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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 5 years ago

Plymouth Harbor resident stitches new hobby

Cynda Grenfell's quilt work is on display through the end of July, at Plymouth Harbor.
by: Kristen Herhold Community Editor

For Plymouth Harbor resident Cynda Grenfell, it’s never too late to find a new passion.

Grenfell, who is in her 80s, developed her hobby of quilting just 12 years ago living in Santa Fe, N.M. She moved to Sarasota three-and-a-half years ago and has created more than 250 quilt pieces. Some of her work is on display at Plymouth Harbor’s Wellness Center through the end of July.

“She’s really been an artist her entire life,” her daughter, Longboat Key resident Liz Yerkes, said. “She’s done pottery, sculpting, watercolors, she was really into knitting for many years. The quilt show shows people a different side of her, people who didn’t realize how creative she is.”

Most of Grenfell’s work on display is from more than five years ago, when she gave up her hobby after a diagnosis of leukemia. However, she is now beginning to quilt again by completing her previously unfinished pieces.

“I have new inspiration on those older ones,” Grenfell said. “They’re not being finished as they would have been a few years ago if I did finish them then. It’s ever evolving.”

The show features 15 quilts of different sizes, and Grenfell has sold six.

“It’s just perfect, seeing other people enjoy my quilts so much,” Grenfell said.

Grenfell has also made quilts for her family and other loved ones.

“They’re definitely one of a kind and very unique,” Yerkes said. “I’ll look at one and just love it and think that’s my favorite, and then I’ll look at another one and like that one even better.”

Grenfell’s quilts are done with different techniques. Some are pieced together and others are painted and embroidered.

“I have a pretty good idea of the end result, but the details get filled in when I look at fabrics,” Grenfell said. “It’s not like landscape painting. You can change things as you go along. I get inspired from all sorts of things ... Once it’s finished, you just say, ‘Hi, I’m so glad you happened.’”

When Grenfell finishes her older quilts, she plans to begin making new ones. In the meantime, she’s relishing in her Plymouth Harbor neighbors enjoying her show.

“Here, some people need some extra happy every once in a while,” she said. “My intention is to make people happier.”


“Morning Mist”

"Morning Mist"

This piece combines many of Grenfell’s quilting techniques.

“It’s really my favorite combination of everything I’ve done,” Grenfell said. “It has appliqué netting to change surfaces to different things I like.”


“Rough Seas”

"Rough Seas"

Grenfell was inspired to create this piece when four hurricanes hit the Florida Gulf Coast in 2004.

“Sometimes, I get inspired by current events,” Grenfell said. “I made this one for my daughter, Liz, during the year of the four hurricanes.”


“Orbits 5”

"Orbits 5"

Grenfell combined her love of quilting and watercolor with “Orbits 5.”

“I thought, ‘Let’s try something different,’” she said. “I used fabric paint and just filled in the colors. It’s remarkable.”


“Nebula 3”

"Nebula 3"

Grenfell completed this piece with embroidery.

“I started with quilts that are pieced, then I moved onto painted and decorated ones, then I did a couple embroidered and appliqué ones,” she said.

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