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, December 30, 2012

Firelight Quilt

I made this quilt for my goddaughter Megan who was married in September 2012. I wanted to make a quilt in the "modern quilt" style with lots of white and some solid colours. I like the result although it is outside of my usual box, but then that was the idea. I have taken to naming all of my quilts, and this one is Firelight. Copying Alicia Paulson from her blog Posie Gets Cozy, I made a cross stitch label for the front of the quilt. I think that it really kicks it up a notch!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolution walk

Early New Year's resolution, to walk every day. How hard can that be, living where I do?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Slippers for Christmas

I knit these slippers using Paddy O'Connell's "6 Strand Slippers" pattern. Paddy wrote the pattern for Sandstone Farm's unspun natural yarn, made from their Romney sheep. Paddy asked me to test the pattern. The project went quickly on 9 mm needles, but I found using the large needles and manipulating the bulky yarn to be awkward and tiring for my hands. I knit the two slippers about a week apart, and the first one seems distinctly larger - a small change in tension makes quite a difference when working at this gauge.
The slippers are very attractive and should mold to the feet, so I am sure that the apparent size difference will soon disappear. A quick and rewarding project, but I am not a convert to knitting with big needles and bulky yarn.

This is the true colour of the yarn.

Here are the slippers. They appear grey in this photo, but are actually brown as in the  pic above.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kale and Potato Soup

Adapted from an Alice Waters recipe. Amazingly delicious!

Sauté a chopped onion in olive oil. Add some chopped ham. One liter of chicken stock, two yellow potatoes diced and one bunch of kale chopped. Pepper but no extra salt as the ham and stock are already salty. Simmer 1/2 hour then mash with a potato masher. Put 1/4 cup flour in a 2 cup glass measure. Whisk in some heavy cream until flour is incorporated then fill measure with heavy cream. Gradually stir cream mix into simmering soup. Allow to bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring all the while, to cook the raw flour.
Serve with fresh ground pepper and thick yogurt.

Monday, December 17, 2012

House Pillow

I made this house pillow for my grandson for Christmas.

I used the house pattern from the article "Home for Christmas" by Shelly Burge, page 42 in Quilt it for Christmas / Quilter's Newsletter Magazine 2001.
"Home for Christmas" by Shelly Burge.
Quilt it for Christmas / Quilter's Newsletter Magazine 2001

The trees are from Collaborative Quilting  by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston.
The pillow form is square and filled with feathers, from Ikea.

Quilting the pillow cover top. I used wool batting which makes a lovely quilted texture.

Detail of the trees.

The back of the quilted top.

The reverse of the pillow. I used a nice cuddly heavyweight brushed cotton.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Infinity Scarf

Here I am at our quilter' group meeting modeling the infinity scarf that I have knit for my daughter-in-law for Christmas. It is the Vite Cowl pattern from Ravelry. I used 3 balls of Sirdar "Big Softie" and a 9 mm needle.

The Faire

The Faire was lots of fun, although the cold wind and lashing rain on Saturday was discouraging. I sold two of my advent calendars.
The Denman Island Christmas Faire in the Seniors' Hall, as seen from the Quilters' display up on the stage.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quilted Advent Calendars

The Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire will be held this coming weekend. It is an important economic and social event on this small island of crafts people, artisans and artists. I will be selling a few quilted advent calendars, pics below.
"Christmas Birds" quilted advent calendar.

"Holly and Ivy" 
quilted advent calendar.

"Christmas Green" 
quilted advent calendar.

"Christmas Rose" 
quilted advent calendar.

"Christmas Cheer" 
quilted advent calendar.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Snowflake Socks

These socks will go into a raffle basket at the Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire.
This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download .

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Best Apple Cake

So many wonderful apples on this island, which before WWII was a major exporter of apples. The old orchards remain, and many newcomers are planting modern varieties. Our two trees are overgrown and beyond pruning. The apples they produce are small and not that tasty. However, our neighbour has a magnificent Gravenstein apple tree and has been sharing the bounty with us.

Red Gravenstein apples
At a recent social gathering, this apple cake was served. I have made it twice since. It is very moist, almost a bit like a pudding. Delicious!

Best Apple Cake
4 cups of cored, unpeeled, diced apple
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl:  2 eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup neutral (canola) oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup apple or orange juice.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, add wet, and mix just slightly. Before the flour is all incorporated, add the apples and optional 1 cup of raisins or toasted walnuts. Toss lightly.
Line a 9in by 13 in pan with parchment baking paper, smooth in the cake batter. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Harvest dinner of baked pork chops with sauerkraut and apples

On the weekend I bought fresh from the field rutabaga and carrots from Westisle Farm and my neighbours have been loading us with apples. Dinner tonight included those lovely fresh things. I made up the recipe myself, so am very proud. My husband said it was delicious.

Wonderful Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Apples
I browned three large pork chops in a heavy cast iron pan. Meanwhile, I rinsed a jar of sauerkraut and peeled, cored and sliced 4 apples, and sliced an onion. I soaked a clay baker in water for 10 minutes. Then I put the sauerkraut into the clay baker, and placed the browned pork chops on top and added salt and pepper. I browned the onions and apples in the frying pan, then sloshed in some white wine to deglaze and poured all that over the pork chops. Put the (also soaked) lid on top of the clay baker, and into a 325F oven for 1 1/2 hours.

This is what is left in the dish after dinner for two, so lots of nice leftovers for tomorrow.
Harvest Vegetables with Butter and Nutmeg
I peeled and cubed a medium rutabaga, two large carrots, and a large Gravenstein apple. Boiled for 15 minutes, drained and dried over low heat. Large knob of butter, salt and pepper and a generous grating of nutmeg, than a coarse mashing, leaving large recognizable chunks of veggie. So good!

Sorry, dark kitchen and blurry picture. This is also after dinner, so leftovers await.

Megan's quilt in progress

Our god daughter Megan (one of two as she has a twin sister Caitlin) was married in early September in Boston to Dim.  I am working on a quilt for her, and designed it in the Modern Quilt style, with lots of white background and saturated colours. Here it is in progress.
Hem stitching the binding.

The border triangles.

Some machine quilting done.
Here is the quilt, with only the borders quilted and the binding not yet hemmed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pasta Casserole - Best Ever and Mutsu Apple Pie

Easy, quick and so delicious. And it will feed us for at least two more meals. The perfect casserole.
How I made it:
I had about 1/4 cup of leftover chicken fat and olive oil that I had skimmed off the drippings from a roast chicken last week. Next time, not having that, I will use 1/4 cup olive oil to sauté a chopped onion.
I added 3 minced cloves of garlic, and a large can of diced tomatoes. Then a small acorn squash -seeded, peeled and diced- and salt and pepper and dried basil.
While that was simmering I boiled 4 dry cups of rigatoni for 10 minutes. I put the cooked pasta into the sauce, dumped in a whole bunch of crumbled feta cheese, then put it into a large shallow baking dish.
Baked in a 350F oven for 30 minutes, and voila!
It was fairly salty because of the feta, but I like that.

Here is the sauce simmering. The squash shows green near the rind. I bought it this afternoon from Gary Piercy at the Westisle Farm Produce Shack and it is so fresh and delicious. The seeds had not formed inside the squash.

Deep dish apple pie made from Mutsu apples from my neighbour.

Advent Calendar

I have made this quilted advent calendar for my grandchildren, using this pattern from Sew Mama Sew by Ohfransson.
I was in Vancouver on the weekend, and I made a wonderful trip to Dressew (and Opus Art Supplies and Atex Fabric Liquidators) on West Hastings Street where I picked up all sorts of fun things to put in the pockets as gifts.

The completed quilted advent calendar without any gifts in the pockets.

Each number was traced onto interfacing, cut out, stitched on with two rounds of satin stitching, then highlighted with gold metallic stitching in the centre of the number. It was a lot of work, especially with little circles as in the 8's. It took me two half days to do the numbers, definitely the most time consuming part of the project. If I do it again, I will use stick on numbers, or beads or buttons - all of which I got from Dressew last Friday.

The red fabric is the square behind the pocket. Each printed fabric piece is lined to make the pocket, then sashing is added. Very ingenious pattern.

I used a Christmas fabric for the backing, and put rod pockets at the top corners as indicated in the pattern. I also added two loops of my own at the top, to help with hanging.

Bundle of blue hats

I am heading to Las Vegas this coming weekend for a biennial reunion with four high school friends. The four are all turning 60, and I am the fifth youngster at 59 years. So what to make/take to mark the significant event? Why a knitted hat of course! What else would you want in Las Vegas to keep you warm while wearing a strapless dress and high heels (except that several of us have bunions, and loose upper arms - may have to rethink the outfit to accompany the hat . . . ).

Also I just upgraded to an IPhone 4, which means that I can theoretically more easily take a photo of myself modelling a hat, hmmmm. Note the googly eyes as I attempt to peer up into the phone.

Anyway, I knit a whole bundle of hats, so there will be lots to choose from.