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Sat, 17 Feb


Online Interactive Workshop

Saturday 17 February 2024: Online Workshop (Improv Shoal!)

Nicholas Ball hosts a three-hour Online Interactive Workshop teaching his fabulous Improv Quilt Shoal class!…

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Saturday 17 February 2024: Online Workshop (Improv Shoal!)
Saturday 17 February 2024: Online Workshop (Improv Shoal!)

Time & Location

17 Feb 2024, 16:00 – 19:00 GMT

Online Interactive Workshop

About the Event

Nicholas Ball - Saturday 17th February 2024 - 4.00pm to 7.00pm (GMT)

Online Interactive Workshop: Improv Shoal!

Following the hugely successful first outing on Instagram in January 2021, the marvellous Nicholas Ball is once again hosting a #shoalsewalong in February 2024. We’re very happy to announce we will be repeating his Improv Shoal class, which we last ran in October 2022 to a sell-out crowd, even though there wasn’t a sewalong on a the time. Nicholas’ improv fish are always very popular (all classes have sold out previously) and this is your chance to grab a place if you missed out last time, or of course if you would like to re-attend and refresh your memory!

Introduction by Nicholas:-

Since the original #shoalsewalong I hosted in early 2021, countless people had asked when the next one would be. The Shoal quilt from my book Inspiring Improv remains one of the most popular projects and I’ve seen some awesome versions, made in all manner of fabrics. When it came to deciding upon whether to run a second fish-themed sewalong, it was a no-brainer, and I am thrilled to once again offer a companion CraftyMonkies workshop alongside the Sewalong. I know some of you missed out on the class last time and were disappointed, so here we are, this one’s for you! I do hope you can grab a place this time!

What You Will Learn in this Online Interactive Workshop:-

During the workshop, you take the fabric you have chosen and learn how to sew the fish units. I will expand upon the instructions given in both my book. I’ll start by showing you the basics of my triangle and freehand curve techniques, before combining them to create unique and varied fish units. As a bonus, I’ll share how to add even more individuality to your fish, with extra fins, gills and patterned bodies, which won’t be offered on Instagram. They’ll even be some seaweed! After making the units, you’ll learn my top tips for joining them together using my jigsaw method. Plus, I’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have about quilting and finishing your quilt top.

Skill Level for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

This workshop is suitable for all skill levels. The triangle technique is a great introduction to sewing in a more liberated way and is sure to fuel your creativity The freehand curves will provide the beginner with a firm foundation to cutting without rulers, upon which they can expand the technique. More experienced sewers can challenge themselves with more daring curves and different shaped fish.

Material Requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

Whilst not essential for the workshop, my books Inspiring Improv and Use & Ornament  (by Lucky Spool, available to buy via Amazon) will expand upon the techniques learnt and provide many more improv tips and tricks. My original Shoal quilt is also one of the 12 projects in Inspiring Improv.

Fabric Requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

We will be discussing fabric in during the first week of the sewalong in some detail. Whilst difficult to give exact fabric amounts and measurements when sewing in an improvised way, please use the following as a rough guide. For those of you that like to plan ahead, use the following as a guide:-

FOR THE FISH - an assortment of large scraps in your chosen colours. This fabric will be used for the fish bodies and tails, so a healthy assortment of different sized rectangles and squares will work best.

FOR THE BACKGROUND - an assortment of large scraps in your chosen sea/water colours. This can either be one fabric, for a more cohesive look, or a variety for a scrappy version.

Additional scraps from your stash in coordinating colours for gills, fins and seaweed.The more fish you make, the bigger the quilt will be. There is no right or wrong size. Remember, this is your quilt, so make it how you want to.

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. As mentioned, they don’t need to be perfectly square, so feel free to use scissors!

This is a technique-based workshop. Feel free to make as many or as few of the fish units as you like. Don’t feel any pressure to cut up all your precious fabric!

Equipment Requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

Sewing Machine

Good quality thread in an appropriate weight for piecing (Nicholas recommends Aurifil 50wt)

Rotary Cutter with a New Blade (especially important for the curve technique)

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 Online Interactive Workshop:-

Nicholas is truly excited to be able to offer this workshop again! He says it’s a great way to sew with like-minded people, inspire one another and see how all the fabric fish are progressing!...

​Tickets for this Online Interactive Workshop (via the Zoom platform) will be limited & allocated on a first-come/first-served basis! If applicable, any free pattern, or other information, relevant to this course will be forwarded to you after booking and approximately 5 days before the course date. The ticket price of £35.00 is based on ONE person attending this crafting class.

This CraftyMonkies Online Interactive Workshop is being broadcast from the United Kingdom and the class time given is based on Grenwich Meantime (GMT). We advise you check via Google Search (or similar) to see corresponding start-time in YOUR location!

Ordering MATERIALS/EQUIPMENT Online For Any Class/Workshop! Please ensure you book your place & order any materials/fabrics/equipment online in plenty of time ahead of course dates.


This class is a live Zoom Workshop ONLY! We are NOT able to offer a recorded Pay-On-Demand video for sale after this event.


  • Online Workshop: Improv

    This ticket is for the CraftyMonkies Online Interactive Workshop with Nicholas Ball on Saturday 17 February 2024 (4.00pm-7.00pm, GMT)

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