About

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

A Sentimental Journey

I see that my last blog post was on March 28, when I posted about the (non) progress of my original “Coin Toss” piecing, and a spinoff of another piece I am working on which I was not ready to share. Around this time, my private life took a bit of a detour, and I took an enforced break from which I am only now returning. But I had been excited about the AHIQ challenge this year, and encouraged by the collegial nature of the group of quilters who are part of it, especially by Ann and Kaja. I have been lurking online, reading all the posts, following your progress, and making the occasional comment. Finally, I am ready to share.

Mom on Mount Tam

On May 10, 2017, I lost my dear mother, my biggest fan, and my best friend. Mom was my most faithful reader. She followed my blog from Day #1, and never failed to read my posts and comment on them, privately, to me, in e-mails or in one of our frequent phone calls. She loved everything I ever made. Here is a picture of her smiling at my camera, on a sunny day in 2015, when I took her for a drive up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais. The little quilt of Mt. Tam (my very first art quilt and the banner on my blog) hung on the wall in her apartment, where she could see it every day from her favorite perch on the sofa. It represented the view from our front room when I was young. It now hangs once again in my studio.

I was privileged to be able to spend the last several weeks living with her. She had enjoyed a very full, and happy life, and was very independent. When she finally decided to ask for our help, there was not much for my two brothers and I to do but just be with her. There was no real illness, only age and weakness. She was mentally present and articulate about being grateful for what she had had, and also about being ready to go when God called her. Her passing was graceful, accepting and peaceful, and her children were with her. One can only hope to come to such an end. We whom she left behind will miss her every day.

***

Earlier in the year, my art quilting group had set a couple of challenges for the membership. The first challenge was “Flowers” and was due in June. I was not excited about making a quilt with a flower theme, but during the time I was staying with Mom, while going through things in the apartment, I came across my Dad’s stash of art supplies. There was a sketchbook, and some oil pastels. I decided to play with them one evening and made a sketch/drawing of an idea I’d had in my head of wilting flowers. I thought about Mom, also wilting, and what kind of flower she would have been. I decided on a sunflower, for several reasons. She was my Mom, thus larger than life to me; she was born at the end of August, in the hot days at the end of summer; and she was a blonde, all the time I was growing up. So I made a sketch of a sunflower, past her prime, in a simmering-hot summer sun. My drawing abilities are not great, but I was pleased with this sketch. I decided it might be a suitable subject for a small art quilt.

I will leave you with the sketch I made, but I will be back for AHIQ to share the quilt that came from it.

IMG_3749

Thanks for sticking with me.

Sue

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