About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kale Soup and Oatmeal Bread

What a great dinner, if I do say so myself. I made the Kale and Potato Soup from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food. It was simple to make, but so delicious. It is the ingredients and proportions in Water's recipes that make them so good. I used local curly kale and Yukon Gold spuds from our local Westisle Farms, along with two onions browned in olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic, chicken stock and salt and pepper.

I think that the very good, very fresh local Yukon Gold potatoes made this soup so special .

And then, I baked Oatmeal Bread, which was just fabulous. Mine turned out just like the picture on the web page. We finished up an already open bottle of red wine and each had two Bockmann's Truffini chocolates for dessert.

Three big loaves. The one on the right has two thick slices out of it, that we ate with the soup. We put on lots of butter.
And the tide is high with a lovely soft sea breeze coming in through the open patio doors. OMG do I ever love summer!

Looking down from our deck at about 7 pm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crewel Embroidery

When I travel, I like to buy a small hand work kit as a memento. Easy to pack, a project to work on in the hotel, and a reason to visit those kinds of shops where ever I happen to be. I don't worry about the project reflecting where I am travelling, so I have bought crewel embroidery in Galway and needle point in San Francisco. The trouble is, I start the project on the trip, and then when I get home, I am back into all my other projects, and the travel project languishes, and languishes . . .
I finally finished the Irish crewel project, and it was a tiny one, from 2003, when we went to Dublin and Galway the year before the centenary of James Joyce's Ulysses.
Small crewel embroidery kit purchased in Galway in 2003. Now what do I do with it? I have it pinned to the cork board in my work room for the time being. It may be there for 9 years too.
The Elsa Willams cushion cover below is of another magnitude. I cannot actually remember where or when I bought it. It has scared me because it is quite complex, but I am into finishing projects these days, so I have been persevering.

I am close to half done.

The kit is first quality, with lovely linen and many colours of wool.

The charts are very detailed.

Look at all the yarn colours.

I think the results are beautiful.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cross stitch quilt Label: Part 2

I finished my quilt label today. A big thank you to Alicia Paulson who taught me how. I love the results.

I cut between the words on the waste canvas to make the threads short and easy to extricate.

These tweezers came in a toiletry case years ago. I use them often to pull needles through layers of fabric. They came in very handy in removing the canvas threads from under the cross stitch.

I turned under the edges of the label and hem stitched it to the back of the quilt.

There - doesn't that look beautiful!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cross Stitch Quilt Label: Part I

I love my five-years-in-the-making and every-stitch-by-hand Rose Garden Quilt so much that I want to make a very special label for it. I am a fan of Alicia Paulson's blog Posie Gets Cozy, and admired the exquisite cross stitch label on her Spring Rain Quilt. I emailed Alicia and she very graciously let me know how to do the label. In addition, she has excellent cross stitch instructions available here http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/2012/01/counted-cross-stitch-part-1.html .
Alicia nicely integrated her label into her quilt, and I will know to do that for the future. My situation is that I have a finished, heavily hand quilted piece that will have to have a separate label attached.
I purchased 14 thread count needlepoint canvas as instructed by Alicia to use as waste canvas. I already had DMC floss (she says to separate it and use 2 strands) and size 24 needles. I basted a 6 inch square of the canvas to a piece of my backing fabric, and consulted my reference library. In The Crewel Needlepoint World by Barbara H. Donnelly, published in 1973, I found a graph of a "five horizontal alphabet" which is the smallest possible. In Charted Peasant Designs from Saxon Transylvania, a Dover reprint of a 1964 publication, I found a floral motif.
Here I am getting started:
I used the top alphabet graph from The Crewel Needlepoint World p. 85.

I will use one of the floral motifs on this page from Charted Peasant Designs from Saxon Transylvania.

My tentative label design.

The canvas is basted to the fabric and I am auditioning floss colours.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Blue Room Shoes

Ever since Sock Summit last summer I have been fascinated with Japanese room shoes. I crocheted a pair from the pattern provided at the workshop, and have crocheted several pairs from this book, including the crocheted pair illustrated on the book cover below.


Some time ago I bought felt for the soles as required to make a sewn pair of room shoes, but the instructions seemed complicated so I kept waiting for a space of time to take on the project. Yesterday felt right so I got started. What a wonderful project! Even though all the instructions are in Japanese, the schematics and drawings are so clear that this was a dream to put together. The pattern is precise and the construction straight forward with excellent results.

Excellent, clear instructions.
My finished sewn room shoes.

Grey wool felt for the sole.

Blue linen for the upper shell, and cotton coarse weave for the lining.

The pattern illustration.

Tour de France knitting

I just love the Tour de France. Sometimes I get up early and watch the end of it in the morning - it starts at 5 AM Pacific Daylight Time, and finishes around 8 AM. Or else I watch it in the afternoon when it shows again from 5 to 8 PM. I am keeping Mermaid, my third iteration of Hannah Fettig's Featherweight Cardigan pattern, in the TV room for knitting exclusively while watching the Tour. It is amazing how much I am getting done!
My Ravelry link to the project with pattern and yarn details is at
http://ravel.me/cockburnj/fc3  .
Where I was before the Tour began.

Halfway through the Tour and I am beginning the bottom garter stitch band.

The lovely Mermaid colour way yarn, Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester 2/8

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another knitting project

I know that I said that I would not start another knitting project until I finished at least one of the 10 then I currently have in the works. But . . . J. ordered me a new circular Signature knitting needle 3.5mm, and I just had to try it. So I am using a skein of wonderful Sock Summit yarn to knit Saroyan.

Saroyan under construction.

The yarn.

The wonderful new Signature needles.