RaNae Merrill

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

So it was a surprise to me when I stumbled into quilting professionally back in 2005. 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,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. 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,my fourth book, is a shift from quilt design to free-motion quilting. It's based on my experience as a pianist and piano teacher. It has been really fun to see people get excited about this unique approach to learning FMQ!

The day I got my first box of books back in October 2008 I walked out the door to my first teaching engagement and I've been teaching ever since.  I've taught throughout the USA, and also in South America (where I teach in Spanish).

Before I was a professional quilter I was a pianist (I have a Master's degree in Piano Performance), a photographer and a travel writer. I still love to travel, though lately it seems like more of a treat to stay home in New York City and quilt!