Have Your Say

23rd July 2021

Orts, Tapestries and Boxes

The ideas we received from everyone regarding orts and stories about what our readers do with them have been amazing. Is there no end to the creativity of our community?

For instance, Beth Annett told us how she makes a Christmas project every year from the past year’s orts.

She wraps them around her first three fingers to create a donut shape. She then couches it down on to Christmas fabric using red or green thread, adds beads, sequins and lots of other sparkly bits, and hey presto! she’s made a unique little wreath ready for the front of a Christmas card. As Beth admits, it might not be sleek but it is super cute and all the little thready bits that stick out add to that gorgeous homemade charm.

Ann Baseden always loved being involved with her Guild’s fundraising venture. The Dorset Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers would put together bags, each containing a piece of fabric and then a whole mix of leftover yarns, fibres, beads, buttons, ribbons or anything else which fitted with the bag’s colour scheme.

One of Ann Baseden’s ‘Bags of Inspiration’

They’d sell these ‘bags of inspiration’ for around £4 each and have made over £2,500 for the Guild over the years.

It is incredible how seeing a collection of things can spark the imagination and bring forth some wonderfully creative ideas, as you can see below where Ann has shared some photos of projects she has made using the contents of her ‘bags of inspiration’. And best of all, nothing ever had to go to waste.

One of Ann’s projects made from a ‘bag of inspiration’

This gorgeous pincushion was made by Adèle Davis who used orts for the French knots. Although they were fiddly, she was pleased to see the ort jar starting to empty out – so much so, she’s actually made this pincushion three times now!

Adèle Davis’s stunning pincushion made from orts

Finally, regular contributor to All Stitched Up! Peggy Kimble (who is 98 years young!) makes Temari from waste fabric cut into strips. She finds the fabric balls a lot easier to work with as the interiors don’t crush like the styrofoam ones. Although they are a bit heavier, they are sturdier and Peggy gets to make good use of scrap fabric.

Peggy’s Temari, all made from waste fabric

Keep the ideas for using up orts and scraps coming! We love to get inspiration from all of the clever, thrifty stitchers out there who can’t bear to see lovely leftovers going to waste.

Further to recent conversations about the Bayeux Tapestry, Anne Bollen wrote in with her experience. Anne’s husband had traced his ancestry back to Count Eustace de Boulogne who was one of the few people actually named on the Tapestry. Count Eustace had accompanied William when the latter invaded England. When Anne and her husband visited the Tapestry for the second time, they asked Chantal James whether she could prepare an embroidery kit of the particular section of Tapestry where Count Eustace was named.

Gail Haidon’s Completed Bayeux Tapestry Panel (source)

Anne has so far done the outline stitching on the kit and hopes to get it completed one day to hang on the wall of her husband’s study.

Dawn Beck wanted to bring another tapestry to our attention which, in her view, is as important as the Bayeux Tapestry if not as well known. It is the Quaker Tapestry that lives in Kendal in the UK. 

The Quaker Tapestry is made up of 77 panels and tells the history of Quakerism along with various other topics including science, medicine and the abolition of slavery.

The designers even created a Quaker stitch especially for the project, which was completed by many Quaker volunteers from all over the world. You can learn more about this wonderful piece at the official website HERE

Finally, several readers wrote to us about boxes, in particular the four-legged table shadow boxes that were mentioned in All Stitched Up! issue #287. Stephanie Murphy kindly shared with us that they are very easy to make yourself. In most hardware stores you can purchase little wooden pegs, beads or squares that you can glue to a frame to make ‘feet’. By adding a bit of cork or felt to the bottom of the feet, you can ensure that they don’t scratch, and you’ve got a perfect shadow box.

Patty Quinowski also suggested looking for small end tables that are usually about 12-16 inches (30-40cms) square. A frame can then be glued to the tabletop to create an easy homemade box table. Or if you are lucky enough to be like Lynda, you can ask your handy woodworking husband to create a box for an embroidery to go into, just like the one below!

Thank you again for the fantastic emails this week. We could almost fill an entire newsletter with all the great feedback, stories and suggestions we receive from you. It makes us feel very loved.

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