May was a whirlwind of travel! We had four graduations and a wedding in the family, plus a vacation and teaching.

I had a great time teaching two classes and giving a lecture to the West Michigan Quilters Guild at the end of the month. My students had fun creating their own Fire and Ice Bargello quilts on the first day. This is one of the few classes I teach that actually has a pattern, and it’s fun to see how different each one turns out using different combinations of fabrics. Sometimes there are interesting secondary patterns that happen, depending on the design configurations in each fabric.

Collage of Bargello class quilts - Cindy Grisdela

Student Quilts from Bargello class at West Michigan Quilters Guild May 2019

I gave my Playing with Colors lecture that night, then taught Artful Improv the next day. Artful Improv is one of my most popular classes, where we use several of my improvisational techniques to create original art quilts with no patterns and no rules, except the ones we set for ourselves. Each quilt is different from the others, and different from mine as well, which is part of the excitement of it. Some students used solids, some used prints, and some used a combination–it’s great to see the different interpretations!

Student Quilts from Artful Improv class at West Michigan Quilt Guild May 2019

I flew home that night to do laundry and repack for a trip to Atlanta the next day. You may ask why I did that instead of flying directly to Atlanta from Michigan, but I’d only spent about four nights at home the entire month previous and I just wanted to see my family and sleep in my own bed. Plus I was teaching three different classes in Atlanta and needed different quilts to show.

The event in Atlanta was called STITCHES United and it was primarily a knitting and crochet show, which included some quilting. It was my first time doing this event. I was honored to be asked to put up an exhibit of 18 of my quilts on the show floor and it was fun to see them all hanging together!

Exhibit of Cindy Grisdela Quilts May 2019

Cindy Grisdela Exhibit at STITCHESUnited May 2019

All of the quilts in the exhibit are either from my Artful Improv book, or use techniques described in the book.

I taught three classes, gave two artist talks, and did two book signings in two days!

I didn’t have time to take many pictures, but below are two student blocks from my Focus on the Improv Block class. Each one has it’s own personality!

Student Improv Block Atlanta 2019 – Cindy Grisdela


Blue Student Improv Block Atlanta 2019 – Cindy Grisdela


Our big family news is our older son’s graduation from medical school. He’s been in Los Angeles at USC for the last four years, and he’s beginning a residency in orthopedic surgery in Boston this month. We’re very proud of him and all he’s accomplished. That’s my younger son Matt on the right–he’s a scenic carpenter for a theater in DC, and my husband Phil in the middle. I don’t usually post personal pictures on the blog, but this was a special day!

Family graduation photo

Son Phil’s medical school graduation May 2019 – Cindy Grisdela


After graduation, we took a family trip to American Samoa to visit the National Park there. Our family has been on a quest for over 20 years to visit all of the US National Parks–there were 47 when we started and there are 61 now. We have about six left!

American Samoa is a US territory located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, so it’s a bit of a trek to get there–easier from LA than Virginia though! We had a great time. On the way back we also visited Pearl Harbor, which is a National Memorial, and Pinnacles National Park in California–one of the newer ones we missed on our earlier swing through California parks.

2019 National Parks visited – American Samoa, Pearl Harbor, Pinnacles – Cindy Grisdela


The top three photos, plus the bottom right one,  in the collage above are from American Samoa, the bottom left one is a sculpture at Pearl Harbor, and the middle bottom is a vista from a hike we took at Pinnacles. Some of the photos I took from the trip may end up in a quilt at some point.

It was an exciting, busy month–thanks for reading. Also, my niece got married, a nephew graduated from college, and a niece and a nephew graduated from high school–fortunately all of those were in Florida, and some of them were the same weekend! Next time I’ll write about where I am now–my third visit to the Nancy Crow Barn in Ohio. Stay tuned.