ramona’s new quilt

i feel down a quilt-finishing rabbit hole this week & just didn’t really accomplish anything else. maybe you remember that quilt top i made for ramona a few months ago? it was my first experiment in piecing a quilt top using a quarter-inch presser foot.


this was my pattern sketch.


jared peeping over the top of the finished quilt top.

i put it aside for a few months because i was just tired of looking at these fabrics. they’re all from the same fabric line, which is called “simply sweet”. a bit too sweet, maybe. so much pink, so many flowers. i like those hexagon prints a lot, but i was feeling pretty over the rest. i made some other quilts, some skirts, some baby bonnets, etc. then i decided the time had come to finish this quilt.




quilting detail. i don’t own a quilt guide & i am thinking that might be a mistake. i meant to quilt this thing with simple parallel lines about two inches apart. i tried to eyeball the distance between lines & keep everything straight using the edges of the fabric as a guidepost. after all, it’s all squares & rectangles. how far wrong could i go? pretty damn far, as it turns out! i saw this happening as i quilted & i was powerless to stop it. those two lines ended up being maybe half an inch apart. they start the full two inches apart on the other side of the quilt.

oh well. this is only the third quilt that i have completely finished (i have others in process). i’m still learning. learning things like, “maybe buy a quilt guide. they’re like five bucks.”

i also realized after it was all said & done that i simply didn’t baste this quilt thoroughly enough. i made another quilt with the same pattern (different fabrics) & i’m in the process of quilting it (with a different design) & i’m having lots of problems with bunching fabrics. because it’s not basted enough. so i am going to have to block out some time when ramona is sleeping or out with jared (because she has FINALLY learned how to crawl, which is an exciting milestone, but also limits the time i have to do big projects on the floor) to re-baste it & do a more thorough job. once that’s done, the quilting should go much more smoothly.


the back! i think i actually like the back more than i like the front. it’s less taxing to the eye.


binding detail. i was feeling really iffy about this quilt right up until i sewed on the binding. the polka dots really give the whole thing a more appealing character, in my opinion. they help take it from being all pink & flower-y & make it a little spunkier. this quilt is for ramona & maybe i’m just projecting, but she isn’t a very pink, flower-y person. she is more of a spunky polka dots person.

the binding is completely hand-sewn on the back. someone told me there’s a way to machine sew the binding on both sides…but i haven’t looked into it. supposedly you can also stitch so all the stitches are, like, underneath the binding & therefore invisible. i think that’s what you’re “supposed” to do. but considering that the entire extent of my sewing life prior to six months ago consisted of sewing punk patches on to hoodies using dental floss, usually while riding a greyhound bus, i think i’m doing all right. i have plenty of time to polish my technique. in the meantime, i think this looks fine.

i took this quilt to playgroup yesterday to use as the blanket ramona & i sat on. it looked really nice all spread out at the park, & there was room for another baby/mommy combo to share with us. at the end of the day, i like it. i like it more that i expected to. & it’s big enough that ramona should be able to get some good use out of it well into elementary school.

i sketched out a new quilt pattern yesterday:


when jared saw it, he was like, “whoa. whoa. that looks really, really difficult.” i think it looks really easy! but i think it will look like it was difficult, which i like. i started cutting fabrics last night (nicked my thumb on my rotary cutter, oops). i’m excited to start sewing! but first i have to try to make a dent in all the other stuff i didn’t do this week because i was finishing ramona’s quilt.

if anyone has any magical tips & tricks for time management, i am all ears. i just can’t seem to read as much as i want to, write as much as i want to, sew as much as i want to, spend quality family time with jared & ramona as much as i want to, & also do all the boring crap that needs to get done, like pumping & laundry & washing my hair & balancing my checkbook.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “ramona’s new quilt

  1. I was thinking of asking you for time management tips, haha! I think you get loads done, even finding time to write as much as you do would be very hard for me (which is why I haven’t written a zine in over 2 years). Honestly, it doesn’t get any easier, time management wise. My little guy will be 2 in Feb and my reading & book blog are the only hobbies I have left. I can’t do anything whilst he’s awake as he gets into everything (& wants to spend time with me, which of course is a good thing), & he doesn’t sleep much (11 hours out of 24 on average, loads less than even a year ago)… so I have to squeeze all my hobby time and a lot of the housework into the couple of hours a day he sleeps and I don’t! I get a bit more time on weekends as my partner is home, but a lot of that gets taken up with chores (& we no way have a spotless house or anything close to it). Sometimes I get pretty depressed/frustrated about all the projects I want to do but never have time for, but I’m mostly ok with it now… I figure these just aren’t going to be productive years and I’ll look back and be glad I spent so much of that short time Freddie is little with him. Sorry, not the tip you were hoping for, but I can really empathize!

    1. i think my time management sucks. mostly because when i do have some time blocked out to do non-baby things (like when jared has ramona), i get sucked down the rabbit hole of whatever i’m doing instead of spreading the time out to everything else i want to/should be doing. before i got really into sewing, i was going to the pool three times a week, which was good for my sleep, losing all the baby weight, arthritis management, & dealing with my post-partum depression. then i got obsessed with sewing & now if i have a spare minute, i spend it sewing instead. i haven’t been to the pool just for myself (not with ramona) since like july. & what a surprise: i’m back to having insomnia, my arthritis pain is pretty bad lately, etc. i know i should make the time to go to the pool at least twice a week, but i can’t seem to fit it in because there’s other stuff i’d rather do that is more immediately gratifying.

      i don’t know that it’s getting harder as ramona gets older. it’s just different. i’m kind of used to being a mom now, so i’m no longer dealing with the shell-shock of the huge lifestyle change that comes with a new baby. now it’s like, okay, i am going to use several hours per day to diapering, feeding, bathing, cuddling, etc this baby. it is what it is. but i used to be able to sew even while she was up & around because she wasn’t mobile. i could set her up with some toys & she’d just hang out for half an hour. but now she can crawl over & bug me. she likes to pick up the pedal & try to eat it, even while i’m using it. & i have to be careful to pick up any pins or threads that fall on the floor right away.

      i’ve been trying to make myself a little list of priorities to accomplish each day. not a lot, just a few things that really should get done & that are achievable in the course of a regular day with a baby. & then whatever sewing or reading i want to do is a treat for getting other stuff done. but it doesn’t always work. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve been like, “all right, ramona is napping, i should really go clean the bathroom…but maybe i’ll just do a tiny bit of sewing first.” fast forward an hour & a half & all i’ve done is sew. the bathroom didn’t get cleaned, i forgot to eat lunch, the sink is full of dishes, the laundry hasn’t been transferred to the dryer yet, & ramona is awake. oh well.

  2. That quilt looks great! I think you’re right, the binding definitely makes it a little different. It really ties the room together, so to speak. :p

    I’ve only ever hand sewed down the back of my bindings. I can ask my Grandmother, she’s my go-to expert on quilting technique, but I’m pretty sure that’s still the best way to do it. I kinda like it, because I find hand-sewing rather soothing.

    I haven’t sewed anything in over a month, and I never even finish half the articles in the New Yorker these days. I’ve been trying to go running more, but I’m still only doing that a couple times a week. So, I think kids just force you to prioritize everything.

    1. yeah, it totally does. which isn’t a bad thing. i am just struggling a bit with setting priorities. like i said in another comment, i know i SHOULD prioritize getting to the pool a couple of times a week, but i so often find myself diving headlong into another sewing project or a magazine or something instead. i keep saying, “oh, i’ll start going to the pool more once i finish this quilt/catch up on back issues of ‘the new yorker’/whatever,” but then i just get absorbed in something else.

      i don’t mind hand-sewing bindings. it’s time-consuming & it can really kill my arthritic hands after a while, but it is meditative & it looks nice. it would be kind of anti-climactic to do all that work to make a quilt & then just machine-sew the binding be like, “all finished!” it’s nice that the last step takes a while.

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