Meet RaNae

Download Photo For Print

Download Photo For Web

Hello and welcome! I'm RaNae Merrill. I'm an award-winning quilter, author and teacher. I'm also a concert pianist and that's what inspired me to create Free-Motion Mastery in a Month, the unique approach to teaching free-motion machine quilting that has become the focus of my quilting endeavors these days.

I sort of stumbled into the quilting world back in 2005 when I took some fabric design ideas to a few fabric manufacturers for feedback. To my surprise, Blank Quilting bought one of the groups I showed them. As I left the meeting, Diana Mancini, the designer I had met with suggested that I go to Quilt Market. That was my first quilt show and it blew my mind! I saw quilts in a totally new way. And I learned that it was possible to make a career of quilting.

I published my first book, Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts, in 2008, inspired by a doodle of a spiral I drew while on a temp job! My "spiral" quilts  have appeared in national shows and magazines, and that book was followed by two more books about spiral quilts: Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts and Sideways Spiral Quilts.  

The day I got my first box of books (back in October 2008) I headed out the door to my first teaching engagement and I've never looked back. In fact, these days it sometimes seems as though I'm at quilt shows and guilds more than I'm home. I've even been invited to teach outside the USA in Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico City. (I lived in Argentina for 1-1/2 years back in the 80's so I actually teach these classes in Spanish.)


Before I was a professional quilter I was a pianist, a photographer and a travel writer. (I have a Master's degree in Piano Performance.)

I began quilting in 1989 (my first year of graduate school), beginning with a half-finished, king-sized quilt my grandmother had been making for me when she died in 1976. When I found a batch of nine-patch squares in a trunk that had belonged to that grandmother, I started making baby quilts for my nieces and nephews, incorporating Grandma’s blocks into each one. When people began praising my designs and suggesting that I quilt professionally, I brushed off the idea as impractical.

Several years later, though, I began to experiment with making some of my travel photographs into fabric designs. I went to ask advice from the head designer at Blank Quilting, and you know the rest of the story.

Today I design quilts and patterns, write quilting books and teach workshops in the USA and abroad -- in both English and Spanish. I still love to travel, though lately it seems like more of a treat to stay home and quilt!

To use photos for print or web: Photos of RaNae for publicity purposes are available by clicking on the links above. (The photos will open in a new browser window. The image for print is rather large and may take a bit of time to open.) Once the image is open, save it to your computer by moving the mouse to the upper left corner and clicking on the Save icon when it appears, or by right-clicking your mouse and selecting "Save Picture As....". When using this photo, please include the photo credit "Photo by Dave Cross."

Want to see what Free-Motion Mastery is all about?