Friday, October 13, 2017


Hello Fellow Stitchers!

Only stitchers would have a clue about the title of this post.  However, there are a lot of misconceptions about the word itself.  It is a word!  It is not an acronym!  (gasp!)

No, it doesn't mean Old Ratty Threads (I've seen that one and many others).

According to my Oxford English Dictionary (two volumes in a case with a drawer to hold the magnifying glass!  Yes, I'm a nerd!):

Ort  [First found in 15th c. in plural ortys, -us but not usual till end of 16th c.]
Fragment of food left over from a meal; refuse scraps; leavings, broken meat

It has since come to mean pretty much left over bits of anything, we stitchers use it to refer to our clipped thread ends.

On the Heaven and Earth Designs FB group, the question came up about what we each do with our orts.  I mentioned I keep my orts in a bowl made from...orts.  I was asked to show a photo of my ort bowl so I thought I'd share here how I made it.

I don't have any photos of the process but it's pretty straightforward.


  • White glue (like Elmer's)
  • water
  • orts
  • balloon (or a bowl, I like the balloon though - it ends up being less messy)
  • paint brush, popsicle stick ,etc.
  • plastic container for mixing
  • gloves to keep you clean
In the plastic container, mix some glue with a little water.  You want to thin the glue just a little bit so that it's easier to spread.  I'd say maybe a ½ teaspoon of water at the most.  I'm guessing about ¼ cup of glue.  It's better to start with too little glue/water.  You can always make more, but it's a messy bother to dispose of any excess.

Blow up and tie off the balloon.  A helium or mylar balloon is really not going to work.   If you use a bowl instead, turn it upside down and cover with plastic wrap (cling film).  The bigger you make the balloon, the wider your ort bowl will be.  You need to be the judge of how big your bowl can be with the orts you have.

Putting the tied end into a bowl will help keep it steady while you're working on it and while it dries.  Using a brush or stick, spread some of your glue mixture on the top of the balloon.    Lay some of your orts on the glued area.   "Paint" some glue on the orts.  Add more orts.  Repeat the glue/ort process in the size and shape you want for your bowl.  When it's the way you want it to look, finish with a layer of glue.  Leave overnight or longer until it's dry.  When you're sure it's dry, pop the balloon.  Enjoy your new work of "ort".  lol

Here's mine:

The coin is a US quarter for scale (about the size of a UK 10p piece).  This bowl measures just under 5" (12cm) in diameter and is just over 2" (5cm) deep.  As you can probably tell from the bowl's shadow, it's not a solid bowl, it's kind of lacy.

Here's a picture of it from the bottom:

Happy Stitching!



Leonore Winterer said...

That's a cool idea :) And thanks for the info, I thought it was an acronym as well.

Daffycat said...

Indeed, the word ort does appear in the dictionary. But in caps as ORT it is our old ratty threads we love so much. However there are no rules in needlework.

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