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, December 31, 2015

"Blue Dreams" quilt finished

Today I have finished and named my blue scrap quilt. It is now labelled as "Blue Dreams". It is 62" by 70", so a lap quilt size.
The top is pieced from orphan blocks and pieces, and blue fabric scraps. I also added neutrals, and a few green/pink prints to make it sing. The back is pieced from all the remaining fat quarters and larger pieces of blue print fabrics in my stash. My goal was to use up all my printed blue fabrics and I think that I have succeeded. Any leftovers from the piecing were used in the binding which is also scrappy.
The batting/wadding is Hobbs wool.
I free motion machine quilted using Superior MasterPiece thread, #50/3 ply in colour Granite and my wonderful old Singer sewing machine.
I like this pic of the quilt top as it has the classic toes of the photographer showing in front, in this case my toes in my grey knitted slippers, standing on a stool to get a better shot.
A detail showing the use of orphan blocks, and the individual free motion quilting patterns in each piece of fabric.

This is the back of the quilt, pieced from larger pieces of blue fabric. I see that I did use a solid as well. 
The solid piece on the back shows the quilting nicely.

Calligraphy - maybe . . .

I have been getting interested in pen work for drawing, and this has led me to lettering and calligraphy. A friend asked me earlier this week - what is the difference? So I looked it up, and found this:
Calligraphy is a type of lettering, and yet, it isn’t. In the simplest of terms from typography and design expert Gerrit Noordzij, calligraphy is writing—single pass of the pen/tool to write as a form of art; whereas lettering consists of built-up lettersdrawing with multiple strokes; and typography is writing with prefabricated, designed letters. This is, in essence, what really defines the three from each other. 
I bought a Speedball dip pen a few weeks ago, and I have some black India ink. My husband bought me a pad of calligraphy practice paper for Christmas, and with the gift card from my daughter-in-law I bought myself a lettering book at Chapters on Boxing Day.

I started with the very first lesson in the book, which I thought looked easy. Not so, as you can see from my first attempt with a technical ink pen.  The letter "W" is particularly challenging!

I will try with my dip pen later today and see what happens.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Blue scrap quilt

I spent yesterday and today free motion quilting my blue scrap quilt. I even got the binding made and attached today, with only the hand stitching on the back of the binding to be done.
As I near completion, I need to find a title for this wonderful piece. I think that it may be one of the prettiest quilts that I have made. Usually a name comes to me as I work on a piece, but so far not in this case. Probably something to do with water ......

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Knitted Christmas gifts

Here are some members of my extended family, wearing their knitted gifts.
From left to right, my niece wearing her fingerless mitts in that lovely hand spun silk/merino indigo dyed yarn from the Hornby Island spinner, my nephew-in-law wearing his slippers knit from Denman Island reared wool, (my brother has books instead of knitting), my sister-in-law is wearing the red sweater which fits perfectly and looks lovely on her, and lastly my niece wearing her socks on her hands. Aren't they a super group - I love them all so much!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Red sweater finished!

Knitting a full sweater is nerve wracking. No matter how much you check gauge and garment measurements, you still do not know if the pattern has been well designed or will fit correctly.

Truth be told, it is not until the final neck binding is finished that it is possible to tell if the sweater fits correctly, as any garment, sewn or knitted, hangs from the shoulders and neck area and depends on shaping there for good fit. The length of the body and arms of knitted sweaters changes as the garment hangs on the wearer, and correspondingly, the width can narrow as the garment lengthens.

Hurrah, drum roll, this sweater appears to be a success. I tried it on this morning after I finished the neck binding, and the fit is excellent. As my sister-in-law and I are pretty much the same size, I have high hopes that it will fit her well. The yarn turned out to be a good choice. It is half acrylic and half wool, so it is machine washable and relatively light weight. That means that the knitted fabric is not stretching and dragging down too much under its own weight, and the fit should remain good.

For arcane knitting details and pics of the cuffs and hems, for those of you interested in that kind of thing, see this link on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/projects/cockburnj/nunavut-pullover  .

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Green embroidered leaves

I began this decorative quilted wall hanging last year, with a top fabric of natural light weight linen, a quilt batting, and some vaguely Christmas themed fabric in shades of green for the backing and the binding. The red piping adds to the Christmas look of the piece.
I free motion quilted leaves all over the piece, and originally meant to leave it at that. But then I fell in love with beading last year, so I added a row of delicate beads along the central spine of each quilted leaf motif.
When I looked at it again this year, I decided that it needed stem stitch outlining the leaf motifs, in various shades of green perlé cotton. I have been happily embroidering away, having a nice quiet time of it now that the Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair is finished, my drawing class is completed, and my textile art piece has been accepted by the Ferry Building Gallery.
The sweater that I am knitting for my sister-in-law only needs one more cuff and the neck binding, and then it is done. All good! Today I made mince tarts and chocolate dipped shortbreads, and a wonderful dinner of Persian Lamb Polo. All is right with the world!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's starting to feel like Christmas - it's snowing

Some red knitting to show on this post, a raglan style sweater for my sister-in-law that saw the sleeves and body joined for the yoke last night. Fellow knitters will know that means I am on the home stretch!

This is the Nunavut Pullover from the Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. The pattern can be found online on Ravelry. I yarn that I am using is Berroco Vintage DK in colour 2159 elderberry. I bought it in Vernon last February at a lovely yarn shop called A Twist of Yarn.

It is snowing as I speak, big fat wet flakes falling straight down onto the beach at high tide. The photo below tries to show the flakes against the darkness of the background douglas fir tree, but I think that only the reflected lights from our Christmas tree show.

Music on rotation on living room CD player:
Navitas, the choir of New College, Oxford
Belafonte, to wish you a Merry Christmas
The Birth of a King, the Ambrosian Singers London Philharmonic Chorus & Orchestra
A Traditional Christmas Collection, the Sixteen, Harry Christophers
A Noteworthy Christmas, Great Canadian Choirs Sing Holiday Favourites
Handel Messiah, Neville Marriner.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Final class Fine Arts Drawing 110

Final drawing class today at North Island College this term. We did a group evaluation of all the students' end of term independent drawings. Very exciting to see how much we all learned over the course of 14 weeks. I did a landscape in charcoal.

More blue knitting - a hat

This delightful pattern is the Seamen's Church Institute1898 hat, "The construction of this hat was inspired by one pictured in a magazine published around 1910. Knitting the headband side to side provides a double layer of garter stitch to keep the ears warm, and allows for easy shaping of the earflaps. The edges of the headband are folded together along a slipped stitch seam, and picked up together to finish in the round. The hat has plenty of depth so it can be pulled low on the forehead, and the earflaps will naturally cup around the ears to keep them warm."

I knit this with 3.5 mm needles and double knitting yarn. It is knit at a smaller gauge than the pattern, which is designed for an adult man, indicates. I can get it on my small woman's head, where it is a snug fit, but it is destined for my 6 year old grandson.

Friday, December 11, 2015

More blue knitting . . .

And now for some socks:

I am knitting these socks top down using the magic loop method with one long needle, size 2.25 mm. The cuff is knit one, purl one twisted stitch ribbing. I used the long tail cast-on method to cast-on 56 stitches, with a very long yarn tail so that I knit the first joining row with two strands of yarn, and snipped off the excess long tail at the end of that row.
The yarn is lovely, Saki Silk by Wisdom YarnsLight Fingering / 3 ply, 55% Merino, 25% Nylon, 20% Silk, 402 meters / 100 grams. I bought the yarn in Vernon last year while visiting family.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

And now for some blue knitting . . .

I have been working at full creative tilt all autumn, what with my North Island College drawing class, my submissions to the Ferry Building Gallery, and making zakka items for the Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair.
Now I can relax, as I have the privilege of having a piece chosen for the Ferry Building Gallery show, the Craft Fair is done and was a success, and my portfolio is complete for my drawing class. I have the final push of drawing my large independent drawing for final evaluation at the final art class on Tuesday, but I have completed the preliminary drawings in my sketchbook, so I feel that I can proceed with that over the weekend.
So what do I do with my new found leisure? Knitting - my first love and still the craft that I turn to again and again. My hands are starting to get a little creaky, so I thought that a pair of fingerless gloves would be nice to have. The silk and wool yarn, hand spun and dyed with indigo by Cedar Wallace of Hornby Island, was a delight to knit. The reading mitts were a fast but beautiful and satisfying project. You can find the free pattern here http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/susie-rogers-reading-mitts .

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Selling note cards

The Denman Island Christmas Faire is over and it was a great success. Megan and I had a lot of fun and made more in sales than we had anticipated. I am exhilarated and physically exhausted, so I have slept soundly the past two nights.
I had printed note cards from scanned images from my watercolour journal and my sketchbook, which sold well. Today, when I was in the Abraxas book shop, I arranged to sell some note cards on their card rack near the till. We will see how that goes.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Confirmation from Ferry Building Gallery

I received confirmation today from the Ferry Building Gallery, that my piece "Happy Together" is the one chosen for the group show in February 2016. What an honour!
I had mistakenly blogged last week that both of my pieces had been chosen, but that is not the case. Of 62 submissions over all, 22 were chosen, so having my piece be one of those is a real privilege.
Now, back to the Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire today.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

At the Fair

At the Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair today. Megan and I had a successful and enjoyable day.

Meanwhile, outside the weather was frightful, with heavy rain all day, wind warnings, and ferry cancellations.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Getting ready for the craft fair

This coming weekend, December 5th and 6th, 2015 is the time for the annual Denman Island Christmas Craft Fair.
Megan and I will be having our own booth for the first time, as well as participating in the group booth with the other members of the Deman Island Quilters.
Megan and I will be selling zakka items, as well as cards and few other things.
Cross stitch stitched to canvas
Cross stitch stitched to canvas
A wall hanging
A needle book

A pincushion
A cross back apron

A needle book
A crochet covered rock

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Accepted into the Ferry Building Gallery show!

I am thrilled to say that on Sunday, November 29 my two pieces, Heart Lines and Happy Together, were accepted into the West Vancouver Ferry Building Gallery show planned for February 2016. I am so very excited.