April in Paris — er, Portland

April is my favorite month of the year. It’s the month when the promise of spring in Portland is fully realized. Lawns are emerald green, and the profusion of colorful azaleas, tulips, and other blooming things makes my heart sing. Today is a gloriously sunny day, one of the first of the year warm enough for Portlanders to open all their windows and let the fresh air in. I can hear the sound of a lawnmower starting up and if I’m lucky it will be followed by the scent of new-mown grass.

In honor of spring I hung Under Paris Skies in the master bathroom:

This is the springtime version of my pattern Season to Taste, designed and made four years ago as part of a series based on the four seasons. The summer and fall versions are done but I must confess the one for winter hasn’t been made yet, though I do have the perfect fabric for it in my stash.

This is the first time Under Paris Skies has been on display in my house. All this time it’s been hanging in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego where I’ve been teaching the last eight years.

After 25 years running the Pine Needle, owner Geri retired and closed the shop at the end of March. Several of my quilts had been hanging in the shop, and all of them got to come home with me. (Happily, Geri is still involved in the quilt industry and the Pine Needle location is being taken over by a local family-owned sewing business. More on that in a future post after an official announcement has been made.)

Back to Under Paris Skies for a moment. First you have to imagine April in Paris. Think of Ella Fitzgerald singing “April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees . . .”

Those are real chestnuts in blossom, taken on my trip to Paris three years ago this month. If you look carefully you can see the Seine in the background. Now imagine clusters of people sitting outside at cafe tables, taking in the fresh air while sipping a citron presse or café crème, like the two below (apparently still waiting for their order to be taken):

All three blocks in this kaleidoscope quilt contain two different images of outdoor Parisian life, carefully fussy cut to fit in the confines of the triangles. Here’s another scene that always makes me smile:

When the rains return (which they will, because it wouldn’t be spring in Portland without them), I’ll look at these bright and cheerful scenes of Paris in anticipation of the next sunny day right here at home.




This entry was posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, Paris, table runner, update, wall hanging. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to April in Paris — er, Portland

  1. Nancy Smith says:

    So beautiful! Love these vignettes of Paris!

  2. Colleen says:

    Isn’t spring in Portland (and Paris, of course) just delightful? Love the scene set by your words and the vignettes in the fabric. It all sets me to daydreaming.

  3. anna says:

    Bonjour Dawn! “I remember it well….” April in Paris is indeed, very special. Unfortunately, on my most recent April day in Paris, it was raining! But, “I love Paris is the Springtime, when it drizzles.” Remind me to send you a bit of French-themed fabric when we return from our time in Botswana. Love your “Under Paris Skies” hanging.

  4. Claudia McCarter says:

    Love this! The fabric, the colors, the pattern are all so vibrant! It’s beautiful in your bathroom.

  5. Diane says:

    Well! You are the only person I know who has the perfect master bath to showcase runners to evoke seasons, places, holidays or all of the above. The Portland White House has it all! 🙂

  6. Vickie says:

    Do you have enough space for all your quilts that came home? The last picture in this post reminds me of the Madeline stories that I remember from long ago. Your piece looks lovely in the master bathroom.

  7. Clara Chandler says:

    The Pine Needle was a favorite “go to” quilt shop when I lived in Portland and West Linn. I was sad to hear of its closing but glad to read that the retreats would continue. Attending one of these events is on my list. I’m looking forward to a chance to meet you.

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