Derby Day Medallion Quilt

Derby Medallion Quilt-5

I'm excited to be today's stop on Melissa Mortenson's Derby Day fabrics blog tour. Not only is Melissa an amazing fabric designer for Riley Blake, but she is an avid and productive blogger over at the Polka Dot Chair. You definitely need to check out her blog as it is chock-full of great tutorials and cute ideas. And, just so you know, she took these amazing photos of my quilt with the horses! I mean, really. How cool! (The other quilts shown can be found on her blog.)

Derby Medallion Quilt-13

But, back to the fabrics.... Melissa and I share a hometown and, as such, it is no surprise that these fabrics hold a soft spot in my heart. They are all about the feeling, excitement and pageantry that is the Kentucky Derby and they are in the happiest shades of blue, pink and green! I am particularly smitten with the large scale florals and those hexagons that remind me of vintage bathroom tile. I can see so many uses for all these great prints.

Derby Medallion Quilt-14

When Melissa asked me if I would make a quilt using her Derby Day fabrics, I immediately said yes. This was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how to design a medallion quilt using one of the center medallions and a variety of blocks that are included in Make Your Own Medallion. When I decided to write this book, it was important to me that the book was more than a collection of quilt patterns. I wanted it to be a resource that you could use to create a medallion design of your very own. It's the book that I was looking for when I set out to make my first medallion quilt and didn't know where to start. Make Your Own Medallion gives you all the tools you need to mix and match blocks to come up with a unique quilt of your own. That's exactly what I did to make the Derby Day Medallion Quilt and today I am sharing the pattern so you can make one, too!

Derby Medallion Quilt-9

To make the Derby Day Medallion Quilt, you will need:

Make Your Own Medallion

Fabric A:  1 1/2 yards Riley Blake Designs White with Navy Pindot (for background and binding)
Fabric B:  1/2 yard Floral Garland Pink (hexagon)
Fabric C:  1/4 yard or Fat Quarter Horses Navy
Fabric D:  1/2 yard Derby Main Green (floral)
Fabric E:  3/4 yard Haberdashery Blue
Fabric F:  1/4 yard or Fat Quarter Accessories Green
Fabric G:  3/8 yard Ribbon Blue (periwinkle color)
Fabric H:  1 1/8 yard Cross My Heart Pink- from Shine Bright Fabric Line by Simple Simon for Riley Blake Designs

Finished Size: 52 1/2'' x 52 1/2''


Center Medallion: Cut and sew the Spinning Star medallion on page 82 of Make Your Own Medallion using Fabrics A, B, C and D.

Border 1:

1. Cut (2) strips 2'' x WOF from Fabric H. Sub-cut these into (2) strips 2'' x 12 1/2'' and (2) strips 2'' x 15 1/2''.

2. Sew (1) 2'' x 12 1/2'' strip to each the left and right sides of the center medallion. Press the seams towards Border 1. Sew (1) 2'' x 15 1/2'' strip to each the top and bottom edge of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 1.

Border 2:

3. Cut and sew (16) 3'' finished Equal-Triangles from Fabrics A and E following the instructions on page 34.

4. Cut and sew (4) 3'' finished Rails from Fabrics A and F following the instructions on page 30.

5. Cut and sew (4) 3'' finished Plus blocks from Fabrics A and F following the instructions on page 31.

6. Construct the left and right borders as indicated and sew to the side edges of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 1.


7. Construct the top and bottom borders as indicated and sew to the top and bottom edges of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 1.


Border 3:

8. Cut (4) strips 2'' x WOF from Fabric H. Sub-cut these into (2) strips 2'' x 21 1/2'' and (2) strips 2'' x 24 1/2''.

9. Sew (1) 2'' x 21 1/2'' strip to each the left and right sides of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 3. Sew (1) 2'' x 24 1/2'' strip to each the top and bottom edge of the quilt top. Press seams towards Border 3.

Border 4:

10. Cut and sew (16) 4'' finished Pinwheel blocks from Fabrics A and G following the instructions on page 57.

11. Cut (4) 4 1/2'' x 8 1/2'' rectangles from Fabric B.

12. Cut (4) 4 1/2'' x 4 1/2'' squares from Fabric C.

13. Construct the left and right borders as indicated and sew to the side edges of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 3.


14. Construct the top and bottom borders as indicated and sew to the top and bottom edges of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 3.


Border 5:

15. Cut (4) strips 2 1/2'' x WOF from Fabric H. Sub-cut these into (2) strips 2 1/2'' x 32 1/2'' and (2) strips 2 1/2'' x 36 1/2''.

16. Sew (1) 2 1/2'' x 32 1/2'' strip to each the left and right sides of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 5. Sew (1) 2 1/2'' x 36 1/2'' strip to each the top and bottom edge of the quilt top. Press seams towards Border 5.

Border 6:

17. Cut and sew (16) 6'' finished House blocks from Fabrics A and E following the instructions on page 55.

18. Cut (4) 6 1/2'' x 12 1/2'' rectangles from Fabric D.

19. Cut (4) 6 1/2'' x 6 1/2'' squares from Fabric B.

20. Construct the left and right borders as indicated and sew to the side edges of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 5.


21. Construct the top and bottom borders as indicated and sew to the top and bottom edges of the quilt top. Press the seams towards Border 5.


Border 7:

22. Cut (5) strips 2 1/2'' x WOF from Fabric H. Sub-cut (4) strips to measure 2 1/2'' x 42 1/2''. Sub-cut remaining (1) strip into (2) strips 2 1/2'' x 6 1/2'' and (2) strips 2 1/2'' x 10 1/2''.

23. To make the side borders (2 1/2'' x 48 1/2''): Sew (1) 2 1/2'' x 42 1/2'' strip to each of the (2) 2 1/2'' x 6 1/2'' strips. Press the seam towards one side. Sew (1) border to each the left and right edges of the quilt top. Press seams towards Border 7.

24. To make the top and bottom borders (2 1/2'' x 52 1/2''): Sew (1) 2 1/2'' x 42 1/2'' strip to each of the (2) 2 1/2'' x 10 1/2'' strips. Press the seam towards the side. Sew (1) border to each the top and bottom edge of the quilt top. Press seams towards Border 7.


25. Sandwich, baste and quilt as desired. (I used free-motion loops.)

26. Cut (6) strips 2 1/2'' x WOF from Fabric A for double-fold binding. Bind quilt in your preferred method.

Derby Medallion Quilt-2

If you make the Derby Day Medallion quilt, I'd love to see your version! Tag me (@houseonhillroad) and Melissa (@polkadotchair) on Instagram and use the hashtags #makeyourownmedallion #derbydayfabrics .

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I'm a guest on the Crafty Planner Podcast

Erin Harris Graphic

Popping in to let you know that I am this week's guest on the Crafty Planner Podcast. I was lucky to meet Sandi in real life at QuiltCon and was thrilled when she asked me to come on the podcast. We talk about Make Your Own Medallion and the story of how it came to be as well as why I cut up my Kona color card and being blind in one eye. You can listen on Sandi's site or wherever you listen to podcasts. I hope you will give it a listen. Thanks!

Make Your Own Medallion: Centerpiece


Centerpiece quilt by house on hill road

photograph by Page and Pixel

Hey there! For those of you going to QuiltCon, I will have a book signing for Make Your Own Medallion at the Lucky Spool booth TOMORROW (Thursday, February 22nd) at 1:30 pm. Come by and say hello! I will be walking the floor on Thursday and Friday with Fatty (yes, he's coming, too!) so if you see me, please introduce yourself. I am excited to go - this will be my third QuiltCon. I am not taking any classes. The main reason I am going is to see my quilt, Centerpiece, hang in the show.


Centerpiece styled

photograph by Page and Pixel

Centerpiece was one of the first quilts I designed for Make Your Own Medallion. I wanted to show that while medallion quilts are mostly traditional, they can also be modern. To do that, I made sure to include a lot of negative space and solid fabrics. The flying geese and half square triangles nod to tradition, but make a strong graphic statement. Don't let all those pieces intimidate you! Most of the piecing is done in the center and one border and can be easily chain-pieced, making it come together faster than you'd think. That kind of sewing is meditative to me - I just put on a podcast or music and get in a groove. If that is not your thing, you can swap different blocks in and really make this your own.

I'm super excited to see Centerpiece hanging at QuiltCon. I'll be sure to post photos over on Instagram while we are there. But now, I need to finish packing for my flight that leaves in about 3 hours! If you will be at QuiltCon and are still waiting to get your own copy of Make Your Own Medallion, they will be for sale at the Lucky Spool booth. For those of you staying home, you can grab one in my shop or at Amazon (affiliate link).  If you make Centerpiece or any other project from the book, please use the hashtag #makeyourownmedallion and tag me so I can see YOUR medallions!


Make Your Own Medallion: Studio Window

Studio window quilt by erin burke harris

photograph by Page and Pixel

As I was thinking about what order to showcase the quilts from my new book, Make Your Own Medallion, it seemed fitting to start at the beginning. Studio Window started as a 12'' block that I drew with a pencil and ruler on a piece of copy paper. After I had finished it, I had the idea of making it into a center medallion and started searching for a book that would help me figure out the math needed to make a medallion. When I couldn't find a book that fit the bill, I decided to write that book.

My studio window2

It's hard to pick favorites when it comes to my own quilts, but this one will always be towards the top of the list. The color palette was inspired directly from the view I have out the window of my third floor sewing space. I don't think that it is a color combination that I would have chosen if I sat in front of my fabrics contemplating a new quilt. But one fall day when I looked up from what I was sewing, I saw our Japanese maple framed by the stained glass and aqua walls and immediately pulled every fabric in this quilt from my stash. That said, I can imagine this quilt sewn up with all different kinds of fabrics - solids, scraps, in rainbow order. It's a very versatile design!


photograph by Page and Pixel

Studio Window is a great quilt on its own or to use as a template of sorts to make your own medallion. I designed it on the fly, border by border, and you could do the same with blocks of your own choosing. The size of the medallion block is 12'' finished, which allows you to swap in any other 12'' block for it if you want. The borders are a combination of pieced blocks and single fabrics, all with cornerstones. There are myriad opportunities to switch out the blocks in each border, change up the cornerstones, replace the single fabric borders with pieced blocks and vice versa. And at 66" finished, it's large enough for a throw quilt, but not too large to be overwhelming to make. Want to make it bigger? Keep building it out, border by border! Smaller? Stop when it is the size you like.

I love seeing how you all are using the book to make your own medallions. Please tag your Instagram posts with the #makeyourownmedallion hastag. If you still need a copy, you can find autographed copies of Make Your Own Medallion in my shop or buy one without my signature from Amazon (affiliate link). They will also be for sale at QuiltCon at next weekend (February 22 - 25) in Pasadena. I'll be doing a signing at the Lucky Spool booth on Thursday, the 22nd at 1:30 pm - please come say hello!

Make Your Own Medallion: Available NOW

Make Your Own Medallion_frontcover_websmall

My newest book, Make Your Own Medallion: Mix and Match Borders to Build Your Quilt from the Center Out, is available now. This book has been a long time coming and I am beyond thrilled that it is finally out in the world for you all to hold, see and use.

The idea for this book came to me when I wanted to make a medallion quilt, but couldn't find any resources to do so. Never one to shy away from a sewing challenge, I jumped in and started fiddling around with fabric. As I made my quilt, I kept thinking about how there needed to be a book about customizing medallions - different centers, different blocks for borders, multiple sizes of blocks with the math all figured out. Really, all the tricks and tools that I wish I could have had at my fingertips when I started my medallion.

Spoiler Alert: I WROTE THE BOOK!

Actually, that is over-simplified. I pitched my idea to Susanne Woods of Lucky Spool Media and, with her guidance, developed the idea into Make Your Own Medallion.  The book contains all you need to design your own medallion quilt - 30 individual blocks in three to six sizes each and 6 stand-alone center medallions. Think of this book as the chose-your-own adventure version of quilting. Pick a center and add to it border by border! And no need to worry about the math - I did it all for you! If designing your own quilt isn't your thing, I've got you covered with 6 full quilt patterns, each with a unique medallion. There really is something for everyone in here!

I'm going to take some time over the next few weeks to highlight the different quilts and medallions here on the blog. I want to show you how to use the book and get those creative juices flowing. I've already seen a few glimpses of projects on Instagram and it makes me so happy to see people jumping in and starting their own project. If you make something and post it, please tag me and use the hashtag #makeyourownmedallion . I am so excited to see what you all make using the book! I have some quilt-along plans up my sleeve, too. Stayed tuned for that!

 Make Your Own Medallion is for sale in my shop (ships for FREE in the US) and I am happy to dedicate and or sign it for you.  Many of your local quilting stores also have it - I know because I've seen photos on Instagram (exciting!). If your local quilt store doesn't have it, ask about it. It can also be found at Amazon (affiliate link) or other book sellers.

Centerpiece quilt by house on hill road

And, for those of you going to QuiltCon, one of the book quilts, Centerpiece (seen above and quilted by Angela Walters), will be hanging in the show. Pinch me! I decided that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see my quilt handing so I will be there to walk the floor and for a book signing (more details on that soon). Fatty is joining me for this adventure! If you see us, please say HELLO. I promise, we don't bite. ;)

Back here soon with more information on the quilts in the book. I'm so excited to share them with you all. Until then, happy quilting!

And it's January


I looked up this week and it is January. How did that happen? December whizzed on by like no one's business. Logically, I know that this is how it works. That time between Thanksgiving and the new year is jam-packed with holiday things, end-of-year things, school things and, in our house, some birthdays and, most years, some travel. But, still. That went fast.

The girls went back to school yesterday and it was time. I was also sad to have an empty house. Funny how that works, huh? Jane is skating into the second semester of her senior year of high school and Kate is nearing the halfway mark of her high school career. If I really start thinking about how fast time is moving, I want to scream, "STOP!" I don't though. These young women are delightful and mature and ready for their next steps. I am proud of the individuals they are - kind, creative, generous, smart, interesting. I know they are moving on to great things (college for Jane, driving for Kate) and I love being their mom. I would like it if they would keep their rooms clean, but I realize that is my fantasy, not theirs.

I spent the first few months of the year working on my new book, Make Your Own Medallion (shameless plug and Amazon affiliate link). It has been winging its way into shops and mailboxes in the last week or so and I cannot wait to see what you all do with it. I'm immensely proud of this accomplishment. It was a long time in the making and I am thrilled that it is finally out in the world. One of the quilts was accepted into QuiltCon and will be hanging in Pasadena in February. Talk about a bucket list item checked off! I won't be there (insert sad face emoji), but I hope to see photos of it on Instagram (please tag me if you take one!). Back to the Make Your Own Medallion, though. I promise much more information and details soon - it obviously deserves its own post. I also have some fun project ideas up my sleeve using the book and hope you will join me. It's going to be fun!

I sewed some other quilts this year, too. They were all gifts or charity donations or added to the Harris family collection. I was horrible about documenting most of them. I want to do better at writing about my process and taking photos of what I make this year. Sure, there are snippets of most, if not all, on Instagram, but I do miss the pre-IG blogging days for that reason. If I had to choose a craft-related resolution, I think that would be it: more documentation. But I don't really do resolutions so I am just going to make a bigger effort to document my projects in 2018. That, to me, seems doable.

Knitting has become my downtime craft of choice these days. I love how I can knit and talk or knit and watch TV wherever my family is instead of being squirreled away in the studio by myself. I have found that sewing is good for when the kids are at school and Fatty is at work or I have a day with little commitments. It reminds me of how I used to sew when the girls were sleeping. I still do that, of course, but it's me sewing on a Saturday morning while the two of them sleep in. Times have changed! Knitting works best when they are awake, when they need me, when I have to wait for them. I also love that I knitted 2 2/3 sweaters for myself last year, 2 wraps and a lot of socks. And the yarn. We won't talk about the yarn. Gotta work on knitting through it all before I start clicking "buy" again.

Fatty continues to be my best friend. We traveled many places in 2017 - some together, some as a family - with big plans for more travel in 2018. He still reads all the time, rides his bikes often and makes me laugh daily. We watched some good TV and saw some great films together this year. The ones I am not interested in, he watches on his own or with his buddy (thank you, Pope). Life is fun with Fatty by my side and I can't wait for more good times ahead.

The collage of photos above is my best nine from Instagram. I think it is a pretty good representation of my year - my book! quilts! knitting! the girls! Fatty! champagne and french fries! I am generally over there, posting one photo (if not more) each day. It's also the home of my gratitude practice, where I post a photo and a list of things I am grateful for each day. There aren't any hard and fast rules as to how much I post except that I try to find three things to be thankful for even on the crappiest of crappy days. In the process, I have become a happier person. It's truly been transformative and I don't plan on stopping soon or, really, ever. I don't always list my constant gratitudes (family, friends, shelter, food, freedom), but please know I include those of you who take the time to read what I write, support what I do and follow along with my creative pursuits in that group. Thank you for sticking with me all these years, especially when through the times when it is more silence than not. I appreciate it deeply.

And so we go, my friends. Onward! Here's to a beautiful 2018.

Quick handmade gift idea: Neckties

Have I mentioned that I teach eighth graders to sew? I do! I go in once a week in the fall and the spring and, along with a friend, teach a group of 12 or so kids how to use a sewing machine. We start simple and work up to some more difficult projects. This fall, our group included three boys and my friend suggested a necktie as a final project. It was such a great idea, but the only pattern I had seen involved a lot of hand sewing and, honestly, the kids don't dig those kind of projects. With a little research, I found the Everyday Necktie pattern and accompanying video tutorial by Dana at Made Everyday. You guys! The eighth graders rocked it and I loved how their ties turned out. This is a great pattern and a great project that will make a great gift for any guy on your list!

Christmas neckties

Yesterday I made the four ties above for my nephews. The blue ties on the side are the tween size (for the 5- and 7-year olds) and the ones in the middle are the adult size (for the 10- and 12-year olds). There is also a kids size, but it's tiny. Like really small. They come together quickly - only 5 passes through the sewing machine! My sister-in-law chose these cute Cotton & Steel Christmas fabrics and I lined them all with a white solid. The ties are cut in two pieces on the bias, so you do need about 3/4 of a yard for each tie. That said, I was able to cut the lining for all four from 1 1/2 yards of my white so you can definitely get a couple of ties out of one yard. My suggestion is just to print out the pattern and lay it out on your fabric before cutting. And because of the bias, it's a good idea to choose a fabric that looks good on the diagonal. It makes a difference. Some good contenders are checks, plaids, stripes, all over small floral prints and even direction prints that are laid out in a grid (like the navy gifts and red snow animals above). Large scale prints can work, but definitely audition them first.

I will definitely be making more ties. I'm thinking of getting fancy and using Liberty...can't you just see it? Do you have any quick handmade gifts you like to make? Let me know - I need some fresh ideas!

Cute christmas tie

Big Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt Destash TODAY

Amh fabrid destash

Ds fabric destash

Although it saddens me to part with it, I will be destashing a large quantity of Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt fabrics this afternoon. The fabrics will be in bundles as there is far too much to list individually. There will be more than enough in each bundle to make a quilt (or two!). You can find all the listings in my Big Cartel Store at 3:00 pm EST today.



Yes, I knit, too.

Ebh i knit

Hey there! I have so much to share with you all. I arrived home Monday from Quilt Market in Houston (and finally got to hold my book in my hands!!!) and am slowly getting myself back into the groove this week. I have spent a total of 30 minutes in the studio, making a camera strap for a donation. I hope to be back up there today, cleaning first and then attacking some WIPS and starting some new quilts. Nothing like being around a bunch of quilts and quilters to get those creative juices flowing!

In the meantime, I have been knitting. Prompted by a friend, I did a mental count of all the unfinished knitting projects I have going at the moment. Two shawls (the Honey Plum as shown above and What the Fade), two socks (a vanilla stripey one and the Clark sock), two sweaters (Ramona Cardigan - so close to being finished! - and Rendezvous Peak - languishing from last fall),  and a hat I started yesterday (surprise knitting). Geez, oh Pete, that is a lot of yarn on needles, isn't it?

The truth is that I have been knitting a lot and if you'd love to read about why that is the case, I invite you to click over to Hello There, Friend and read my first essay as part of the writing team. I was equally scared and excited to write this way. I feel like I am stretching myself, but in the best way. I'd be delighted if you'd take a minute or two to read!

Back soon, friends.

Some of the quilts I made on my summer vacation

For the past few years, I have made and donated a quilt or three to our church and school's summer picnic. To win one of these quilts, you buy a chance on a wheel. When all of the chances on the wheel are sold, the wheel is spun and the winner gets to choose the quilt they want. It's a fun system and it's very easy to get a particular quilt if you really, really want it - you just buy the entire wheel.

Carnival quilts stacked

This year, I had promised two quilts, but ended up with three to donate. All were made from a kit or fabric from my stash. I love the challenge of pulling something together from what I have on hand and using up what I already own. It's so satisfying. I free-motion quilted all three in one day on the rental long arm at Quilted Joy despite some comical missteps (Too small backing! Twice!). If I didn't have the option to do them this way, they wouldn't have gotten finished. While I enjoy quilting on my domestic machine, the time it takes to do that, let alone baste the quilts, is prohibitive for charity work. Plus using the long arm is just plain fun!

Carnival peaks

First up is this Stack Quilt.  The pattern is by Nicole of Modern Handcraft and was fun to put together. I deviated from the pattern a little bit by adding one extra column of stacks and using a full width of fabric for the top portion. The prints at the bottom are an older Cotton and Steel line, Homebody, with some basics thrown in and the solid is Kona Snow. I went a little crazy with the quilting, trying out all kinds of different patterns on the long arm. I had fun making it.

Carnival star

Second was this giant star quilt. I used Jeni Baker's tutorial that she shares on her blog, In Color Order. As you can probably guess, with blocks this big, I was able to piece this quilt in no time whatsoever! I picked the prints from my stash (mostly Cotton and Steel plus a Japanese gingham) to coordinate with the cheery pink solid, Kona Punch. Quilted with loops (my favorite!) and bound in the same solid, I just adore how it turned out. I think there will be more quilts like this in my future. Easy, fast and fun!

Carnival tumblers

And the final quilt I donated is the Glass Half Full pattern by Lindsay Sews. I bought this as a kit from Craftsy a few years back (it is no longer available) and had cut most of it at least a year ago. I had forgotten about it until I happened upon it while cleaning up the studio in the spring. It's easy enough to make - the pattern is well written and accurate - but it has so many steps and a ton of cutting that I burned out before I got to the sewing. Once I picked it back up, I was able to get the top finished over the course of a week. It's twin sized so I quilted it with some wavy lines to make sure it would drape nicely when in use. I think it turned out sweet and I know that it is being loved and used in its new home.

Phew. Three quilts in one post. Never thought I would do that. There is more to come, including a list of what I read over the summer and so far this fall. See you soon.

Carnival tumblers 2