Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Best and Worst of Times

It's finally finished! My fabric concertina book, Best and Worst of Times is done. The workshop with Mandy Pattullo through TextileArtist.org was held in July 2020. Considering the amount of stitching in the book, a year and a quarter is not that long! lol

Fabric Concertina Book

The book is the story of the last two years. It goes from being full of fear to eventually finding joy. It's also bilingual (English and French) except for the title and end pages.

The front page is written in chain stitch on one of my first hand-dyed gray fabrics.

Best and Worst of Times, concertina fabric book

The first and second pages illustrate the beginning of the pandemic. Everywhere there was fear. No one knew what was going one and it really felt like time was standing still, especially at the beginning of that first lockdown.  I used tulle, cheesecloth and lots of dark colours. The running stitches in the background are black and prominent.

Fear (peur) is in the air

The third and fourth pages express how I escaped the gloom. In English it's called escape but in French it's called dreaming (rêver). It's about escaping in books, to the seaside, on a hot air balloon. It's also about nature, which mostly benefited from the lack of human activity that affect the rivers, oceans, forests, etc. Colours are back and there is a sliver of optimism. 

Escape (rever) - finding a way to cope

The fifth and sixth pages are about hope (espoir) and creating (faire). It's what I did after my escape time. For me, hope and creating are represented by finishing UFOs, playing with hexies, thinking about spirit, and mostly by playing with scraps and making. It's about trying new things and I did that through the workshops offered by the TextileArtist.org Stitch Club. 

Hope (espoir) and create (faire) - to make the best of it

The last two pages are about the happy ending...has it come? Well sometimes it's here fleetingly. It's about finding joy (joie) and laughing again (rire). It's full of bold, strong colours that I love.

Joy (joie) and laugh (rire) - finding the joy in life again.

The last page is made of some pinky-orange fabric that I hand-dyed. I love the top and bottom fabric which is what you get when you dye white-on-white fabric. Isn't that fun? You can see larger versions of all of these photos by clicking on them 😊

The End? or The beginning....

Making my first YouTube video

If you're interested, I've also uploaded a short video on YouTube (my first one!) of the entire fabric concertina book, Best and Worst of Times. I hope that you like it. You can click on the link below the image to take you there.

Best and Worst of Times

What I learned

  • In my first post in July 2020, I wrote that I was missing that second layer to stitch through. Since I've been doing a lot more hand-stitching, it's not really an issue any more.
  • I also wrote..."Hand stitching is called slow stitching for a reason - the concertina book may end up being a longer term project since it's demanding a lot of stitching." Famous last words....see, 16 months is medium to long term!😊 
  • This project sat for a long time until I needed things to stitch for my #100dayschallenge on Instagram. It was great working on the book. I used a lot of variegated Superior Threads. It was a lot of fun.
  • I just realised that I didn't make a label for the concertina book - I'll have to tuck in my name and the date somewhere!
  • At work this last year, I've learned to manipulate videos. This served me well for the recording of the video.

Related links

Tools that I used to manipulate my video 
  • I downloaded a Video Convertor to my phone so that I could compress my original video enough to send it to my email. After that I used
  • Kapwing, which has a free online version that is great to trim video, add images, text, etc.

Linking parties

I'll be linking to many fun linking parties. Let's check them out! Put your foot down, Patchwork & Quilts, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Wondering Camera, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, Midweek Makers

Finished project

Best and Worst of Times, fabric concertina book

Size: 6½" x 5¾" by 45"

Materials: hand-dyed cotton, tulle, thread and cheese cloth; buttons, hexies, commercial fabrics, 

Techniques: appliqué, ruching, embroidery, free motion stitching


  1. I was just sitting here watching Oak Island and the thought of you in your jammies in the park made me chuckle. Funny how I love all of your creativity but never followed your blog, until now. I love your soft book! A lot of thought went into making it, I'd never be able to create a single page.

  2. Andree - what a wonderful creation. I am glad that you were able to conquer your fear after the pandemic! Joining you from Wandering Camera!

  3. A beautiful way to express the last couple of years. I Love it!! Love that have each page represents a certain emotion.

    I am so glad you linked up on Wandering Camera!


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