RaNae Merrill Studio

Quilts. Music, Food. NYC…. and more

Quilt-on-the-Go Tip #1: Piece from your Purse

Hey Quilting Friends!

fmm30_frontcover-1After 22 years of living in NYC without a car, I’ve bought a minivan so I can visit quilt shops and quilt shows. That is how excited I am about Free-Motion Mastery in a Month — I want to share it with you in person and watch you catch the vision of how easy it is to learn to do machine quilting.

My first road trip starts in just a week and a half — July 10-12, 2017. I’m driving from NYC to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. (Isn’t that appropriate?!) More details about that below.

Are you traveling this summer as well? Over next few posts I’ll share my favorite tips for quilting on the go. 

Tip #1 – Piece from your Purse Continue reading “Quilt-on-the-Go Tip #1: Piece from your Purse”


Free-Motion Mastery is hitting the road!

IMAG1970fmm30_frontcover-1Meet my new Quilt-mobile!  Yes, after 22 years of living in NYC without a car, I bought this 2001 Honda Odyssey so I can visit quilt shops and quilt shows. That is how excited I am about Free-Motion Mastery in a Month — I want to share it with you in person and watch you catch the vision of how easy it is to learn to do machine quilting.

My first road trip starts in just a week and a half — July 10-12. I’m driving from NYC to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. (Isn’t that appropriate?!)

If you have a group of quilters or own a shop or have a favorite shop along the way (click here for a map) and would like me to stop for a demo or workshop, please email me at or click here. As I set up stops along the way, I’ll post the stores and times here, so check back to see your favorite store added to the list!

I’ll be looking for places to stay overnight along the way for the nights of July 10 and 11, so if you have a guest room, or can recommend a beautiful camp ground or a charming B&B along the way, let me know!

Summer 2017 Road Trip Visits – Demos and Workshops

Tuesday, July 11 – Stow and Akron, OH: I expect to camp at West Branch State Park near Akron Ohio on Monday night, then Tuesday morning I’ll stop in at Sew Deja Vu in Stow (probably around 10 am) and Ohio Star Quilts in Akron (probably around 11 am). I plan to be back on the road toward Paducah by noon,

July 13-15 – Paducah, KY:National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY.  A 3-day Spiral Mandalas workshop — plenty of time to really delve in, work out a gorgeous design and get a big piece of it done. This is a rare opportunity to do multi-day workshop, so don’t miss it!

Week of July 24 – Denver: I’ve been in touch with some stores around the Denver area about visits during that week so stay tuned for details.

After Denver I’ll be looping down toward Tennessee, so if you have any suggestions for stops along the way, email me.

August 8 -, Pigeon Forge, TN: Kathie Weatherford is putting together a Free-Motion Mastery workshop. Details are being finalized now. If you missed my class at A Mountain Quiltfest back in March, this is your chance! I’ll put details in my next email and on my Facebook page. Or email me using the button above and I’ll forward your info to Kathie.

I’ve received several store recommendations in the Pittsburgh area — stay tuned for more details. And send along suggestions for stops between Pigeon Forge and Pittsburgh!

I”ll be back in NYC by August 11, and then just a few days later I’m back on the road to:

August 17-19, Manchester NH: World Quilt New England.I’m back in New Hampshire in August, so for those of you who couldn’t get into my Free-Motion Mastery class at MQX, here’s another chance! I’ll also be teaching my classic Spiral Rose class and Magnificent Spiral Mandalas.


See you on the road!

Happy quilting ~ RaNae

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!

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑