What is Sizzlewaggle?  Who is she?

When I was a little girl, my father liked to make up ‘new names’ for me from time to time. There were many, but the one I always liked best was Sizzlewaggle.  It fit somehow.  I have chosen this name as my nom de plume, as it were.  And Dad would have gotten a kick out it.

I hope to make this blog a record of the great fun and satisfaction I have found in sewing and other fabric arts through my whole life, and about my newer fascination with vintage sewing machines of all types, but especially those of the people-powered variety.  Through these activities I have also found a whole new world of friends who add a welcome dimension and interest to my life.

Winnie Greene Rockingham, 1920

Winnie, 1920

I began sewing when I was very young, perhaps 7 or 8 years old.  My mother did not enjoy sewing and tells stories of having to stand for fittings throughout her young life.  It was  my maternal grandmother, Winnie, an exquisite seamstress and a very stylish person, who got me started and encouraged my bent.  She was probably disappointed that neither of her daughters had followed in her footsteps, but she found a willing student in me.

I started out on Barbie clothes, but soon moved on to the harder stuff.  I have attempted everything that can possibly be sewn on a machine, with greater and lesser success; doll clothes, people clothes, flags, sailboat sails, upholstery, leather apparel, I even tried to make myself a pair of boots once, in the 60s, but they didn’t turn out too well.  I once had a job making leather hot pants and fringed vests; and another making costumes for a Moliere play (Les Femmes Savantes).  I completed a course in fashion design, tailoring, pattern drafting and grading at Pacific Fashion Institute in San Francisco in 1969.  None of my productions from that period survive, but the skill set was implanted, thanks to the dynamo director of that school, the late Mrs. Kii Kubokawa.

I had to put sewing aside for the most part, from the late 70s to late 90s, while raising a pair of exceptional children, and working full-time in Engineering and local government.  Now, I have taken over my daughter’s bedroom for a sewing room, and various other parts of the house are being populated slowly by my growing collection of machines.  I have begun making quilts, which is my current fascination.  I live in Northern California, with my husband of 42 years, and two cats.

It seems that starting a blog is de rigeur for those similarly situated, so here I am.


Recent Posts

AHIQ – Summer’s End Quilt

In my last post, a Sentimental Journey, I filled you in on what’s been happening in my life the past few months. I had sketched a pretty good (for me) version of a wilting sunflower, and had an idea how to translate it into fabric. Once home, I decided to do an improv-pieced background and place my sunflower image on top of it. It turns out that the background I came up with was, actually, composed of two different improv ‘blocks’.

For the upper part of the background, the ‘sky’ I used strip piecing similar to a couple of earlier projects. I hand cut strips in a more or less consistent width, then stitch them end to end, in a fairly random order, then cut them into lengths equal to the width of the piece I need, then stitch them together side by side. For this project I used a variety of commercial fabrics, including some textural prints, and ginghams and shirting plaids, all in shades of blue.


For the “ground”, I put together some Sujata-Shah-style stack-and-cut strips of wedge shapes, also using different textures and shirting plaids, this time in brown and gold colors. They represent a late-summer field of dried grass, or corn stalks.

Here is a progress photo of the background piecing.

I sandwiched and quilted the background first, using a few different variegated Sulky threads, in golds, yellows, browns and greens, using a walking foot.

Then, I made a cartoon of my sunflower sketch, enlarged to fit the size of the piece (20″ by 30″) and cut out all the pieces from several hand-dyed fabrics and batiks. These were fused in place, edge-stitched, and embellished with more stitching, some free-motion, some not, in stages building from the background of the image to the front. The last step was to enhance some of the shapes with shadowing. For this I used Derwent Inktense® pencils and a fine-tipped ‘water brush’ to control the amount of water and prevent it spreading beyond the edges where I wanted it to be.  I used facings rather than bindings on the edges, which has become my preferred mode for these little art quilts. It makes a nice, clean edge that hangs flat to the wall.

One disappointment with the finished piece is that although the stitches do not, the lines of the quilting showed through the applique a bit. This is especially noticeable in the photo, though it is not so much in person.  But I am generally pleased with the finished piece. Even though technically, summer has just begun, here is Summer’s End, all done and ready to share. 

Linking up with AHIQ over at Ann’s and Kaja’s.

Thank you for stopping by!



  1. A Sentimental Journey 6 Replies
  2. AHIQ Linkup – And Now, for Something Completely Different 12 Replies
  3. Coin Toss – AHIQ Linkup Better Late than Never! 7 Replies
  4. Coin Toss 1 – My Three Cents’ Worth 7 Replies
  5. Butterflies in January? 6 Replies
  6. AHIQ 2017 – Game On! 10 Replies
  7. A New Start 20 Replies
  8. Made on Monday 49-50-51 and 52- The Grand Finale? 14 Replies
  9. Made on Monday 46-47-48 – Catching Up a Bit 4 Replies