‘Spiral Maniac’ quilter to hold lecture, workshop in Granby
Ryan Summerlin March 4, 2014
RaNae Merrill is an award-winning quilter, author and teacher. Her unique “spiral” quilts have appeared in national shows and magazines, and her two books “Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts” and “Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts” have already become quilting classics.
RaNae found her calling as a professional quilter after previous careers as a pianist, a photographer and a travel writer. (She holds both bachelor and master degrees in piano performance from University of Southern California and UCLA respectively.)
She began quilting in 1989, beginning with a half-finished, king-sized quilt her grandmother had been making for her when she died in 1976. When she found a batch of nine-patch squares in a trunk that had belonged to that grandmother, she started making baby quilts for her nieces and nephews, incorporating Grandma’s blocks into each one. (These are the Grandma’s Nine-Patch quilts in her gallery.) When people began praising her designs and suggesting that she quilt professionally, she brushed off the idea as impractical.
Several years later, she began to experiment with making some of her travel photographs into fabric designs. When she went to ask advice, the head designer at Blank Quilting bought one of the lines, and suggested that she attend Quilt Market, where she was astonished to discover that being a professional quilter could, indeed, be a rewarding career.
Today RaNae designs quilts and patterns, writes quilting books and teaches workshops in the USA and abroad — in both English and Spanish. She still loves to travel.
“One of my students wrote to me at the end of a project and said ‘I never thought I could do anything like this. You’ve changed my life.’ Moments like that are when I get the greatest joy from quilting.”
Merrill’s three-hour workshop in Granby will teach quilters the techniques behind an original Baravelle spiral block. The workshop is open to all skill levels of quilters with basic sewing skills. There is a $5 materials fee per student.