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, November 28, 2013


Every year at the Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire, the local community school raffles a basket of donated gifts. In past years I have made a tea cosy, a pair of knitted socks, and this year I made a set of napkins. There are different instructions on how to make mitered hems. I used this technique, with a 1/4 turn down, and then a 1 inch hem. They look very nice!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quilted floor covering

I finished what I was calling a throw, from the upholstery weight scraps of Pat M.'s handwoven Sri Lankan cotton. I really like the finished result, a lot more than I expected. But it is heavy and stiff, not cuddly for a throw. I think that it would make a great floor covering. I will take it to "show and tell" at Quilting Group on Monday, and see what they think. I will put it for sale at the Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire and donate the money to Marine Stewardship.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Child's Nordic Sweater finished!

I started this Nordic sweater last year for my grandson, then realized that it would be much too big for him, and my dicky left shoulder was rebelling against too much knitting. So I put it aside, and picked it up again this month.
I finished this morning with the sewing in of all the many ends from the numerous yarn colour changes.
I am very pleased with the result. In true Nordic sweater fashion, the front and back are the same, and I made sure that the neck is nice and loose (I accomplished this by using a three needle bind-off done loosely, instead of sewing down the folded over neckband, as that is too often tight). So a four-year old boy should be able to dress himself in it successfully, and in chilly Calgary, I think that he will like it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another scrap pieced construction

This throw is pieced from Pat M.'s collection of handwoven Sri Lankan cottons, from a scrap bundle that I inherited last year. I was going to piece the scraps into yardage, then cut out Christmas stockings. But once the fabric was pieced I realized that it would make a beautiful throw. The backing is more of the same fabric in a quilting weight. The top scraps are upholstery weight. Hence I have not used an inner batting, to keep the weight of the throw manageable.
The pieced top in the process of being quilted.

The backing.

Christmas scrap quilt

I am making a very scrappy quilt of Christmas type fabrics that I want to de-stash. Just big pieces of fabric with no intricate piecing. Hmmm, it is rather dark and none too beautiful . . .
The backing is pieced from large pieces of animal themed fabrics that have appeared in my stash. This will be an interesting piece when it is done. I wonder if it will be one of those quilts that is successful in being greater than the sum of its parts? It pleases me that sometimes the most unlikely combinations can succeed. We will see if this is one of those when it is complete.

The pieced top.

The pieced backing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas ornaments

Making Christmas ornaments for the annual Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair.

Latest Advent Calendar

Christmas Chickens, my latest (and last, I think) Advent Calendar.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another advent calendar completed

Second advent calendar commission completed.
The completed advent calendar.

Detail lower left corner.

Detail lower right corner.

Detail upper left corner.

Detail of the holly leaf pattern quilting in the sashing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

English paper piecing and Christmas ornaments

I am back doing English paper piecing. Even the huge task of completing the Dragonfly Summer quilt has not decreased my enjoyment of this technique. In fact, I rather think that I prefer to work small. Hmmm, will have to consider that. I have a quilt to make for my nephew who is getting married next year, and I know that I want to make a quilt for each sister-in-law - so it will be a mix of large and small for the upcoming year at least.
The latest project is a patchwork ball Christmas ornament. Already it is delightful and I have not even completed one yet. I just love the process, although the result is fun too.
English paper piecing the patchwork ball - in progress.

Monday, November 11, 2013

More advent calendar work

At the request of the commissioner, added buttons and sparkles to the yellow advent calendar quilt to make it more festive.
Pieced another for a granddaughter, using fabric choices from the commissioner. Good choices! it is really pretty.
Pieced and ready to quilt.

Buttons and sparkles added.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Advent Calendar Quilt

Oops, the Seminole quilt is interrupted yet again. I have a commission for an advent calendar quilt, and it had to get done. I completed it today, and will deliver it to the client tomorrow.
Here is the link to the pattern I used. 

Sandwiching the front, batting and backing.

Swirl quilting in the sashing.

Preparing to add the binding.

The advent calendar quilt prior to binding with a red border.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

McTavishing the Seminole quilt

In May our quilting group had a two day class with Carol Piercy on designing Seminole pattern quilts. I enjoyed the class, and Carol's excellent teaching, and made many strips of Seminole piecing. But then I was very busy getting ready for my summer art show, and it languished.
In September I put it all together into a quilt, with lots of white sashing. This is a departure for me, but I see white fabric used often as part of modern quilt design, and it certainly does make for a fresh and attractive quilt.
Ellen helped me to sandwich and pin the quilt - she is a master of precision. The backing is a very light voile type fabric, a mixture of cotton and linen, also plain white.
Then I started free motion quilting, using a variety of patterns. The Creative Threads Conspiracy and the making of my Shoreline costume for the Wearable Art Show interrupted the work yet again.
Finally, today, I picked it up and am determined to get it finished. I am onto the final borders, hurrah. The white fabric highlights the quilting beautifully. I did swirls on the white inner border, and now I am McTavishing the outer white border. I tried McTavishing before and could not get the hang of it. Now I am doing is successfully, if not as beautifully as the example on the Leah Day website.
The quilt t is bigger that I originally planned. After quilting queen sized Dragonfly Summer for the art show I had decided not to make that large a quilt again. Never say never. This quilt is not small and moving it around the machine is something of a struggle. But I love how it is turning out. What shall I call it? I am thinking Sun, Sea and Sand.

McTavishing the outer white border.

Bubble quilting pattern on the inner sashing.
McTavishing in progress

Work in progress.

The outer and inner white borders.