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, October 31, 2014

"ABC" and two more dolly wall quilts finished today

I am enjoying making these small wall quilts.
Today the final finishing was adding the binding, which is hard to do with black and dark brown binding when doing the hand sewing on the back, so I was happy to take advantage of a sunny afternoon in my west facing studio.
"ABC "was stamped with various gold acrylic inks, then coloured with a variety of fabric markers. The batting is wool to give it a lovely texture with lots of loft around the hand quilting with #8 perle cotton. The cotton piece was hand dyed with blackberry vines. The cotton fabric did not take up much colour, but it is a subtle ecru that is lovely as a backdrop to the letters.
The dolly quilts are part of my ongoing series.


Detail of "ABC".

Two more dolly wall quilts.

Detail of "Dolly in the Woods". 
Detail of "Dolly Amongst the Posies".

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Salmon River Run" art panel completed

I finished "Salmon River Run" today. I am donating it for the Denman Island Memorial Society silent auction on November 13. The money raised will support the first natural burial site in Canada.

The quilted art panel is 6 feet long, so taking a photo of the entire length is difficult.

I am very happy with the narrow bias binding which molds to the curved edges of the panel.

The stamped salmon image is surrounded by quilted pebbles and lines of blue water.

Another salmon image.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Machine quilting "Salmon River Run"

Quilted "boulders" in the central river section. Thread ends have not been tied in. I plan on quilting some water in the river later on in this process.

Quilting "rocks" in the rivulets.

The back side of the quilted piece is always very interesting!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Knitting again: Red Cable Cardigan

I have not been knitting over the past year because of my sore left shoulder. But I picked up a project a couple of months ago, that I had started in 2013, and now I have my Red Cable Cardigan completed, although I think that I will have to replace the buttons with larger ones, as these wee ones do not want to stay in the buttonholes.

"Salmon River" quilted project

I had a wonderful weekend at the Creative Threads Conspiracy. I took Wild at Heart Quilt Making with Barb Mortell.

Barb is a great teacher who gives her students permission to try all sorts of new techniques. I worked on improvisational curved piecing and insets. I was very pleased with my results and received lots of positive responses from my fellow class participants and colleagues in my quilting guild. The question from everyone was "what are you going to do with those 10 pieced with curved seams and insets?" My answer was "I have no idea as right now this is all about process".

Over the last few days, as I finished the inset piecing in the last blocks, I came to an answer. The curves in the blocks looked like water and the orange fabrics were the colour of salmon. I put them all together into one long construction with a dark centre to accentuate the curves. I am calling it Salmon River, or Salmon River Run.

Pieced and pin basted to the batting and backing.
Yesterday I finished putting it all together, curved the ends (not a single straight line in this piece), and pin basted it to cotton wadding and a backing fabric. As I fell asleep last night, I thought about stamping salmon images onto the central river.

I have a wonderful stylized Indian teak fish stamp that I purchased at Maiwa last year, and a sample pack of Jacquard fabric paints.

I auditioned a few colours and also some gold acrylic paint that I have used successfully in the past, but interestingly, only the orange fabric paint showed up on the dark shot cotton fabric of the "river".

As there are 5 blocks on each side, I stamped 5 orange salmon jumping up the river. The effect is subtle, but I think it works very well.

Now I am excited to begin machine quilting. I plan rocks and pebbles in the river, and rivulets in the inset pieces. First, though, I have to let the paint set overnight and heat set it tomorrow morning. Then I can begin the quilting.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Work in progress

Fabric stamped with various gold acrylic paints. 
In progress, watercolour of a maple leaf.

Completed watercolour of a maple leaf, unless I decide to add a background and a shadow . . . 

Working in series, third watercolour of a maple leaf.

Work on my Grandmother's Garden hexagon quilt continues.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Another V8710 and Burda 7198

This is my second version of V8710, the Katherine Tilton design. I successfully lowered the bust point on that fancy princess seam.

V8710 with bust point lowered. A nice light blue stretchy fabric, unknown, but with a heavy drape. I like the fit of this one.

Burda 7198 refitted for smaller shoulders. This fits better than the first iteration, in that I cut the shoulders and armholes down to size small from the previous medium, and I omitted the gussets on the sides at the hem. I lowered the bust darts to compensate for the higher shoulder, and they may actually be 1/2 inch too low. I do not like this so much, as the neckline still feels big and sloppy compared to V8710, the woven fabric is not as comfortable, and the striped pattern too busy.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sewing Vogue pattern V8710

I love the lines of this Katherine Tilton pattern. I consider this first garment a wearable muslin. As is always the case with me, the pattern standard bust point is two inches too high. Figuring out how to lower the bust point on this princess seam was a challenge.
I have altered the pattern and am working on a second garment. The second version will be made of two way stretch fabric. The version below is only stretch on the cross grain, hence the difficulty setting in the sleeves.


My first attempt at this pattern.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fabric dyeing

I spent the weekend at a Maiwa dyeing workshop from Natalie Grambow. http://www.maiwa.com/home/workshops/workshops/111115.html

When I got home yesterday I scooped up the fallen maple leaves from the porch and boiled them in a pot then let it soak overnight. The next day I dyed a piece of pfd Kona cotton and some pure wool felt.

Lovely result! I want to get more time to experiment. Natalie said that there is lots of natural tannin in the plants at this time of year.

Big Leaf Maple leaves

The wool felt took the dye beautifully. It is still damp in this photo. 

This is the cotton dry and ironed. The photo does not do justice to the subtle flesh colour. Really great. 

"Fantasy Flower", my linen embroidery

I finished my original design that I have titled "Fantasy Flower". It includes English paper piecing of the hexagon flowers, appliqué, and embroidery, all on linen fabric. It is now hanging in our bedroom and looks so lovely on the corner wall.
I have discovered that I much prefer DMC embroidery floss, and that Coats is a poor substitute. I purchased my DMC at The Needle Loft in Royston, and I picked up the Coats floss as Fabricland, which was clearly a mistake.
I used cotton flannel fused to non-woven interfacing as an interlining, and backed the wall hanging with another piece of linen, slightly lighter in weight, the handkerchief linen that I bought this spring by sharing a bolt with Barb Mortell.
I bought the bell pull hanger at The Stitcher's Muse in Nanaimo last week. And I bought some more DMC floss while I was there, the colours that I am using to embroider the doll's face from an earlier post.

Finished but without the hanging cord.


Hanging on the wall.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Sailboat at Anchor in Baynes Sound" juried into an art show - yowza!

I just heard that my quilted wall art piece, "Sailboat at Anchor in Baynes Sound", has been juried into the art show at the Comox Airport. The show, on the theme Wanderlust, will run from December 2014 to May 2015. My first juried show! Thrilled, excited, validated - that's me.

Every bit of fabric is pieced, no raw edge applique or fusing. I am rather proud of my curved seams. The boat is needle turn applique. The skinny mast on the sailboat is another accomplishment. I machine quilted it all. The back is rather fine and shows the picture quite beautifully. Hmm, no pic of that. (I will edit this post in another day or two and add a pic of the back. Back photo added Oct. 4, see last photo in this post.)

The piece measures about 24" by 30".

Detail of the boat. 
The back of the art piece, which show the machine quilting so well.