-yo #1.

4. 3 more dc into magic ring.

5. Repeat step 4 above.

The rest of the row is made in the same fashion, joining each new yo-yo into the yo-yo that was previously made. The rest of the scarf is made similarly, except that in the following rows you will have an additional joining step with each yo-yo, one to join the yo-yo to the one previous to it in the same row (as we just did above) and another to join the yo-yo to the one above it in the previous row. The full pattern describes how this extra joining step goes but the basic steps are the same.

Variations on the triangle scarf

The crochet yo-yo scarf pattern is designed to create a triangle scarf, which of course could be enlarged with more motifs to make a triangle shawl. However, you can lay yo-yos out in other patterns as well including squares, rectangles and hexagons. This allows you to create yo-yo scarves, blankets and other designs.

Variations on the crochet yo-yo

The yo-yo tutorial above shows the basic crochet yo-yo pattern that is used in Alessandra Hayden's crochet triangle scarf. However, there are a number of variations on this yo-yo motif. First of all, you don't have to use a magic ring to create your yo-yo. You could start the crochet circle in another manner. For example, you could make the same yo-yo design above by doing the following:

  1. Chain 3 (counts as first dc)
  2. Dc 11 times into first ch of ch 3
  3. Slip st to close
yo yo alternatives yo yo alternative

Another option is to chain three or four and slip stitch to close the chain. This creates a ring that you'll use instead of the magic ring. Do your 2 ch and 12 dc into this ring that you've created.

img_8563 img_8564

The choice depends on your personal preference in terms of how you like to crochet circles. Many people like the magic ring because you can "close the hole" so there's no gap in the center, which you can't do if you've used one of the other methods. However, some people like a more open-holed look for yo-yo projects; play with the options to determine which is best for you.

In addition to changing the method of creating your circle, you can change the height of your yo-yos. You could make a taller crochet yo-yo by following the same basic instructions but using a treble crochet stitch instead of a dc.

treble crochet yoyo

You could make a shorter yo-yo using a half double crochet instead of a dc.

hdc yoyo

The yo-yo crochet pattern shown here is a single round but many yo-yo crochet patterns have a second round, typically giving the yo-yo a more floral design. For example, you could use the same yo-yo pattern as above and then add round two as follows:

  1. Ch 4 (counts as first single crochet (sc) and first ch 3).
  2. Sc in next dc.
  3. Ch 3.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 eleven times.
  5. Join with slip st to first chain of ch 4.

Any small crochet circle pattern can be used as inspiration for a yo-yo crochet project. Here are a few to take a look at:

circle motif pillow

Circle Motif Pillow by Rebecca J. Venton

statement necklace

Statement Necklace by Lisa Gentry

Spoked Wheel Motif in A Dozen Modern Motifs

Spoked Wheel Motif in A Dozen Modern Motifs; this ebook also has several other motifs with circular centers that could be the inspiration for your yo-yos.

Crochet yo-yo stripe alternative

yo-yo throw

Perhaps you like the look of the crochet yo-yo but want to make a more continuous project rather than joining a bunch of tiny motifs. An alternative project for you is the Yo-Yo Throw Crochet Pattern by Kristen Stoltzfus.

In this pattern, you crochet a long foundation chain and then work around both sides of that chain to create a strip of yo-yo-like circles. The circles are made with treble crochet stitches, with half of the circle created on one side of the foundation chain and the other half on the opposite side.

yoyo circles in stripes

After creating a series of these strips, you join each strip together to create your blanket. Alternatively you could join just a few of the strips to create a yo-yo stripe scarf or rectangle shawl. The design is similar to the yo-yo although the process is different.

As you can see, crochet yo-yo projects can be stashbuster motif projects or well-planned, row-based patterns. Whichever you opt for, have fun with this new yo-yo trend!

by Kathryn Vercillo

Below: LW4481 Circle Motif Pillow Free Crochet Pattern

Guide To Yo-Yo Crochet

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