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Meeting Day Program

May 8, 2025

May 2025

RaNae Merrill began quilting in 1989 (her first year of graduate school) by  finishing a quilt her grandmother had been making for me when she died in  1976. (It turned out to be king-size and she hand quilted the whole  thing!) Later she found a batch of nine-patch squares in a trunk that had  belonged to her grandmother which she started using to make baby quilts for her nieces and nephews. When people began praising her designs and suggesting  that she quilt professionally, she brushed off the idea as impractical.

So it was a surprise to ReNae when she stumbled into  quilting professionally back in 2005. She took some fabric design ideas to  a few fabric manufacturers for feedback. To her surprise, Blank Quilting  bought one of the groups she showed them. As she left the meeting, the  designer she had met with suggested that she go to Quilt Market in  Houston. RaNae ended up at Quilt Festival and that was her first quilt show.  It blew my mind! She saw quilts in a totally new way. And she learned that  it was possible to make a career of quilting.

RaNae published her first book, Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts, in  2008, inspired by a doodle of a spiral she drew while on a temp job. That  book was followed by two more books about spiral quilts: Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts and Sideways Spiral Quilts.

Free-Motion Mastery in a Month, her fourth book, is a shift from quilt design to free-motion quilting. It's  based on her experience as a pianist and piano teacher. Who knew when she started taking piano lessons at age 4 (and eventually got a Master's  Degree in Piano Performance) that it would lead to teaching free-motion  quilting?!  For RaNae, it has been really fun to see  people  get excited about  this unique approach to learning FMQ! 

The day RaNae got the first box of books back in October 2008 she walked out  the door to her first teaching engagement and she has been teaching ever  since.  She has taught throughout the USA, and also in South America (where  she teaches in Spanish).

Somewhere in all of that, RaNae also worked for a few years as a  photographer and a travel writer. She still loves to travel, though lately  it seems like more of a treat to stay home and explore New York City!   She enjoys getting out into nature to hike, kayak, ski and watch meteor  showers.

Program: RaNae Merrill

Get to know RaNae in this lecture/trunk show as she shares her spiral  quilts and demonstrates different types of spirals and settings.  Includes an easy hands-on demonstration of how to draw a spiral.

Workshops by RaNae Merrill

May 9: "Magic Mirror Mandala"

Class Fee $20

Use a simple spiral variation on the Log Cabin block to make a Magic Mirror Mandala Quilt -- in one day you'll go from mystery to mastery! In the morning we'll use a "wedge puzzle" to design your own unique version of the quilt shown; in the afternoon you'll start sewing spirals.

The class materials kit is required, and includes all of the class instructions, pre-printed templates and foundations used in class, instructions for completing the quilt, and a package of translucent foundation material.  My book Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts is recommended and will be available for purchase at the workshop. You must have a set of hinged mirrors at least 8" x 10."

About paper piecing: Spirals are sewn using paper piecing (also called foundation piecing). If you don't know how to do it, you'll learn in class. If you have done it before but didn't like it, don't worry: I have solutions for most of the things you dread, like not being able to see lines, having your design reversed and having to tear out paper when you're done. Don't let paper piecing stop you from taking this class -- try my way and I'm confident that you'll like it!

RaNae Merril - Magic Mirror Mandala class
Download PDF • 1.14MB

May 10: "Haiku+Quilt=Haikuilt"

Class Fee $10

What is a haikuilt? It is a small art quilt that accompanies and expresses a haiku -- the ancient Japanese form of poetry best known for its 3-line, 17-syllable structure. There is far more to haiku than just counting syllables: haiku express a subtle fusion between nature and human experience. 

The Workshop: We begin with learning about haiku from old Japanese masters and some of the best contemporary English-language poets. Then, taking inspiration from  their haiku or one of your own, you'll make a haikuilt to accompany and interpret it. The quilt can use piecing, English paper piecing, fusing, applique, machine quilting, handwork, embroidery, embellishments, found objects, etc. Rather than exploring a specific technique or design, this class is an opportunity to explore, relax and let your creativity flow. And since the quilt is small, you're likely to finish it in class.

It is recommended that students learn about Haiku poems prior to class.

To read about how to write haiku visit

RaNae Merril - Haikuilt class
Download PDF • 890KB

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