Saturday, February 2, 2013


Some, for renown, on scraps of learning dote, and think they grow immortal as they quote. 

Edward Young

A Tale of Three Orts

Sounds like something from the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings doesn't it?  Have you heard of ORTs?  They are really handy to have around.

Do you remember when I shared this picture a couple of weeks ago?  I said it was a project involving some hand sewing.

Frames and Plastic Rims

Long ago but not very far away, I came across a post on one of the blogs I was following about ORTs.  Check out Melinda's tutorial here.  They looked very interesting and I decided to make some.  It only took me a few years to get around to it.  I had put the supplies together but never got in the right mood to do the required hand work.  Everything happens for a purpose right?  Enter a bad knee and the lack of easy access to my studio.  I decided that the time had come to work on them but being me, I wanted to try to make them a little differently.

Many years ago I purchased the 3 frames above from a clearance basket.  They are the red and green ovals and the tan circles.  They are plastic and were intended for framing small cross stitch projects.  The 2 green circles are the rims from the lid and top edge of a small food container (think yogurt cup).  The frames were like embroidery hoops with a inner and outer ring.  The inner ring had 2 little inverted Vs that were to be used for hanging.  I broke those off easily.

I suppose I should back up and define Ort for you.  It is an old Middle English or Middle Low  German word meaning a scrap or remainder of food from a meal.  I've also seen it as an anagram for Odd Remaining Threads or Odd Random Things.

I took a few notes from Melinda's Tutorial HERE then proceeded to make mine.  I started with the round one to make sure things would turn out then proceeded with the oval ones.

Inside View


Closed Ort

It worked pretty good so then I went on with the ovals.  They were bigger so it took a little more stitching.  Don't look too close the stitching isn't too even but it really doesn't matter.

Inner and Outer Bottoms 

I used plastic instead of cardboard.
Fabric on left is glued down.
Right one has batting and is gathered by hand.

Close up of  stitching at the rim

Inside bottom is padded with batting and stitched down

Closed by Twisting

To get this one to close I had to turn the rim at 90 degrees
from the base.  I think it looks interesting that way.

Inside view

Bottom Stitched On

Hoop Inside and Edges Stitched Together

Two Rows of Basting for Gathering
This could be done by hand.

Rim Stitched in place

Bottom View Closed

Closed with a Twist

Inside View

Two Oval Orts

Ort Trio 

Inside View

Now I have 3 nice little Orts to take with me and keep my work space neat and tidy.  The hardest part will be deciding which one of these cuties should I use?

 Most people use the small 3" or 4" embroidery hoops for them but I've been told the plastic container rims work fine too.  They are easy to come by but take a little cutting out.  I used the flat lid of a Cool Whip container for some of my bases.  I'm not a fan of cardboard.  If I do anymore I might add a little bit of weight to the base with either plastic doll filler pellets or a large metal washer or two.

I cut my fabric 12" in height for the little round Ort like in Melinda's instructions.  For the ovals I was guessing and used 14".  I should have used about an inch more on the larger hoop because it would not spin down and close until I moved the hoop at a 90 degree angle.  I'm sure there is some formula in physics that would give the proper ratio of height to width but I don't know what it is.  So if you plan to make some that are not round be prepared to experiment a little to get it right.

Do you think you will make one?  Which one do you like best?  Did you guess what they were from my previous post?  Have you seen them before?  Let me know what you think. 


  1. These are just too cute!

    Thank you for linking up to the It's A Saturday Sharing Day on my blog.

  2. Hi!!! I did not guess right!!! Nope never saw them before!!! I was very curious from the other post about them!!! Very curious!!! I think they are wonderful!!! Great idea and very useful!!!! Very pretty also!!!! You could carry lots of stuff in these!!! Little jewelry ort!!! Great for sewing kit!!! Could give it a little strap for easy carrying too!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  3. Sweet sweet orts. I have small material baskets all over the house. Just put on in the kitchen, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Congratulations for getting them made after all these years. XX KATHLEEN

  4. I love them! Still trying to wrap my mind around the directions...I have always been horrible with understanding directions. What is it that makes them stand up? I am going to give this a try! Thanks for posting.

  5. Thanks for this tutorial -- someone brought one into a guild meeting last month but she had purchased hers at a craft fair. Now we can all make them

  6. I want to make some of these! Thank you for the tutorial :)

  7. So cute. I've seen something similar to these. Maybe I will try to make some...I surely need some!Thanks for sharing. Great tutorial!

  8. Wow those are very cool. They really do look hard though. Great photo's and tutorial. Thanks for coming by and visiting me and looking at my WIP for Feb. post. I need all the encouragement I can get to keep moving forward on those WIP's! It was very nice meeting you this week.
    Have a wonderful week,

  9. You learn something new every day and today I learned about ORT's! Thanks Patricia, these are really practical.

  10. These are so neat--I have never seen them before! They look very useful. I love how you've gotten them to fold up so prettily with that little swirl.

  11. Those are really neat Pat and I can see how handy they would be!

  12. I think I'm stunned. I just never could figure out what these were from your previous post. I do like them and they seem like they would come in very handy. I like that you used your own plastic (recycled). Really good job!

  13. Those are darling and such a wonderful idea. Thanks so much for the introduction to them.

  14. Love the fabric choices for your orts. They look like they were fun to make. PS. Forty years sure is a long time, eh?

  15. those are so interesting. thanks for sharing them.


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