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 30, 2011

Vancouver Film Festival

Just home from seeing the new Sarah Polley film, Take This Waltz. Michelle Williams is amazing as the confused and emotionally needy protagonist. Not a perfect film, but very beautiful and evocative. Maybe a chic flick, but a good one. Worth seeing for the hilarious scene of the aquacizes class in the local pool and the subsequent subtle revelation of the reality of aging women's bodies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Japanese Room Shoes

Hurrah. I loved the Crocheting Japanese Room Shoes workshop that Gayle Roehm taught at Sock Summit 2011, and finally I completed a pair. They are the comfiest slippers.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Annual bird watching/hiking weekend with my brother. We saw a wonderful bird in Blakiston Falls, an American Dipper, which is the only songbird to swim in water.

Alberta blue

In September the skies in Alberta are blue, blue, blue and the water everywhere reflects the sky. Walking with my brother along the North Saskatchewan River was wonderful, especially as finally there were no more mosquitoes for the year.

All along the river bank were signs of hard working beavers:

Beaver work

Beaver eaten bark

A large tree brought downed by beavers

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Japanese Crochet Bag

The true value of making this lovely bag is the brain exercise of figuring out the amazing schematics of charted Japanese crochet patterns. I feel that I have opened many new neural pathways. That brain exercise along with the 25 km bike ride that I took yesterday should mean that I can think clearly for a whole day!

I bought the crochet yarn at Lacis in Berkeley on September 6, 2011.

Here is the bag hanging contained my balls of DMC perle cotton, also from Lacis.

Here is the bag unstretched.

And here is the book - ta da! I managed to make the bag look just like the pattern on the first go!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alice's Socks

These are souvenir socks from the Sock Summit 2011 in Portland. They incorporate all the nifty things that I learned at SS, like the Bosnian Square Toe (which is used as a diamond shape) and the arch shaped sole. I knit the socks on the Addi circular lace needle that I bought at the SS marketplace, where I bought one ball of the lovely coral coloured Classic Elite Summer Sox yarn. Then I had a harrowing search for another ball of the same yarn, once I got home, so that I could actually make Alice a pair of socks. Luckily Jurgen from the Needle & Arts Centre in nearby Campbell River had exactly the same yarn, even the same dye lot number.

The pattern is available on Ravelry as a pdf download and can be purchased for $2.00 CAD. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bitter Cherry Jam

I grew up along the North Saskatchewan River, and every fall people would pick chokecherries, Prunus virginiana, and make jelly, which despite the mouth puckering astringent qualities of the berries, was delicious. Here on the West Coast we have several bitter cherry treesPrunus emarginata, growing in our yard, so this being an excellent year for fruit production of all kinds, I decided to see what kind of jelly the bitter cherries would make. The berries are edible and the birds love them, but true to their name, they are bitter rather than astringent. Despite adding lots of sugar to the jelly, it is still bitter. I just made a half jar, and I will see if it mellows with keeping, but this was not the success of my oregon grape, Mahonia nervosa, jam which is truly wonderful.
The quite literally bitter, Bitter Cherry Jelly.

Crochet covered rocks

I just cannot stop making these crochet covered rocks. . . because they are so beautiful, just challenging enough, and a small project that I can sit down to do in the evening while listening to an audio book.  Meanwhile the sweater that I am working on in anticipation of cold weather to come, the arch-shaped socks for Alice as a memento of Sock Summit 2011, and three quilts waiting for hand quilting completion are all languishing.