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Sat, 17 Oct


Online Interactive Workshop

Saturday 17 October 2020: Online Workshop (Improv Stacks)

Nicholas Ball hosts a three-hour Online Interactive Workshop on Improv Stacks & Drunken Tiles!…

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Saturday 17 October 2020: Online Workshop (Improv Stacks)
Saturday 17 October 2020: Online Workshop (Improv Stacks)

Time & Location

17 Oct 2020, 18:00 – 21:00 BST

Online Interactive Workshop

About the Event

Nicholas Ball - Saturday 17 October 2020 - 6.00pm to 9.00pm (BST)

Online Interactive Workshop: Improv Stacks & Drunken Tiles

Introduction by Nicholas

Some years ago, longer now than I care to remember, I was so excited to have one of my quilts featured in an online e-zine. My FIRST publication! The quilt, titled Drunken Tiles, featured a technique I now call 'Stacks'. Fast-forward some seven years or so and I’m still using the same technique to make visually interesting and unique quilts. I’ve re-made the quilt many times since, even featuring it in my book Inspiring Improv, and each one has been truly unique. That’s the beauty of this technique; it’s versatile, meaning you can use it for all sorts of projects. It’s also super-speedy, perfect for that last-minute gift. It really is a great addition to your improv arsenal!

What You Will Learn in this Online Interactive Workshop:-

In this workshop, you will learn to take simple squares and rectangles, layer them and slice into them. You’ll learn how to put a spin on traditional four and nine patch blocks, arming you with a technique that is fast and fun, whilst stretching those improv muscles. We will start by looking at the basics of the stacks technique, before moving on to more advanced units, adding contrast and secondary areas of interest with triangles scraps, perfect for using up those leftovers from my Trio of Triangles workshop! We will explore the idea of creating a colour gradient using the technique and experiment with the way the units are arranged to add as much or as little randomness as you like.

Skill Level for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

This workshop is perfect for all skill levels. What I love most about this technique is its adaptability. From one simple technique, so many different quilts can be created. A beginner can start by making the simpler four patch units, adding more layers and cuts as they get more comfortable with the method.

Material requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-


Fabric requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

Whilst difficult to give exact fabric amounts and measurements when sewing in an improvised way, please use the following as a rough guide. Decide if you’d like to make scrappy units, or experiment with solids to create a colour gradient. Or simply bring lots of squares and try both!

For a scrappy version:

  • 48 squares, approximately 6-8”, in various prints/solids of one colour way.
  • 16 squares, approximately 6-8”, in another colour way.
  • Odd scraps of contrasting colours.
  • Extra squares of any colour or print for experimentation and spontaneity.
  • For a colour gradient:
  • 64 squares, cut from 10-12 different shades of one colour. You’ll be looking to create an ombre effect, so solids would work best.
  • The squares don’t have to be perfectly square, as long as they are all of a similar size. A layer cake or charm pack would be perfect.

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. We will be exploring the stack technique and won’t have a finished project in mind.  Feel free to make as many or as few of the units as you like. You can combine them into a sampler or continue to work on the project after the workshop by adding more units to it. Don’t feel any pressure to cut up all your precious fabric!

Equipment requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

  • A sewing machine
  • Good quality thread in an appropriate weight for piecing (I recommend Aurifil 50wt)
  • Rotary cutter with a new blade
  • 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!

Tickets for this Online Interactive Workshop (via the Zoom platform) will be limited & allocated on a first-come/first-served basis!

Any free pattern, or other information, relevant to this workshop will be forwarded to you after booking and approximately 5 days before the course date. The Ticket Price of £25.00 is based on ONE person attending this workshop.


  • Online Workshop: Improv Stacks

    This ticket is for the CraftyMonkies Online Interactive Workshop with Nicholas Ball on Satuirday 17 October 2020 (6.00pm-9.00pm BST)

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