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Fri, 27 Sept



A Full Day of Improv Quilting with Improv master Nicholas Ball - a rare opportunity!

Anything goes in this creative exploration as you'll create a version of the game ' snakes and ladders' using two techniques side by side. Fabric choices, shapes and textures all collide, but will you climb the ladder of success - we promise there will be no snakes!

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Time & Location

27 Sept 2024, 09:30 – 16:30

Oakham, Stamford Rd, Oakham LE15 8AB, UK

About the Event

Nicholas Ball - Snakes and Ladders

We know how much you loved working with Sarah Payne on our one day class prior to our retreat in 2023, so we have decided to run another one-day event, but this time with the wonderful Nicholas Ball. If you're attending our retreat, you'll be able to use the piece you create in this class for the Trudi Wood class and the Nicholas Ball class on Saturday, the 28th of September. With Trudi, you'll design your quilting for this piece and with Nicholas you'll look at how to finish it!

Introduction/Back Story:-

Shape and line are so important in improv quilting. Often lacking a visible block structure, improv quilts can be used to create complex compositions. I’ve always been a fan of the versatility of freehand curves, choosing to piece them alongside the more linear interest of inserts for contrast. In this quilt, these two techniques collide in a playful interpretation of the classic board game snake and ladders.

What You Will Learn in this in person One-Day Workshop:-

You will learn how to create curved wedge sections of fabric which can be used in many different way. For our experimentation, we will be using them alongside “ladders”, pieced from skinny inserts, to create a small study which can either be quilted and bound, or used as the starting point for a larger piece. We will look at using our iron to add further interest to our seams, as well as ways to deal with excess bulk in our seams. As always, I will spend some time discussing fabric and colour choices, though really anything goes in the creative exploration!

Skill Level for this  Workshop:-

The workshop is suitable for all skill levels. The techniques explored will provide you with skills upon which you can expand and use in lots of other quilts. The piecing of the curved wedges is simple enough for those new to improv, but they can also be made more intricate for those looking for more of a challenge.

Material requirements for this Workshop:-

Whilst not essential for the workshop, my books Inspiring Improv and Use & Ornament (Lucky Spool, 2019 and 2023) feature inserts, freehand curves, and curved wedges. Both books will expand upon the techniques learnt and provide many more improv tips and tricks.

Fabric requirements for this Workshop:-

Whilst difficult to give exact fabric amounts and measurements when sewing in an improvised way, please use the following as a rough guide.

6-8 fat quarters in your chosen colours for your “snakes”

6-8 fat quarters in your chosen colours for your “ladders”

Larger scraps/offcuts for adding interest to the background.

Please don’t stress about these requirements. They are simply a guide and I’ve yet to teach a class where something couldn’t be made because of the wrong fabric pieces. If in doubt, gather up a selection of prints and colours you like and you can cut during the workshop. Accuracy at the cutting stage is not so important using my techniques, so it won’t take long at all if you want to cut your pieces along with me. Of course, if you wish to make a smaller quilt, wall hanging or cushion cover, then you will need less fabric.

Equipment requirements for this Workshop:-

A sewing machine

Good quality thread in an appropriate weight for piecing (I recommend Aurifil 50wt)

Rotary cutter with a new blade (especially important for the freehand curves)

Cutting mat

Patchwork ruler (we can make any size work, but a small 1” x 12” is very handy, as is a 12.5” square.

Fabric scissors

A willingness to explore your own creativity!

Additional Information relevant to this  Workshop:-

This is a technique-based workshop. We will be making units which you will then continue to piece into a study or larger quilt in your own time. Feel free to make as many or as few of the units as you like. Don’t feel any pressure to cut up all your precious fabric!

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