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“Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts” by RaNae Merrill

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Recently featured on an episode of TheQuiltShow.com, Merrill has published two books on this topic. The first, “Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts”, is a quilting best seller and her second book promises to follow suit. After reading the book, it comes as no surprise that Merrill’s favorite toy as a child was the Kenner Spirograph. To this day, she begins the design process with paper and pencil, doodling and sketching ideas until something gels for her.

The quilts pictured in the book are stunning and look far more complicated than they actually are.  All are foundation pieced; the book includes a CD-ROM to print the templates for projects included in the book.  Experience with paper piecing is useful, but not entirely necessary as Merrill provides instructions for her method of paper piecing. The book is not for quilting beginners as joining the paper-pieced sections requires experience beyond that level in my opinion.

There are lengthy and precise instructions and diagrams if you wish to draft your own spiral mandala quilt. I thought to make one of the quilts from the book “some day”, but a recent project that has large diamond shaped sections with appliqué that I don’t care for, had me thinking of an alternative to fill the space. I grabbed paper, pencil, and ruler and set to work drafting a nesting spiral in a diamond shape. It was actually quite simple to do and the result is a cool looking alternative to the block I didn’t care for.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes to try new techniques and is up for a bit of a challenge. The results will be dramatic.