RaNae Merrill Studio

Quilts. Music, Food. NYC…. and more

Gain up to 4-1/2 extra hours in every day

How often have you said “I wish I could have more time in the day?” Here’s how. Continue reading “Gain up to 4-1/2 extra hours in every day”


A cook’s treasure

Today I went out for a bit to stretch the gimpy leg and get some fresh air — what a pleasure after the pain of the past few weeks!

In NYC where I live, a walk is always an adventure — you never know what magic you might find. Today I passed a free book exchange table and found LaRousse Gastronomique, the definitive history of French cooking written in dictionary/ encyclopedia form.

At first I thought is was written in French and I picked it up for my French friend Sylvie who is my farmshare partner and loves to cook as much as I do. (We became friends when she asked me to teach her to make bread.) But on the bus on the way home, I discovered it is actually written in English. So, of course, I can and will read it! (When I told her what I’d found, Sylvie told me she already has too many cookbooks already anyway.)

One of the wonderful things about used books is that often they have dedications. Here’s the dedication in this one:


Who was “C”? And what was Richard to her? And why did he call her a “saucy wench” (apart from what we can infer was her love of cooking)? I’ll never know, but it makes the book that much more fun!

Body Dynamics & Quilting

Today was my first day of physical therapy. I was a little nervous — I had visions of big muscular men urging me “Don’t stop! Work through the pain!” — but instead what I got was a big heating pad with a little bit of electro-stimulation, then a Graston technique workover of the areas that have been tight and sore. It was relaxing and effective. I am already walking better.

fmm30_frontcover-1Since body dynamics are on my mind today, I want to share the pages from Free-Motion Mastery in a Month that talk about good body position at the sewing machine. Click on the link below to download the 2-page PDF.

Free Motion Mastery in a Month ERGONOMICS PDF

Take care of yourself and happy quilting!

RaNae 🙂

Click on this link if you would like to purchase the book: 
Buy Free-Motion Mastery in a Month

Click on these link for more information about workshops:
Free-Motion Mastery workshops in New York City
Free-Motion Mastery workshop at your guild or show

“Rest” is not a four-letter word

I’m writing this while lying (almost) flat on my back in bed. My hip problems have spiraled downward so much in the past couple of weeks that I was walking with a cane. Today I’m not walking at all. Instead, I’m resting.

What I’m learning from the experience and what I want to share with you is this:
“Rest” is NOT a four-letter word.
Continue reading ““Rest” is not a four-letter word”

Quilt therapy

It has been several weeks since I sent out my last newsletter. During that time I spent about a month on the road teaching at quilt shows and promoting Free-Motion Mastery in a Month. The response so far has been incredibly positive — thank you!

The other reason I’ve been slow at getting a letter done is because I’ve been dealing with some health issues. It seems that while working on FMM30 I spent too much time sitting, which stretched out the ligaments in my back, which then allowed my left hip to dislocate slightly and that has precipitated a whole series of other problems, like nerve pain and spasms in my leg. It has been painful and VERY frustrating!

In the midst of all this, I discovered just how literally quilting can serve as therapy. Continue reading “Quilt therapy”

Harlem Grown makes a quilted “garden”


My new friend Tori Gilbert asked me to help create a quilt project for kids at Harlem Grown, a volunteer organization that teaches children about healthy living through urban gardening. Today was the day and here’s the result!

When Tori told me we would have one hour with about 10 kids aged 6 to 10 and she wanted them to make a quilt I knew we would have to design and prepare the project well. Continue reading “Harlem Grown makes a quilted “garden””

Valentine’s Day – Wings of Love pattern


Each Valentine’s Day since I wrote my first book, Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts, I’ve thought about doing a spiral heart block. Finally this year I sat down the other night and did it. It turned out even better than I had hoped (IMHO). So here, in honor of Valentine’s Day (and a few days early, in case you want to sew it in time for the day) is the pattern:

Wings of Love Spiral Heart Pattern

If you make it, post a photo with #wingsoflovequilt.

I’m going to be at The Fabric Nook in Granby, Colorado from 2:00 to 5:00 on Valentine’s Day (2017) sewing the sample. If you’re in the neighborhood drop by!

As it turns out, I slept quite comfortably with the alligator

This week I spent a couple of nights at the home of my friend Janellea MacBeth. As usually happens when I visit quilting friends, I had a bed covered with a stack of handmade quilts. I was snuggly and warm, but the first night I didn’t sleep as well as I do at home because I missed having my body pillow up against my back.

The next day I asked Jan if she had a couple more pillows I could use as a body pillow. Instead, she offered me a life-size plush alligator! As it turns out, that night I slept quite comfortably with the alligator. And as a bonus, we now have a fun joke to share between us. (And now with you.) Continue reading “As it turns out, I slept quite comfortably with the alligator”

Borrowing and Lending Courage

This week I’m in Winter Park, Colorado for a well-earned of week of skiing. I learned to ski just a few years ago, as an adult, at an age when you’re not “supposed” to learn to do crazy things like fling yourself down a mountainside on a couple of skinny little boards. Learning to ski was scary but exhilarating.

When I was in music school, I had a violinist friend who had five daughters, all of whom became professional string players. She said something to me once that I have never forgotten: “Always play with people who are better than you.” Of course, this would challenge me to become good enough to play with them at the same time that I learned from them. Continue reading “Borrowing and Lending Courage”

Blog at

Up ↑