Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Hop Scotch Quilt and an inspiring speaker

I’ve got another make to show you in a minute but first I wanted to share something else with you. It’s something completely unrelated to patchwork, or craft generally really, and I’ve been wondering, since the weekend, whether or not to try and share it on here. But it’s something that inspired me and inspiration is something I’m hoping I might, sometimes, provide here in one form or another, so here goes.

I went to a Speech Day/Leavers Service at the weekend and they had a Guest Speaker there, Charles Hazlewood. I’m afraid I hadn’t heard of him beforehand but he is a famous conductor. His talk was all about having trust and belief in yourself. He told us:

“I believe that I can conduct a Beethoven symphony like no one else in the world. You may think that’s me being arrogant but I’m not saying I can do it ‘better’ than anyone else in the world, just that my way will be unique to me. I can bring something to it that no one else can.”

He was very passionate that the first step to achieving anything is to believe, to know, that you have something unique to offer the world. That everyone has something unique to offer the world, whether this is the world in the widest sense or on a smaller scale – the people around you. In his job this need for trust then moves on to trusting people around him, in his case often members of his orchestra. Each of his musicians has something unique, their own personal interpretation of the music, to offer to the orchestra as a whole. He compared his role as a conductor to holding a small, wild bird – “hold it too tightly and you’ll squash it, hold it too loosely and it will fly away”.

He also talked about one particular aspect of his life and work – the founding of The British Paraorchestra. This was clearly a very personal and heartfelt area of his work. If you can, please take a moment to read more about it here:

The Paraorchestra played at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games last year with Cold Play. I’m ashamed to say that this is a part of the ceremony that I hadn’t really picked up on at the time, and I have never before wondered why there are so few well known musicians and singers with disabilities. It seemed so obvious, once he had brought it to our attention, that this was a whole group of people who were being lost to the world, and it made me wonder in how many other walks of life there might be people we should be seeing and hearing and for one reason or another they don’t have the opportunities or the encouragement or the platform to get their uniqueness out to the world – be it in the wider or narrower sense.

I don’t think trying to put his words in writing here will have half the effect that they had on me in person but I took a lot from his talk to help me with parenting as well as crafting and probably lots of other areas of life. He was a very inspiring speaker, and, as I listened to him, I found myself being reminded of someone else I know. I couldn’t think why to start with because they don’t look alike and, on the face of it, they don’t really have much in common. And then I realised that it was because they both had a passion for something in their lives, something they were committed to in their words and in their actions. I think this kind of passion is the main ingredient in making a person inspiring or not inspiring, to me anyway.

Ok, enough of that, I hope you didn’t find it too boring or off track. Now here’s another thing that was sort of a birthday present for Maria. I say ‘sort of’ since I did actually start this well over a year ago to give to her for her last birthday! I got the top finished but never got round to backing it and finishing it. So it wasn’t a surprise for her and she had played on it before, but this birthday finally prompted me to finish it.
It's a Hop Scotch Quilt.

Just large pieces sewn together, with numbers machine appliqued (with raw edges) and some ric rac. Very simple. A couple of the fabrics are actually new on this, but the other 2 came from a table cloth and a remnant I picked up in a charity shop. I backed it in an old shower curtain, again found at a charity shop, since I wanted it to be used mainly outside, and there’s an old wool blanket as wadding to give it some weight and sturdiness. Quilting these 3 layers together was a bit of a pain, especially because of the slippiness the shower curtain brought to the show. And even more so because my trusty ‘505’ spray glue for basting (if you haven’t used this stuff I’d definitely recommend it, makes the quilting process so much easier) didn’t seem to work on shower curtain fabric. Maybe when I’m feeling a bit more patient, I’ll try and do some more quilting lines on it, I think it would improve it. For now both my girls love using it (even the boys have been seen giving it a go – but unfortunately never when I’ve had my camera handy!)

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ve got an incredibly quick make – literally 5 minutes.

See you then, Sally.


  1. So enjoying your blog Sal.Its a good excuse to sit down with a cup of tea!Lovely words!Amy and I have been asked to co-ordinate a patchwork project for the start of the new school year.Each child is to bring a square of fabric in that means something to them.The project is myths and legends,We are to "construct" a giants jacket made of the childrens and local communities patches!We both agreed we wished you came to our school.We may need you on hand for advice!X Michele x

  2. Ahhh, thank you. And sounds like a great project, a Giant's jacket sounds a bit tricky though! Couldn't you persuade them to let you do a Giant's table cloth (then they could all make giant cups and saucers out of papier mache to go on it!) or just a Giant's quilt? Take lots of photos and you can come and be my 'guest blogger' to show us how it went? X


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