"Box of Marbles" unquilted top Cindy Grisdela 2011

My son is home from college for his spring break, so I may not be able to get my blog posts up every single day for the next week or so, but rest assured I’m working on the project every day!

“Box of Marbles” is the top for Day 10–I’m a third of the way through! I’m intrigued by this Marbles theme, probably at least as much because of the name as because of the design. You may recognize this design as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional drunkard’s path design. I’ve used improvisational cutting and piecing techniques so the curves don’t match up, which is the way I like it. This piece also uses a slightly different color scheme than my usual–no red and no blue. Believe me, I tried to put them in and they didn’t work!

Most of the fabrics I’m using for this challenge are hand-dyed by Cherrywood Fabrics. I went a couple of weekends ago to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA and added significantly to my supply of these fabrics for the project. They have such beautiful saturated colors and a suede-like feel to the fabric that they’re a joy to work with. These fabrics are from that new purchase, so they needed to be washed and ironed before I used them to remove any excess dye. I spent quite a while yesterday morning ironing the fabrics before I cut into them. While ironing is not my favorite pastime, it is somewhat meditative and I got to think about what I wanted to do with these wonderful colors.

When someone asks me “How long did it take you to make that?,” I understand that they want to have a dialogue with me about the creative process. But it’s difficult to quantify the large amounts of time I spend thinking about a design or a particular color combination before I actually cut and sew any fabric. The amount of time it takes to accomplish the technical construction of a piece is often only a fraction of the time I’ve spent imagining what I want to create and how to realize the vision in my head. Then once I begin the process of cutting and sewing, sometimes what I put up on the design wall initially changes as I add more elements. That has happened several times during this project, and it’s one of the things I enjoy most about creating my work!

If you’re new to the project, I challenged myself to create one art quilt a day for the month of March. Each piece is 16″x20,” uses only solid fabrics, and is entirely pieced by machine, not fused. I’ll choose the best of them, quilt them and mount them on stretcher bars, and show them in an exhibit later this year. I’m posting nearly every day on my progress, so check back often! My inspiration was fellow artist Jill Banks deciding in January to paint 100 faces in 100 days. Click on her name to see her progress as well.



  1. brenda drake on March 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Cindy. I am in awe of your new work and your dedication. The designs and colors are stunning. I am inspired by your progress. Kudos to you.

    • Cindy on March 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Brenda, Thanks so much for your kind words! I’m enjoying the process much more than I even realized.

  2. Eleanor Samuels on March 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

    This is beautiful. You keep outdoing yourself. I love the colors and the overall effect. You named it just right. I can see a box of colorful marbles. Tell Matt hi for me and enjoy his visit. Love you, MOM