What’s an Ort?

No, an ort is not an astronomical phenomenon.  It’s a small scrap or remainder of something you’ve consumed (generally eaten).  But if you guessed Astronomy, you’d be closer than you think because there is something called the Oort cloud that is an accumulation of icy debris at the edges of our galaxy from which comets are born.  It was named after a person named Oort. 

That’s all interesting, but for today’s post, we are actually talking about small bits of thread that are too short and/or frayed to use anymore that are left when you sew, embroider, quilt, etc.  These little bits of thread are a nuisance and it’s best to keep them contained in your work area.  For years I’ve used little origami boxes for this purpose, and they’ve worked well, but they are wearing out from being folded and unfolded so many times.  Somehow, I came across a couple of patterns online for “thread catchers” made of fabric.  I call them ort boxes, but they are not boxes at all.  Really, they are teeny-tiny garbage cans.

Here’s a photo of the 2 designs I’m testing:

Here they are all ready to receive spent thread ends.

But it’s very important for the ort boxes to collapse to keep the threads contained during storage and/or transport until they can be emptied.  So here they are collapsed:

They are both quite light small and yet can hold a lot of thread snips so I think both will do the job nicely.  I’m partial to the way the circular one closes like a camera aperture with a twist of the wrist, but I’m also a fan of the triangular one because it gets flatter, has an interesting shape when closed and is cuter because of the buttons.  What is it about non-functioning buttons that makes things so cute?  The buttons do serve a purpose here, which is to hold the flaps in place when the box stands open, but that job could be done as well or better with any bit of felt stitched in place or just a simple thread tack.  The buttons definitely add panache.

If you should want to make your own ort box(es), just Google “Thread Catcher Pattern” and you’ll be off and running.  Tutorials abound.  I didn’t change anything about the triangle design.  For the round one, I did substitute a canning lid ring for the ring cut from a Pringles Box.  I don’t eat Pringles.  Nor do I know anyone who does.  Are Pringles really even food?  I think the jury’s out on that question, but that’s another post entirely.