ORT Jars

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ortjarRecently I mentioned my ORT jar in a post, and a reader asked what that was. I thought I would write a blog post all about the wonderfulness of ORT jars.

Here is a picture of my current ORT jar. As you can see, it is nothing more than a jelly jar filled with snippets of embroidery threads. I keep this jar in my “stitching spot”, which is on the end table next to the couch. Any time I finish a kit, the threads go into this jar. If I am stitching a chart that did not come with threads, and therefore am using threads from my stash, then I wind up the leftover threads back onto the bobbins. But if a piece is deemed too short to use again, it goes into the jar.

The word “ort” is an archaic term that means scraps. But stitchers have turned this word into an all-caps abbreviation which can mean different things. I personally use “old random threads”. Others call it “odd ratty threads”. So what do you do with these threads when you have your jar filled up? Well, some people toss them to the birds to help them make nests but others think that is dangerous because the birds can choke on them. I think the chemicals and dyes used can’t be good for the birds, either. Some people start a new jar each year and then at the end of the year they put the snippets into a clear glass Christmas ornament and use a marker to write the date on it. I have to confess, this is my first ORT jar. I used to just toss the tiny little “tails” in the trash, and save any longer pieces. I have threads from every kit I have ever stitched, sitting in a box. Doing nothing. I finally decided that enough was enough; I was never going to actually use them again. And most kit threads, I find, are not very good quality anyway. So for now, they just sit in this jar.

A word of caution: don’t leave your glass jar near any windows. There was a story in the news recently about a girl who burned her house down because she had a Nutella jar on her bedroom windowsill, full of loops for a weaving loom. The glare from the sun on the glass jar started the fire. This was in Europe, where Nutella comes in glass jars and not plastic like in the US, but it can happen anywhere. Keep your jars away from the sun. Better safe than sorry!


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