Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here an Ort, There an Ort

Everywhere an Ort Ort! I've been seeing this word being used around the net and thought I'd find out more. It turns out that I have a lot of these and didn't even know it! You probably do too. Do I hear you saying, What on earth IS an ORT??

First, I found an explanation by Sweet Pea Stitches saying that 'ort' was an acronym formed from the words 'Old Ragged Thread'. Then, I Googled its definition and found several listings for the word 'ort' all of which were some form of the following (taken from TheFreeDictionary):
ort (ôrt) n.
1. A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural.
2. A scrap; a bit.
Most definitions alluded to the term having to do with food. I believe that, as quilters, sewers and embroiderers, thread IS like food to us. Without thread giving life to our craft, it would not exist. That makes it exactly right to use 'ort' in our 'scrap of thread' context.

Back when I used to demonstrate machine embroidery at sewing fairs, trade shows or in my shop, my Ort Collector was a brandy snifter into which I dropped all my Rayon embroidery thread tails. Besides looking pretty, it kept all the orts off the carpet making for easier clean-up at the end of the day. The brandy snifter was emptied and retired when I closed my shop as I'm not doing very much machine embroidery these days. I am, however, doing lots of hand stitching making Klosjes, doing English paper piecing for my Diamond Stars and appliquéing on my Joseph's Coat blocks.
This little fabric Ort Catcher sits beside my chair in the livingroom and also travels in my on-the-go project box. Because of the shape, it sits nicely on any flat surface or even on the dash of the car!

It folds up nice and flat even when there is a fair amount of thread in it. It has solved the problem of having threads or even 'dog ears' all over the car and my clothes when I stitch on the road.

Ort Catchers for Quilt Canada 2008
I learned how to make these several years ago when I spent the winter in the lower mainland of BC. I joined the Chilliwack Piecemakers Guild and they took on the task of making these little Ort Catchers (although nobody called them that at the time) to be given to people attending the 2008 Quilt Canada event. Maybe you received one?
The link to make this is on my Project Tutorials Page