alphabet book quilt & stuff

obligatory apology for not posting for so long. i’m sure my dozens of fans were hitting their refresh buttons for weeks in fruitless anticipation. the truth of the matter is that i have been crushingly depressed (again? still?) & just in a really dark, bleak, terrible place. obvs my current anti-depressant is doing nothing more than draining $30 a month from my bank account, but my health care situation is not the greatest so i haven’t been able to do anything about it yet.

so weird, the shit i will admit on my blog, that any asshole can read, but i don’t talk about it on my locked down facebook or even to, like, jared. (granted, jared has been basically nothing more than a whirling cloud of job applications & dissertation chapters for the last few weeks. he’s applying for a job in salt lake city. this is giving me a lot of feels. luckily, he’s also applying for jobs in a lot of places that don’t make me feel dread & despair.)

i haven’t been sewing a ton, but i did make a new quilt for ramona.



yeah, each block is made to look like a little book. they were each paper-pieced, using a pattern from the book “patchwork, please!” (which has a lot of amazingly cute patterns & ideas for useful zakka projects, for children & adults). i did an alphabet theme because ramona recently got into pointing at representations of things & naming what she sees. you know, cat, wagon, truck, shirt, hedgehog, recumbent bicycle (yes, she really said that once, & yes, she’s only 22 months old), etc. so i figured she’d have a field day with all the different images on this quilt. the colored backgrounds & prints for book bindings are all just from my scrap collection. i hand-quilted the whole thing using the “big stitch” method, since i’ve never hand-quilted before & didn’t have much faith in my ability to do small stitches. plus i really did want the stitches to show. i used six different colors of thread for that, which was fun.


here’s a bit of detail & binding.

the back of the quilt is just a big piece of minky. ramona LOVES it. she pets it & says, “cat! cat!” i guess because she thinks it’s soft like a cat. she never really took to the two previous quilts i made for her, but she’s been sleeping with this one exclusively since i finished it.


yup. so that’s that. oh, i should mention that the ladies at my local quilting shop were super-opposed to me using minky for the back. they said it would never work because minky is so stretchy & it would be a nightmare to quilt it, etc etc. but guess what? it was fine. it didn’t turn out 100% perfect, but that’s because of my inexperience in hand-quilting. not because of the minky. i still like pieced quilt backs, & if i did another minky-backed quilt, i would probably also make a wider binding, because this binding was just barely wide enough to fit. but quilting it was not difficult & it didn’t seem to stretch out of shape in the process. maybe it would have been different if i’d been machine-quilting.

i started tracing the pattern pieces i need to make ramona a little hooded cape for winter (capes are good for little kids because they don’t get in the way of car seat straps like coats do), but i haven’t made much progress.

lately i have been wondering if i should just give up on this blog, since i’m not updating it as much as i had planned & i so often feel like i have nothing to say, or other priorities for my free time. i’m conflicted. i know it’s probably mostly the depression making me want to quit. when i feel this way, i get overwhelmed very easily & start looking for any responsibilities i can jettison. obviously writing crap on the internet isn’t something i HAVE to do for anyone. but it’s also maybe still kind of nice to have the outlet. i never have time to write on paper anymore, since ramona thinks all pens & notebooks belong to her, & by the time she’s napping or in bed for the night, i’m ready to just collapse on the couch with “the new yorker” & forget any possibility of generating my own independent thoughts. time will tell, i suppose.

(again, sorry for any rogue Vs where Ts should be. still cutting & pasting in my Ts since my T button doesn’t work. which is another reason i haven’t been blogging much.)

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.

10 thoughts on “alphabet book quilt & stuff

  1. I hope you don’t stop. I’m un-facebooking for awhile and it’s nice to be able to pop by and see what you’re making/how you’re doing (and see photos of Ramona, obviously). I guess that’s a selfish reason for hoping you continue but there it is 😉

    1. i appreciate it! & i will try. typing is just such a pain in the ass with my broken keyboard, & ramona goes bananas if i try to do anything other than read her books while she’s awake. you know how it goes.

  2. The quilt looks great! I love putting something soft on the back of a quilt. I usually use flannel, but I might have to give minky a try. 🙂 I think quilt shop ladies just like being holier-than-thou. I once had one get all up in my face about the flannel I was purchasing in a color that coordinated with the rest of my quilting cotton. “You can’t mix regular cotton and flannel! The whole thing will fall apart! What are you thinking?!?!” “Ummmm…. it’s for the back? Way to give me the benefit of the doubt, lady.” It’s hard to describe in text, but she waaaaay over-reacted. Quilt shop ladies, be weird. I think they feel the need to be aggressively helpful in order to prove that it’s better to buy from them than Joanns or the internet?

    I don’t obsessively hit refresh on your blog, but I do have you marked as a Must-Read in Feedly. 🙂 I don’t think that’s tooo creepy. I read a lot of blogs, but yours is much better written than most of them.

    I have had crushing depression in the past. I am sorry that you are dealing with it now. It’s pretty much the worst. I am dealing with what I think is some low-grade seasonal depression (no sunlight makes Hope SAD). It makes it hard enough to cope as it is, I’m impressed that you are getting anything done, let alone blogging about it!

    1. well, i have been crushingly depressed for over twenty years, so i’m kind of used to it. i have a few workarounds i employ to try to still live my life, but sometimes it’s worse than other times. i kind of feel like i’ve lost all of 2014 to depression.

      minky is legitimately kind of hard to work with. it’s very stretchy. you need to really baste it up good before you start quilting or it will warp & be weird. i used all my basting pins (i have enough for a queen-sized quilt) & it’s only a crib quilt. with all that basting, things went pretty well. i know you like to tie quilts, which would be an easier way of doing a minky back. but yeah, i think the ladies at my quilt shop were just being kind of unnecessarily harsh about minky. i guess that’s why they work in a quilt shop: because they have a lot of opinions. & i did ask, to be fair.

      1. Now that I have a sewing machine that isn’t a total piece of shit, I think I need to start machine quilting! My grandmother is giving me her old walking foot, so I really have no excuse now.

        1. yeah, give it a try! it’s not my favorite thing to do, but i think it produces a more modern result than tying. i really enjoyed hand-quilting ramona’s book quilt though & would definitely try that again.

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