RaNae Merrill Studio

Quilts. Music, Food. NYC…. and more

Welcome to my studio!

Come on in and share my news, projects, ideas, tips, and just stuff I like. Mostly it’s about quilting, but it includes a little of all other the things I’m passionate about too: cooking, playing the piano, living in NYC, haiku and the outdoors.

Here are few links that will pull up collections of posts about a particular topic (I’ll be adding more of these from time to time):

Haikuilts: Click here to see these exquisite little art quilts from my class Haiku + Quilt = Haikuilt


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Bernina - We All Sew

Featured post

On the Cover of American Quilter!

See that headline “6 simple shapes to Free Motion Mastery”? That’s me! Read about Free-Motion Mastery in a Month in the March issue of American Quilter magazine. I’ll be at AQS QuiltWeek in Lancaster and Paducah. If you can’t make it to the shows, you can learn more about Free-Motion Mastery when you click here.

I’m dancing to “On the cover of The Rolling Stone”! ūüôā

Wishing you happy quilting!  ~ RaNae

The Mud Dinner

black bean soup

Last winter when I was in Colorado skiing, I had some friends over for dinner. Looking for a fairly inexpensive but satisfying way to feed a large crowd, I decided to make a pot of black bean soup from a WONDERFUL recipe I found on

Here’s the recipe:¬†

(And be SURE to make the relish!)

Continue reading “The Mud Dinner”

The New Website is LIVE!

Same address — —¬†but totally new look. I did this to have room to host lots of information, educational videos, live webinars and more. Sign up to get the Free-Motion Mastery Getting Started Guide (the sign-up box will pop up when you visit the site) and you’ll be the first to hear about all the exciting developments.

Early 2018 will see the launch of the affiliate store and certified teacher programs. And watch for some exciting new Free-Motion Mastery events later in the year.

I am so grateful to all of you who have taken this journey with me, so grateful to be part of an industry and a community where home and friendship and caring are valued and celebrated.

Thank you and happy quilting!


Leafy herbs: How to get the leaves off the stems in 2 seconds or less


Cooking, not quilting, today. I love cilantro in Mexican and Asian food, but you know how tedious it is to sit there are pick the leaves off the stems. Same goes for parsley and basil. Well, here’s a trick I discovered by accident, but it’s so amazing now I do it on purpose. Continue reading “Leafy herbs: How to get the leaves off the stems in 2 seconds or less”

To Quilt, or Not to Not Quilt

I’m back home in New York from my 5-week, 7000-mile road trip across the USA (though only for a couple of days: this weekend — August 17-19, 2017 — I’ll be at World Quilt Festival in New Hampshire.) ¬†Journeys like this often become journeys of the soul as well. Sometimes we set out with a purpose in mind, other times the purpose becomes apparent to us during or after the trip. I’d like to share what came out of this journey for me in hopes that it will inspire you.¬†And as I like to do, I’ll relate it to quilting. Continue reading “To Quilt, or Not to Not Quilt”

Quilt-on-the-Go Tip #4: A Quilting Satchel

When I first moved to NYC, I was in the middle of hand-quilting a queen size double wedding ring quilt. tI sat around waiting for years until one day I decided that the only way I was going to get it done was to go back to quilting while I commuted. I made this¬†shoulder satchel large enough for that queen size quilt with a pocket for my hand quilting tools.¬†Then I packed in a 14″ lap hoop, the quilt, needles, thread, thimble and small scissors,¬†and took off. I quilted on¬†the subway, at tango parties, in cars, everywhere I could grab a few minutes. I finished that whole quilt in 8 months, and as a side benefit, it started a lot of interesting conversations! I even met a quilter from South Africa on the subway who invited me to come and teach in Johannesburg!

Happy quilting!  ~ RaNae

Quilt-on-the-Go Tip #3: Press with a Seam Roller

Hey Quilting Friends!

I’m packing up to leave on my road trip this Monday! The van got an oil change and new rear shock absorbers on Thursday and I fixed the broken hose to the windshield squirters myself with duct tape!

While I’m packing, here’s another of my favorite tips for quilting on the go.

Tip #3 РPress with a Seam Roller
This is one of my favorite tools of ALL TIME. The barrel-shaped roller presses seam open, creases binding strips and more.  I use it more than I use my iron, and it works every bit as well. (I prefer it over finger-pressing or one of those little wooden pressing tools, because both stretch and wear the fabric.) Click on the photo to purchase one (or more). For best results, be sure to hold it with your thumb up (click here to see how).



See you on the road!

Happy quilting!  ~ RaNae

Quilt-on-the-Go Tip #2: Paper-Piece by Hand

Hey Quilting Friends!

I’m busy preparing and packing for my road trip¬†— I’m leaving this Monday,¬†July 10!¬†I‚Äôm¬†driving from NYC to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, then on to Colorado where I plan to visit a number of stores to promote¬†Free-Motion Mastery in a Month¬†. (Keep reading….)

Here is #2 of my favorite tips for quilting on the go.

Tip #2 – Paper Piece by Hand Continue reading “Quilt-on-the-Go Tip #2: Paper-Piece by Hand”

Protected: BERNINA Tip #1: 2-sided binding

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