Quilting Gallery Blog

Welcome to Chris Dahl

Please join me in welcoming another Guest Blogger to the Quilting Gallery. If you’re interested in being a Guest Blogger, just drop me an email to discuss.

Hello quilters!

My name is Chris Dahl, and I am so glad to have this opportunity to share my quilting journey with you.

I live in the Midwest part of the United States, in a suburb about an hour west of Chicago. I have lived in the Midwest my entire life and love the fact that we get to experience all four seasons to the fullest! Although I must admit as I get older I do not enjoy winter as much as I used to. I still love to watch the snow fall, and see the tree branches glisten in the sun after an ice storm. And there is nothing like the pristine look of a snow covered field early in the morning after it snows. All that being said, shoveling or driving in winter is my least favorite part, along with the cold. Not a fan of cold anymore, it gets in the bones and you can’t get it out for hours. Sitting in front of a warm fire with a nice glass of wine does help to melt away some of the ice in the veins!

chris-dahl-my-first-quilt
My quilting journey started approximately 8 years ago. I have been sewing most of my life, with my first sewing class taken in high school. I remember the teacher telling us to make one item from our patterns for the class project. I ended up making all three items, a skirt, pants and a vest! I also enjoy working with yarn, and have taught myself to knit and crochet. Most of my sewing/quilting is self-taught with an occasional class taken here and there.

I remember my father doing sewing for us as children, and my grandmother sewing as well. So I guess it was only natural for me to follow in their foot steps. My grandmother used to let me press the pedal on her treadle machine while she sewed her clothing. She even made tiny little clothes for my Barbie dolls! I still have some of these clothes that my girls played with on their dolls and now I cannot wait to pass them onto my own grandchildren some day. How cool will that be to say “Your great, great, grandma made this!”

Anyway, back to quilting. I discovered quilting by watching a cable show called Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson. Some of you may be familiar with this show. I was so intrigued by the design possibilities of quilting that I just had to try it. I immediately went to the store and bought a book titled “The Complete Guide to Quilting” by Better Homes and Gardens. This became my “quilting bible” and I still refer to it today. I recommend this book to any new quilter as it is written with easy to follow instructions, and fabulous photos. It comes in a paper back and hard cover version. I am glad I spent the extra for the hard cover book with the spiral binding, it lays nice and flat on the table. Through this book I taught myself to quilt. I never took any formal training I just read and started to play with the fabrics. I did not take any classes until 2 or 3 years later.

Around the time I started taking classes, I decided teaching was something I wanted to do. I knew enough about quilting, that I felt I could share with a small group. I found I enjoyed teaching as much as I enjoyed quilting and continued. I get so much pleasure when I see that a student learns something new. I especially enjoyed teaching children. Unfortunately they do not require students to take sewing in school now, it is an elective. What a shame. So many kids don’t even know how to sew on a button.

Once I discovered teaching the real fun began. I went around to community centers; park districts, churches, Girl Scout groups; quilt and fabric shops and I then made it a personal mission to teach as many people about sewing and quilting as I could. I did this for several years. At one point I even ran the education department at my local JoAnn Fabrics. Which gave me good training for the next phase of my life.

This is where you will find me now, teaching quilting online through my blog Quilting Lessons Online and through my online classroom website Quilting Weekly. Both of these venues have allowed me to reach out to more people then I could have imagined before, and there is no travel involved for me or my students! This really is the best of both worlds to me. I do however miss the interaction of a live classroom, and I really miss those “ah ha” moments that would happen in class. But for now I will have to settle for the wonderful e-mails I get from my students who choose to share their successes with me.

I would like to end my story with a simple statement about what quilting means to me.

Quilting is my form of expression. It is part of who I am. Some people might call this an obsession while others call it a passion. But to me quilting is full of creativity and endless possibilities.

Please leave us a comment here and share your thoughts on what quilting means to you. For doing so, you could win a free class at Quilting Weekly. I will pick a random winner from all the entries between now and October 31, 2008 and send the winner a free pass to a class of their choice! This is no Halloween trick. It was a real treat for me to be here, and I want to thank you for reading my story, and thank Michele for giving me this opportunity.

So go ahead leave a comment and tell us what quilting means to you!

Happy Quilting!
Chris Dahl

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This post was published on October 18th, 2008. Post topics: Guest Bloggers, Quilt Gallery.

25 Responses to “Welcome to Chris Dahl”

  1. Mishka says:

    Quilting allows me to create beautiful things, learn new techniques, play with glorious fabrics and feel a great sense of accomplishment with each project I complete. It’s relaxing (most of the time) and I love that I can make up my own rules.

  2. Kathy says:

    I am already a member at quilting weekly. I usually check in daily to see what is being discussed in the general forum. There is a nice group of friendly people there.

    I love the creative nature of quilting.

    This looks like a wonderful blog.

  3. Welcome, Chris! How nice to meet you! My own quilting journey started as a young girl with my Finnish grandmother’s treadle sewing machine on an island in Alaska! I taught myself to sew and put tiny pieces of fabric together to make ‘quilts’ for my dolls ;) Now, quilting is not only a means of personal expression and joy, but a way of reaching out to my larger world and community by giving most of my quilts away to those in need. It has been a joy and a gift in my own life in so many ways! This site has been a wonderful blessing as it has allowed me to meet others (like you!) with just a click of a mouse. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us and making new connections! Michele in Salem, Oregon

  4. Chris says:

    Thank you Michele B. for your kind words, and for sharing your story as well. Making connections is another wonderful part of the quilting journey. Whether in person or online quilters connect in more ways than just with fabric and thread. ;)

  5. Linda says:

    Chris,

    My mother and grandmother both sewed and I have been sewing since I can remember. I used to pick up the scraps and make doll cloths. At first they were hand sewn then when Mom got her first “electric sewing machine” she let me use the old tredle. By the time I went to high school if I didn’t make my own cloths, I didn’t have any cloths.

    I didn’t start quilting until after I retired three years ago (felt I didn’t have the time). I believe I like the process of making the quilt top better than the actual quilting. It’s such a challenge to get all the points and squares to meet up just so. And it never ceases to amaze me the different look you can get just by making one little turn of the block. And when the quilt is finished there is such a feeling of accomplishment. A high.

    Haven’t taken any classes yet. Just read anything and everything I can about quilting which is what brought me to your blog. Very good reading.

    Linda

  6. Chris says:

    Linda, being self taught is a good thing. You are your own teacher and student so you’re always right! :D

    But going to classes offers you the opportunity to meet other quilters. I really enjoy the social parts of the classroom. And you can really get inspired by the other students as everyone puts their own personal spin on a project. So even though they are doing the same quilt it always looks different. I would recommend a class at a quilt shop or quilt show if you get the chance. Online classes are good too for different reasons. But they also offer some great benefits too!

    Thanks for reading my story!

  7. margarita says:

    Nice quilt and very good reading.I`m teaching quilting twice times in a week ,on monday and tuesday.I`m glad when I go and excited.I love quilting

  8. Peggie says:

    I am in the process of making my ‘first’ quilt. I say ‘first’ as I am taking a class and learning how it should be done according to my great teacher. A few years ago I started another quilt after reading a few books and aching to try. I stopped midway as it didn’t look like the ones I saw in books. After reading this great site, along with many others, I realize that not looking like every other quilt is a good thing, it looks like me!

    Whether the right way or not, I am having a blast! Thank you for another wonderful resource Chris!

  9. Jean Tanner says:

    Hi Chris, well done. I like Kathy am a member at Quilting Weekly. I have enjoyed the few classes I have done. The group of Ladies are real friendly & very helpful.
    I find when I am Quilting I forget all my worries, I go into a world of my own. It is the best thing I have become involved in for relaxation.
    It was so nice to read your journey in Quilting Chris.
    Congratulations.
    Jean

  10. Burtine says:

    Hi Chris

    I followed you from the Landscape Quilting newsletter and have just joined your Quilting Weekly group. I have skirted around the edges of quilting for a long time and now plan to really learn as much as I can. I enjoyed your blog and look forward to classes with you.

  11. Chris says:

    Peggy,

    You are exactly right! There is no right or wrong way to quilt.

    When I teach a class I tell everyone in class “This is my quilt and your quilt will not look like mine and that’s ok.”

    Another frequent statement in class is “There are no mistakes in quilting, only opportunities for design choices.”

    Thank you for your comments here I hope they inspire others to blaze their own trails in quilting.

  12. Chris says:

    Wow, Burtine that is fantastic. I only joined the landscape quilting group yesterday! Oh the internet is a wonderful place. Welcome to my world! :D (This site is fantastic too, and should be a frequent stop along your learning journey)

    Take care my friend!

  13. karen gupton says:

    Hi…what great inspiration. I do think that quilting leads to creativity…just wish I had more creative process to come up with my original designs instead of always following somebody’s pattern. We need on class on designing your own patterns Chris!!!

  14. Chris says:

    Karen what a great idea! Although you might want to have a look at my “Block Beginnings” class. It teaches you how to design your own quilt blocks. You get a real understanding of block creation and I cover things like working with color, value and scale. I real good foundation for getting started on your own designs.

    Just a thought :)

  15. Judith Casey says:

    Quilting is a time for me to lose myself, be creative and share that gift with others. This year our son died on his way to work and I was able to make his young wife of less than four months a ‘love quilt’ with a big heart on it. Two weeks ago, my quilting group presented us with a beautiful quilted wall-hanging to remember him by. That’s what quilting does, it touches peoples hearts.

  16. Chris says:

    Judith,
    Thank you for sharing such a difficult story with us. I am truly sorry for your loss. I am glad to hear you have plenty of love and support around you and your family in your time of need. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  17. Theda says:

    Chris
    Talking about living in the midwest, I agree about the exact same things you said. I live in Omaha NE. I also have learned on my own. I did take one class and it was helpful. My first quilt was a small log cabin and I tied it. The next one was the one in class called Picket Fence. The last one was a queen size Trip Around The world. Wheeoow. I’m not sure I’ll make another one that big.My machine quilting needs a lot of perfecting. Right now I’m doing the 9 patch and going to try the quilt as you go. I may need to have that glass of wine with you and some help.
    Love your blog,

  18. Tina says:

    I love your guest post and website. I had not come across it before.

    Quilting for me is my therapy….no matter the stress, work issues, family obligations…that once in my quilting room, lost in creativity, saneness returns and life gets better, and puts things into perspective to deal with everyday life.

  19. Maureen Wilkie says:

    Hi Chris

    Well done, I to like Kathy & Jean am a member Quilting Weekly,
    I have taken a couple of classes the one I really enjoyed was the
    Block Beginnings it was a great challenge, I had to put it on hold for a while but hope to get back to it soon. The help you gave to me while doing the class was great I will show you the finished project soon, Quilting to me is a challenge it also is relaxing some times when everything is going right, I have just finished my second queen size quilt. I pretty much taught myself to sew I like to do crafty things.

    Cheers Maureen [maws]

  20. Kathy Henk says:

    Chris, I just finished the body of my Happy & Scrappy quilt, as close to your design as I could manage. I can hardly wait to finish putting the borders on and see the finished quilt. Your directions were easy to follow and you help (a time or two) really meant alot. I look forward to another of your classes in the future.

  21. janet says:

    Way to go

  22. sheila says:

    Sanity. Maybe the Doctors should presribe Quilting Classes insted of medication. Lovely blog

  23. cottagelover says:

    Hi chris, I read your story with great interest. I am a newbie to quilting and have selftought my self after looking at “crazymomquilts” web site and saw her tutorial. I thought I could do that and started this past January.
    I am totally addicted and have had so much fun doing quilts that we took all the stuff to the cottage this summer and I quilted my heart up in Northern Ontario.
    Finding this site was just a fluke and I love all the comments posted here about your lovely story.

  24. upnorthcottage says:

    Hi, Chris! I’d love to take a class!

  25. Chris says:

    thank you to all the lovely ladies who have commented on my story. I loved reading your responses. I will be choosing a winner first thing tomorrow morning.

    So you have the rest of today to tell me what quilting means to you!

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