Welcome to the Sideways Spiral Quilts Blog!

unnamedThis blog is the online accompaniment to RaNae Merrill’s books Sideways Spiral Quilts: Design and Sew Chains, Ropes & Ribbons.

You can buy Sideways Spiral Quilts on my store’s website, on CreateSpace, and on Amazon.

In the book, my “spiromania” continues and this time I’m looking at spirals from a new angle –the side!  Picture ropes, licorice twists, DNA, even the thread you sew with – these are all spirals.  Sideways Spiral Quilts explore ways to use ropes, chains and ribbons in quilt designs, and teach you how to easily draw and sew them.  Make “charm bracelet” quilts, table runners and banners simply and quickly using fusible applique and bias tape.

This blog began as the “laboratory” for the books.  A few dozen adventurous quilters agreed to take the draft instructions, apply their imagination and skill, and create their own original quilts. This was the forum where we all shared ideas, asked questions, encouraged each other and celebrated the finished quilts.  Each quilter has her or his own studio page where you can follow their progress from design to finished quilt. You might also want to do a search for that person’s name to pull up their posts.

Also find here the downloadable resources referred to in the books.

This blog may be updated occasionally from time to time with news about the quilts and quiltmakers listed here – scroll down below this “sticky” post to see the most recent posts.  However, RaNae’s most up-to-date and complete news is posted on her blog at https://ranaemerrillquilts.wordpress.com/and on her website at http://www.ranaemerrillquilts.com/

Happy Quilting!  ~  RaNae🙂


In case you are viewing this on a tablet and it does not allow you to see the right column, use this list below to access the pages. (My thanks to Nienke Smit for creating this list.) You might also try changing the resolution of the screen to allow the full page to display.


Alphabets for Charms




scrapbox explosion 001

Sideways Spiral Quilts, Book 1: Chains & Ropes was sent off to the designer today.  And I received an email from Linda Upp with this picture of the promotion for her local quilt show featuring the quilt she made for the book.

Here’s what Linda had to say:

Just had to share.  Just got home from the Rising Sun show.  My Spiral Mandala – Late Bloomers – got the Judges’ Choice Award!!  Scrapbox Explosion got Honorable mention!  And you started it all:)  Thanks!
I’ll send you a picture of the billboard with my quilt on it next year.  I figure this will be like hunting the Mail Pouch Tobacco barns – looking for the billboards with my quilt on it!🙂
Happy Quilting!

Linda, I couldn’t be happier for you – and thanks for the fireworks!

IMG_0356 Scrapbox Explosion 600 pix DS

Betsy Vinegrad’s “Spare Change” at QuiltCon

Betsy Sideways SpiralsThis is Betsy Vinegrad’s quilt Spare Change that she entered in QuiltCon 2015. It was accepted.  Yay Betsy!

Well, you know how some things just go spiraling out of control?  This did — in a good way!

While Betsy was at the show, she did a “Tell it at the Quilt Show” video interview about Spare Change with the American Alliance for Quilts.  Fine…..

Then that interview popped up on The Quilt Show’s weekly blog.  Click here to see the interview.  What a wonderful surprise!

Congratulations Betsy and thank you Alex and Ricky at The Quilt Show!

Getting Finished

I thought I should show RaNae that I’m still working. Pink Fibonacci spiral is finished-I tried to add some sparkle in the center like you suggested. Remember the beautiful hand-dyed fabric with which I was going to do another charm spiral? Sad story-near the end I added too much conflicting design- it is now in the trash. But I started again with another idea. Somehow I remember RaNae saying that the “charms” that the “chains” encircle could be a whole block. So again, I went with a very simple design. This photo is not recent- it now has all its B+W charms around the perimeter and is mostly quilted. Will maybe add a touch more green, probably near circle. Any suggestions? Robin G.ctr fuchsiatwist of lime

On Their Way to RaNae on Monday (toooo much rhyming)

“Spiral Reef features coils for the sea serpent and kelp (thought it looks much more kelp-y, RaNae), variation on the rope for the fishing line to the machine-embroidered hook’n’worm, the fused rope with hemp replacing the bias with the machine-embroidered anchor (filled with glitter paint).  There’s more kelp quilted in, as well as detail on the serpent; all the non-fish critters have antennae quilted in metallic gold.  Look carefully top left and right and bottom right center to see loop-de-loop critters quilted in, too.  The spiral snail, spiral-inspired fish and sea serpent are hand-appliqued onto the background

“Spiral Reef” has a friend – “Stars & Spirals”.  I decided to set the spiral blocks with stars and excerpts from the Preamble to the Constitution in the charms top and bottom.SpiralReef10-31-2014 StarsAndSpirals10-31-2014