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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Art quilts based on close-ups of beach shell

These are small wall art quilts that I made based on close up photos of shells on the beach.










Linen throw quilt

I am continuing with my pieced hexagon adventure. These are larger hexagons, 2 1/2" I think. I appliqued them to a large piece of mid-weight pale green linen. It is fairly heavy, but I still think that I will back it with handkerchief weight linen, and so make a linen throw quilt. Now what to call it? - something thing Wind Blown Blossoms, or Windy Garden, or Falling Petals - hmmm, I don't want a cutesy name. Will have to think on this . . .
On the design board, appliqué finished. Waiting to be sandwiched and quilted.

Detail of the appliquéd hexagons. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dragonfly Garden quilt top all pieced and ready to sandwich and machine quilt

I have been working on piecing the quilt top with the English paper pieced hexagons as the centre.
The first dragonfly block border has been added. The soft greyish green sashing does not show up in the photo.

Sewing on the last dragonfly border.
The dragonfly stamped blocks.
I stamped some 4 inch blocks with a dragonfly motif, then highlighted the dragonfly body with a gilt pen. That worked so well that I made 8 inch blocks stamped with a tree branch motif. I highlighted the branch with a brown Sharpie pen, and the leaves with different green Sharpie pens. I used Staz-On and VersaFine stamp pads, which worked really well. Here is a great site which compares stamp pads for use on fabric http://www.crafttestdummies.com/craft-product-reviews/comparison-of-stamp-pad-inks-on-fabric/  and http://www.crafttestdummies.com/craft-product-reviews/review-of-versafine-stamp-pad-by-tsukineko/ .

The branch squares being positioned on the design board.


I put it all together with a really lovely subtle soft greyish green solid fabric used in sashing between all the coloured blocks. I am really happy with the result, and have decided to call the quilt Dragonfly Garden.

It is all pieced, at and 86 by 96 inches I think that I can call it a queen size quilt. I am going to baste the quilt sandwich together on Saturday afternoon, with my friend Ellen to help me.

I am still deciding on the backing. I know that I want it to be a light coloured solid to showcase the free motion quilting that I am planning. I have a bolt of Osnaburg which I purchased from Nancy's Notions. The Osnaburg worked so well in the Midsummer Garden quilt to show off the quilting stitches. I also have a really light and lovely cotton/silk mix that I think I will actually use. I appliquéd the hexagons onto a silk square, so I rather like to continue to use some more silk. It will also make a lighter quilt than would be the case with Osnaburg. I plan on using a pure cotton batting, which will be heavier than a 80/20% cotton/poly batting - but the pure cotton really sticks to the front and backing fabrics and does not shift during machine quilting, which is a real bonus. The 80/20% cotton/poly batting is much easier to hand quilt, and I have been using it for my small wall quilts that are heavily hand quilted.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More art quilts - the Baynes Sound and Denman Point series

Moon Over the Mountain quilts

Baynes Sound is the body of water directly in front of our house. It is a channel between the west side of Denman Island and the east side of Vancouver Island. I take lots of pictures because it is so beautiful at all seasons and times of the day.
This was an early morning in March just as the moon was setting. I used it for the model for my Moon Over the Mountain wall quilts.

Winter sunset looking west..

Winter scene looking south.

Winter scene looking north.

Denman Point looking north, February.

Denman Point, February, looking at Vancouver Island.

Denman Point.

Snow in January.
Sunset, June 2013.
 Now I am working on three wall quilts that are not based on a single photograph, but gather the essence of these scenes.



Chain piecing 1 1/2 inch squares.

Pieced top, twenty by twenty-two 1 inch squares. Here pin basted with batting and linen backing.


Handkerchief linen backing.


Baynes Sound and Denman Point quilts under construction.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Midsummer Garden quilt completed, and how I made it.


Midsummer Garden Quilt and How I Made It

The completed quilt. Apologies for the fuzzy photo. I will try to get a better one. This is draped over the sofa in my studio. The binding is a solid dark brown.
On the design board. I began by piecing 16 blocks, each 18 inches square. Each lare square is a solid colour, with a coordinating print square in the centre. The 4 small corner squares are all the same lime green print. I used a pattern for a square from Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match, which I sized up to 18 inches.
This is the full size sketch of my planned free motion machine quilting design for each block.


I layered each square with 100% cotton batting and a backing of pre-shrunk Osnaburg cotton. I used the directions for "quilt-as-you-go" from Harriet Hargreave's Heirloom Machine Quilting book. It allowed me to do intricate quilting of each square, see below, but it was a lot of work. I will probably not do this again and just go for quilting the whole quilt at one time. 
Each 18 inch square was free motion quilted from centre out. I started with a flower shape, that I found on Leah Day's site, then surrounded that with my own invented leaves and ferns in the corners. I used 30 weight cotton quilting thread in beige and grey. Then I went back with white very fine serger thread and filled in all the spaces with free motion quilted pebbling.  I kept the quilting 2 inches from the edges to allow for joining the squares. The Osnaburg backing fabric is fabulous for its 3D effect from the quilting.

A square with the initial quilting completed.










Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hexing along

I have made an enormous number of hexagons, in all sorts of sizes. It is addictive to sit on the sofa of an evening, listening to audiobooks (The Diamond Age, The Caine Mutiny, The Life of Elizabeth, The Mists of Avalon) while basting interesting fabrics to shaped papers.
However, then one has a pile of lovely hexagons, and what to do with them all?
I took my collection of 1 and 1/2 inch hexies and using my design board, arranged them into a carpet of flowers. Whipstitching them all together was a challenge, as I needed to work from the design board in order to keep the arrangement. It took a number of sessions, which I interspersed with machine quilting on my Midsummer Garden quilt. The two projects were good ones to alternate to keep my back from aching and my hands from cramping.
With the hexagon joining project completed, I had a piece about 30 inches square that I want to incorporate as a centre piece in a full size quilt.
After much cogitation, I decided to applique the centre piece of joined hexagons, still with papers intact, onto a lovely big square piece of silk and cotton in a neutral tawny colour. I left the background square intact for stability, and used 100 weight YLI silk thread - so fine!- for the appliquéing. It all went more quickly and easily than I thought. In two evenings of work (and many chapters of The Caine Mutiny) I was done.
The next step will be to cut away the background fabric from behind, and remove the papers. I plan to use the removed fabric in more of the quilt.

Here the hexies are on the design board and I am in the process of joining them together. 
Here is the centre panel appliqued onto the silk/cotton background fabric. This pic was taken at our end of the season potluck lunch.