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 16, 2011

Comfort food - Rhubarb Compote

Cut lots of fresh rhubarb from the garden, wash and slice into chunks. Boil with a little water to keep from scorching, a long and slow simmer until the rhubarb is stewed and turns to mush. While simmering add 5 whole cloves, 1/2 a vanilla bean, 1/2 a stick of cinnamon and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Add lots of Demerara brown sugar, and keep tasting until it is sweet enough. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight so it thickens. Serve it with thick vanilla yogurt, or heavy cream, or Bird's Custard. For a wonderful finish, finely chop some crystallized ginger in a food processor, and sprinkle on top of the rhubarb compote and cream. This has been my party piece at Angela's end-of-season June potluck for our book club for many years.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Simple Potato Tomato Soup

This soup is simple to make, delicious to eat, the ingredients are usually around the house, it is vegan, and most people like it. And it keeps for several days in the fridge, getting tastier as the flavours blend.

Coarsely chop 2 cups or more of potatoes, unpeeled if skins are thin, and put in a large pot with a cup or more of coarsely chopped onion and the same of celery. Add a 800 ml tin of chopped or whole tomatoes (if the latter, break up with the back of a wooden spoon) and 3 cups of water. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, grind in some black pepper, and add some dried or fresh herbs; parsley, thyme, oregano, marjoram and basil are all good. A dash of Worcestershire sauce or of balsamic vinegar can enhance the flavour. Bring it all to a boil, and simmer until the veggies are tender. Best if cooled, refrigerated and reheated to eat the next day. Taste for salt and add as needed before serving.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Historical Knitting Books and Resources: Online in fulltext

Digital Resources from the Knitting Reference Library Winchester School of Art / University of Southhampton

The Richard Rutt Collection at Winchester School of Art 

Richard Rutt is a scholar and former bishop who is widely known for his classic book 'A history of hand knitting', published by Batsford in 1987. Rutt’s library of books, journals, magazines, patterns and cuttings specifically on knitting is held at Winchester School of Art Library. This follows his wish to donate his library to the University of Southampton in order to join it with Montse Stanley’s Knitting Collections as an acknowledgement of their shared interest in knitting and their consequent long standing friendship.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My birthday swift and Malabrigo lace yarn

My sweet husband has given me a swift for facilitating the winding skeins of yarn into balls. For some reason the best yarns seem to only come in skeins, so for years I have been arranging skeins over the back of two chairs and using my handy ball winder. Now I have this wonderful device.

The yarn on the swift is Malabrigo Lace, the finest merino wool from Uruguay. I am going to knit a sweater for myself; the Hannah Fetig design "Featherweight Cardigan".

And for once I am doing a swatch, as I have finally learned that haste makes waste, and I need to know this sweater will fit. I started using a 4mm Adi Turbo circular needle, as I just adore Adi Turbo needles. But interestingly enough, they were too slippery for the fine yarn, and the 4mm bamboo needle that I had rejected when knitting bamboo/silk yarn is perfect for this project.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blueberry Crumble

Mix in a large bowl, 7 cups of blueberries (still frozen is okay, and fresh is wonderful), 1 cup white sugar, 4 tablespoons instant tapioca, freshly grated nutmeg (1/8 to 1/4 of a nutmeg), 1/2 of a lemon juice and zest, pinch of salt. Put this berry mixture into a large flat baking dish, no need to butter the dish first.
In the bowl just used, put 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, grating of nutmeg, pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut into this 1/2 cup cold butter, then mix in 1 cup large flake oats. Sprinkle this crumble over top of the berries, and bake at 350 for 1 hour.