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Online Interactive Workshop with
Nicholas Ball



16.00-19.00 (BST)

Online Interactive Workshop



Sewing & Quilting:

Improv ABC!

CraftyMonkies Nicholas Ball Online Interactive Workshop Improv ABC!

Nicholas Ball

Saturday 20 April 2024

4.00pm - 7.00pm (BST)

Online Interactive Workshop

Improv ABC!

We're absolutely delighted to welcome back improv-guru Nicholas Ball for this Improv ABC workshop! This class will see participants free themselves from any pre-ordained, self-imposed constraints they might have and cut loose on the creativity front with one of our ever-popular tutors!…

Introduction by Nicholas:-

For centuries, quilters have had a lot to say! Like the poet with his pen, words of support, rebellion, protest, and political resistance have been stitched loudly by sewers upon the blank pages of their quilts. I first began exploring text in quilts when I contributed to a protest piece for 43 missing Mexican students in 2014, organised by American quilter, Zak Foster. Since then, I have experimented with many different ways of conveying a message through the medium of patchwork. For me, the most successful of these attempts have been when I use actual text, rather than an abstract message of colour or shape, and it is that technique which I’m excited to share with you in this new workshop.

What you will learn on this Online Interactive Workshop:-

This workshop is designed to show you how to piece an entire alphabet of improv letters, allowing you to express your thanks, love, excitement or outrage through patchwork. Just like your handwriting, your letters will be unique, since we won’t be using any patterns or templates, and unlike letters made using traditional or foundation paper piecing, these improv versions will allow you to add your own individual touch to the patchwork words you write.


We will begin by discussing fabric, contrast, and value in the context of your letters. We will learn how the size of the letters can be scaled up and down easily. We will talk about the importance of background fabric too and how it can affect the look and readability of the quilt, before moving on to making one of each letter. These will be pieced in similar groups, rather than alphabetically, to enable you to start simple and build on skills as the workshop progress. We will also look at how to piece several examples of punctuation, including commas and exclamation marks. Finally, we will discuss how to join and use these letters, which are perfect for so many different projects.

Skill Level for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

The workshop is suitable for those who already have a little improv piecing experience. Whilst the letters themselves are not difficult (I teach the piecing by focusing on letters which share similar shapes, so that the process becomes easier the more letters we explore), because there are twenty six to get through, plus punctuation, the pace is a little quick..


Material requirements for this Online Interactive Workshop:-

Whilst not essential for the workshop, my book Use and Ornament: The history and future of improv quilting  (by Lucky Spool, available to buy via Amazon) features my 'Cheshire Puss' quilt, along with my Improv Alphabet techniques.


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:-

  • Long quarters or jelly roll strips for the letters - these can be solid, patterned or a combination of both.

  • Fat quarters or larger scraps for 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. If in doubt, gather up a selection of prints and colours you like and bring them along. We will be discussing what works well regarding fabric in the workshop, so for your sampler, don’t worry or overthink it too much - simply bring fabrics that make you smile and all will be well!


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

  • 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

  • Note Pad

  • Pen

  • A willingness to explore your own creativity!

Additional Information relevant to this Online Interactive Workshop:-

The aim of the workshop is to make an alphabet sampler, so that you have an example of each letter to use for reference. You can choose to piece the letters you make in the class into a small wallhanging, or make more to create a larger project which features a favourite phrase, quote or song lyric.

Tickets for this Online Interactive Workshop (via the Zoom platform) will be limited and allocated on a first-come/first-served basis! Any free pattern and 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 British Summer Time (BST). We advise you check via Google Search (or similar) to see corresponding start-time in YOUR location! Here's a great world time zone reference:-

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!

Sadly, we are NOT able to offer a recorded Pay-On-Demand video for sale in our shop after this event.

The only way to enjoy this class is to book a ticket for this Zoom Workshop!

CraftyMonkies Nicholas Ball Online Interactive Workshop Improv ABC!
CraftyMonkies Nicholas Ball Online Interactive Workshop Improv ABC!
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Booking button for the CraftyMonkies Nicholas Ball Online Interactive Workshop Improv ABC!
CraftyMonkies Nicholas Ball Online Interactive Workshop Improv ABC!

For the full range of CraftyMonkies Online Interactive Classes
& Workshops 
simply Click here!


Be sure to find out more about our 2024 Retreats in Lancaster PA, USA and Rutland, England plus our first release for 2025 in Ceredigion, Wales!

CraftyMonkies 2024 USA Midweek Crafting Retreat in Lanaster, PA
CraftyMonkies 2024 Weekend Crafting Retreat Rutland Hall Hotel
CraftyMonkies 2025 Midweek Welsh Crafting Retreat Falcondale Hotel

If you'd like to watch any On-Demand Recordings of past Online Interactive Workshops by our wide range of craft experts,

simply head over to our Video Store!

Watch Recording of past Online Interactive Workshops via links bought in our Online Shop!

Looking for a birthday surprise, marking a special occasion or a treat for someone special? A timely reminder that CraftyMonkies Gift Vouchers, in a variety of denominations, are available all year round - could be just the ticket for your crafty loved one!...

CraftyMonkies Gift Vouchers - perfect for any occasion throughout the year!
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