What Shade are You with Laura McDowell Hopper

What Shade Are You Logo 2016

Hi RJR Fabrics fans! I’m Laura McDowell Hopper and you can find my work on Instagram @sonicstitches or on my blog. I’ve been quilting since 2014 and I’m a member of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.

When RJR Fabrics asked me to be part of this blog hop, it didn’t take long to decide what shade I am. My shade is black. There’s nothing I love more than fabrics popping off a dark, solid, black background. After receiving the Cotton Supreme Solids color card in the mail, I was instantly drawn to the blues and purples and thought they would look great with RJR’s black solid. I was also so excited to see that RJR Fabrics makes solids that coordinate perfectly with Cotton + Steel basics! I picked my favorite colors, paired them with my three favorite Cotton + Steel basics, and started thinking about the quilt I wanted to make.

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I am constantly inspired by music. I spent twelve years training to be a classical violist, then switched career paths to become a museum curator and interned at a music museum in college. Music history has been a big part of my life as long as I remember, and Bruce Springsteen is one of the most important musicians to me. The night I was invited to participate in the What Shade Are You blog hop, I was at the Chicago stop of Bruce Springsteen’s current tour. Bruce and the E Street Band have been on tour since January playing their entire album The River. I decided to use that concert and album as the inspiration for my quilt!

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Originally released in 1980, The River is an epically long album that features some of my favorite Bruce songs. The album is a mix of fun party songs (“Sherry Darling,” “Crush on You,” “Hungry Heart,” “Out in the Street”) and painful songs about growing up (“Stolen Car,” “Wreck on the Highway,” “Independence Day”).

Bruce is at his best when he writes songs about folks who are down on their luck and striving to make their lives better. The title track of The River breaks my heart every time I listen to it. The story of a couple thrown together, realizing that the circumstances of their lives may prevent them from realizing their dreams is vivid, moving, and incredible song writing.

I thought about what that song would look like to me as a quilt. I envisioned the blues and purples as the song’s characters, meeting at night separated by the dark river. Knowing that the track is inspired by Bruce’s sister and her early relationship with her husband who, despite the bleak tone of the song, are still married today, I had all of the fabrics meet at the back of the quilt to emphasize that the reality of the song has a happy ending.

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Here’s the front and back of “The River” quilt. I love minimalist design, big shapes, straight line quilting, and visual impact. RJR Fabric’s Cotton Supreme Solids brought this vision together perfectly. A big thanks is also due to my husband, Mitch, who patterned this quilt from my drawing. My favorite part of his time doing quilt math was hearing him say, “I’m going to algebra so hard right now!” Mitch also takes all of my beautiful quilt photos.

The Cotton Supreme Solids I used were:

Black

Horizon

Riviera

Grape

Opera Mauve

WSAY

The Cotton + Steel basics I used were:

Black Cat Sprinkle

Teal Netorious

Grape Dottie

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Thank you so much to RJR Fabrics for asking me to be part of their blog hop! This quilt was the first time I used their Cotton Supreme Solids, but it won’t be the last time. The soft feel is what drew me to Cotton + Steel fabrics early on in my quilting, and their solids have the same softness. I can’t wait to work with these wonderful solids again!

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Comments (3)

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    Lori

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    Beautiful quilt and great post, Laura!

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    Susie

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    This is AWESOME work Laura! I am so inspired by it, and so proud of you!

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    Amy Cav

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    Looks fab! 3D almost!

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