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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grasses in the spring garden

Grasses are subtle bloomers, but they are beautiful, easy care, the deer do not eat them - what's not to like?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Socks 101

I love to knit socks, and this link from online Knitty magazine is a must:

Quilting Colour Class #5 Finale: Red Birds Quilt

Quilt detail illustrating the three dimensional effect of hand quilting the wool batting. You see it best on the central maroon red square.

The last project in our quilting group's series of colour classes, based on Gai Perry's book, was to create a nine patch variation quilt with the colours inspired by a border fabric. I loved this project as I did all the previous ones, and am pleased with my quilt.

I have experimented with technique in addition to colour theory when making these projects. In this case, I used a wool batting instead of my usual natural cotton. The wool batting has lots of natural volume which gives the hand quilting a three dimensional, almost trapunto effect. I did not think that machine quilting would work because of all the movement associated with the high loft, so I hand quilted using perle cotton #12. Wool batting is lovely, light and warm, and is a dream to hand quilt - much easier than cotton batting which creates friction around the needle and becomes tiring to push through.

I love the trapunto effect, and decided to quilt around the birds in the border fabric as an experiment - which may not be entirely successful, but it is a chance to try these things out on a small piece of work. Here is my Red Birds Quilt.
 The complete quilt hanging on my design wall.

 Bottom left corner detail.

 Detail of nine patch squares.

 Detail of hand quilting around the birds and nests in the border, using perle cotton #12.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Karl-Dieter Myrenne, RIP

In loving memory of Karl-Dieter Myrenne, a good friend, who died May 24, 2011, 75 years young. A chemist, inventor, lover of music and art, a gardener, a traveler, a loving father to Michelle, a wonderful opa to his grandson, a regular at Burning Man Festival - he will be much missed by his friends.

Green Monkey Socks

I finished the Monkey Socks in a lovely shade of green - probably better to call then Vines and Leaves Socks as that is a better description of the lace pattern. They will go to my friend's daughter who is ill with Lyme disease, pauvre fille :-(
The pattern is by sock designer extraordinaire Cooke A., and was originally published online in Knitty Magazine in the Winter 2006 issue

Monday, May 23, 2011

Native orchid: Spotted Coralroot aka Corallorhiza maculata

The pictures below are from a path in the woods on our property - our own rare native orchid! There is a better photo on the this page from UBC:  E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia
Our plant has flowers that look just like the ones in the photo on the website, but my camera, or my photographic skills, could not catch the detail.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cumberland Quilt Show

Queen Victoria's Birthday weekend, and Empire Days in Cumberland. We took in the Schoolhouse Quilters' Show and went for lunch.
This lovely young stilt walker was in the parade.

 An American Civil War Reproduction quilt.

Detail from the quilt above.

 A pineapple pattern quilt.

This small quilt was only about 14 inches high. It was made from a kit and features the Oregon coast using the "storm at sea" block. The work was remarkable with every tiny piece square and even and none of the points cut off.
 Detail from the quilt above.

 A lovely painted and beaded small triptych.

 Detail from the quilt above.

This textured quilting was on a small handbag.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I plan on getting back to sweater knitting again. After my Kaffe Fassett sweaters in the 1990's I had a hiatus from knitting while my frozen shoulder took 3 years (!) to get better, and since then it has been mostly socks, with a few scarves and mittens and gloves for good measure. But I can feel a good, complicated fair isle in-the-round cardigan with steeking urge coming over me.
Here is my inspiration http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit/2006/01/the_steeking_chronicles_part_i.html , a way to steek without using a sewing machine.

Today I planted annuals in pots

The May long weekend is traditionally gardening time all across Canada. But tomorrow, Saturday, I am off to the Empire Days Quilt Show in Cumberland, so I planted all my annuals in pots and hanging baskets today. I also planted a bed of vegetables, and for the first time I used starter plants from the nursery instead of seeds. We will see how it works out - it certainly was easier and I have instant gratification.
The scented nutmeg geranium in the big pot has been wintered over in the garden shed for at least  four years. Here it is outside under the eaves, getting acclimatized, along with some newly potted annuals.

 Petunias are my choice this year for potted annuals that can take the heat and show summer long colour.

The flower box on the well house was planted with pansies three weeks ago, but I added some annuals today to get the transition going to warmer weather plants.

Here is my veggie bed with broccoli in the middle, Italian parsley up top, and some lettuces along the bottom. Let us hope for the best - with all the Douglas Fir trees increasing in height every year shading the garden and sending out roots sucking up the moisture  from the soil - well, these lovely raised beds are breaking my gardening heart!

This hanging basket outside the garage should be very pretty in a short time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Community School Art Show at the Denman Island Arts Centre

 This quilt was created by Barb Mortell, a wonderful quilter and designer, working with the school children. They made either a self portrait, or depicted a favourite pet or toy. Barb has been teaching the colour classes to our local quilting group. The community is lucky to have such a talented and generous artist.

 Detail of the quilt showing a self portrait.

 A wonderful stuffed creature. I love the way the baby is snuggled on the tummy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ruffle top socks

There is a PDF of this pattern at http://tinyurl.com/3dbp4om   .

Ruffle socks from the toe up.
Use a long 2.5 mm circular needle to knit using magic loop method. 
Cast on at the toe
Figure eight cast on of 12 stitches on each needle (24 total).
Knit one round even.
Increase round adds 4 stitches. On each needle - K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1, K1. 
Repeat these two rounds until total stitch number is 56, with 28 on each needle. The toe is now complete.
Knit the foot
Begin knitting a lace or cable pattern if desired. Knit the pattern only on the 28 stitches for the top of the sock. Leave the sole of the sock smooth.
{Monkey lace pattern on 28 sts of instep over 11 rows:
Row one   K2, P4, K16, P4, K2
Row two   K2, P8, K8, P8, K2
Row three   K2, P7, K2together, K3, yarn over twice, K3, slip slip knit, P7, K2
Row four   K2, P7, K5, knit one through back of loop, K4, P7, K2
Row five  K2, P6, K2tog, K3, yo, K2, yo, K3, ssk, P6, K2
Row six  K2, P6,  K12, P6, K2
Row seven   K2, P5, K2tog, K3, yo, K4, yo, K3, ssk, P5, K2
Row eight   K2, P5, K14, P5, K2
Row nine  K2, P4, K2tog, K3, yo, K6, yo, K3, ssk, P4, K2
Row ten  K2, P4, K16, P4, K2
Row eleven   K2, P4, K16, P4, K2}
Knit to 2 inches shorter than foot size, thus for a size 9 foot knit until the sock measures 7 or 7 ½ inches from the start of the toe.
Knit the heel gusset
Increase round on the sole stitches, K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1, K1. Knit the top stitches without increases maintaining any pattern.
Knit one round even.
Repeat these two rounds until there are 52 stitches on the sole of the sock. Work across the top stitches.
Turn the heel
Knit back and forth only on the sole stitches to turn the heel.
Row 1  K29, K2 together through back of loops, K1, turn.
Row 2  Slip 1 purlwise, P7, P2 together, P1, turn.
Row 3  Slip 1 purlwise, K8, K2 together through back of loops, K1, turn.
Row 4  Slip 1 purlwise, P9, P2 together, P1, turn.
Row 5  Slip 1 purlwise, K10, K2 together through back of loops, K1, turn.
Row 6  Slip 1 purlwise, P11, P2 together, P1, turn.
Continue in this manner until there are again 28 sole stitches.
Knit the ankle of the sock
Resume knitting in the round. Maintain any pattern and use it all around the ankle if you wish. Continue until the ankle is two inches shorter than desired.
Change colours and knit one round, then knit 20 rounds of K1, P1 rib.
Ruffle Bind-Off over 7 rows
Row one  Knit one round.
Row two  Purl twice into each stitch all around (112 sts).
Row three  Purl one round.
Row four  Purl one, yo to make 1 all around (224 sts).
Rows five and six  Purl two rounds.
Row seven  Cast off purl wise, fasten yarn and weave in ends.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Purple Martins are back to Vancouver Island

I took this photo against the sun so the images are backlit and hard to see. It shows the purple martin bird boxes on the old ferry pilings at Buckley Bay, and the birds were flying in and out and singing their beautiful chuckling musical song. The ferry worker said he noticed them back on about May 2 or 3.

Quilting Colour Class #4: Sunshine and Shadows

Image above of the quilt top before the borders were added. I think this photo has the truest colour reproduction. I used complimentary colour scheme of red orange and blue grey green.

This is the postcard photograph of Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly, rare and breeds on Denman Island. It was the inspiration for my quilt.

Here is the finished wall quilt with the borders added and quilting completed.

Above and below are details of the hand quilting in the borders, butterfly motif rendered with #8 perle cotton.