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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Love Padlocks in Paris

Now is this tacky or is it wonderful? I cannot decide. The phenomenon occurs on two bridges over the Seine, and we walked over both of them. I think this was taken on the Pont de l'Archeveche (the other padlock decorated/littered bridge is Pont des Arts).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paris at dusk

Went for a walk at 7 pm along the left bank of the Seine, crossed over the Alexander III bridge, back along the right bank and thence back across the Pont des Invalides. As we were loitering on the lovely Pont A. III, the Eiffel Tour in the distance lit up, a magical sight.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cooking in Paris

Feeling very proud of myself. First full day in Paris and I have managed to speak enough French to buy groceries, including a polite exchange with the delightful cashier at the Monoprix just off the Blvd. St. Germain. Who says that Parisians are rude to English speakers? Our experience is the opposite of that, as everyone has been charming and helpful and has spoken English that matches my French, so that between us we manage. I find the French politesse is very evident.
Then I managed to make a home-cooked meal from scratch on the iffy two burners in the tiny kitchen (last evening we microwaved a frozen dinner which was less than satisfactory).
Improvised Pasta Primavera with Farfalle
Sauté mushrooms (here Golden Mushrooms) in olive oil. Add chopped shallots, then pieces of asparagus. Finish with a chopped tomato, salt and pepper. Let it simmer to tender while boiling farfalle pasta in salted water for 10 minutes. Add the pasta to the veggies along with some of the pasta water. Serve with flakes of Pamagianno cheese, red wine and chocolate to follow.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bath Spa

Bath Spa Starbucks as part of our daily British vacation routine. We need our wifi fix! Off to see the Abbey and the Pump Room and the Jane Austen Centre and some Roman ruins. 

More V&A

How about this for a continuous loop quilt design?

Very Old Quilt at the V&A

Spent a wonderful day on Sunday at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, a pleasant walk from our friends' London town home where we are fortunate to be staying. Took so many pics of inspiration for future quilts and handicrafts.
Below is a linen quilt from about 500 years ago illustrating historical exploits. Shows the beauty of induced natural materials and hand quilting as a drawing medium.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tomatoes and Deer

In June I planted tomatoes in the front herb garden, in the area that was dug up during the February septic pump debacle. It is the sunniest part of the garden, and was nicely enriched with all the leaf mold and compost that was used to fill up the hole that needed to be dug to access the broken seal on the septic tank. I wondered if deer would eat tomato plants, and now I know that the answer is YES. The plants were untouched until mid-August, but at that time the deer started eating all sorts of things that they had been ignoring - the tomato plants, the geraniums next to the front door, petunias, bronze fennel, rudbeckia and asters. Each morning there was more munching of the tomatoes, and today I rescued our meagre harvest. Ah well, gardening is for the fun of the activity, and any harvest is a bonus.
Well munched tomato plants.

Our meagre harvest of cherry tomatoes.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Socks on Tour

I finished a pair of toe up socks today, for Audrey to take on tour to local craft guilds, to promote my sock knitting workshop at the Creative Threads Conspiracy in October, 2012.

The finished socks.

The seamless toe starts with a figure eight cast-on.

The short row heel is easy to knit and fits well.

You can download the "44 Stitch Toe Up Socks" pattern for free from Ravelry with this link:
download now

Finished Place Mats

I finished hem stitching the binding to the back of all six placemats today. I think that they are very pretty, and worthy to be a gift to our London hosts next week.

One of the placemats showing the overall machine quilting pattern.
Another place mat.

The place mat back.