This year I learned there was a name for leftover bits of stitching floss. They are called “orts”. I had coined the word “flivers” by joining the words “floss” and “slivers” and used that term until I was enlightened. My husband, when he finds threads on the floor or his clothes, or in his soda, calls them “sniblets”. (Unlike mine, his word doesn’t make sense.) There is even a needlework store in Florida called Needle Orts.
I loved my ort colors from my recent chart, Stay Cool My Friend, so I kept them and made paper. Here’s how.
1. I cut my orts into small pieces.
2. I tore scrap paper into shreds.
3. I let in soak in water for an hour or so.
4. My husband, suspecting what I was up to, hid the blender because he remembers when I fried the blender with paper pulp. In the days when a floppy disk was a frisbee grandma made of polyester and a memory stick was a prop used in New Age group therapy, I had to print out copies of my thesis every time I changed it. I both wanted to avoid wasting the piles of paper and use the recycled paper to make Thank You cards to my professors who endured the paper Avalanche I foisted on them (and because they let me cross stitch during class). So this time I used a mortar and pestle.
5. Grind paper to pulp, mix in orts. Some people add a little white glue. If you want your paper to be less porous add a little cornstarch.
6. Spread onto a screen and flatten with a sponge or hand.
7. Let water seep out and let dry.
8. Pop out of screen and admire.
9. Use to make cards and tags and stay cool my friend and repurpose your orts.
When Stephanie from Hand Dyed Fabrics from Stephanie handed me this cool linen called “Jell-O shots”, my brain said Popsicle. Then all things summer materialized along with the Popsicles. I then stitched it on Pink Lady Aida from Wichelt and added Mill Hill beads, and I also stitched the Popsicles on perforated paper to make wine charms. Because I need a need cap and want to say “I’m cool” to the world, I stitched it on a blue cap using waste canvas. My husband said wearing that could be false advertising. That may be true, but is there a confection that says, “I’m a grouchy curmudgeon”? I don’t think so.
Option 1. Throw away scraps of cross stitch fabric and perforated paper. Option 2. Save all scraps and think of a way to justify hoarding. I chose option two and made a booklet of twenty small designs, which can be used to create magnets, wine charms, jewelry, ornaments, cards, tags and more. The booklet will be available the first week of April. However, you can get it now if you buy it from one of the stores listed on the home page of www.fronyritterdesigns.com. How did they get early copies? They came to visit Frony Ritter Designs at the Nashville Needlework market last weekend, said hello, and picked them up there.
I am so eager for Saint Patrick’s Day that I am having a second party to celebrate this day. I made favor boxes that I filled with Sees’s shamrock chocolate. Because I believe in chocolate I also made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. And of course, it is an excuse to display counted cross stitch.
The newest design in the Spring Series of counted cross stitch is inspired by the 1874 hymn by Robert Lowry. When I was a child the most fascinating hymn sung at Easter time was He Arose. The tone was gloomy and morose as people sang, “dead in the tomb he lay….” Their tone actually matched how many of them looked and acted at church. Suddenly mania breaks out when the tempo and mood of the song changes to say, “up from the grave he arose”. The song reenacts what seems like a play that moves from despondency to joy. The song got stuck in my head as I designed and stitched and re stitched it.
I also remembered the times this song spontaneously busted out of nowhere in a crowd–and no, I never started it. Walking with friends through a cemetery at University in the middle of the night we found ourselves singing this loud enough (to wake the dead). A few years ago one fall evening some friends and I were walking in Montpelier, Vermont. Two young men walking in front of us were singing this song. We joined in and when the song was over we just silently went to our various destinations. And several times this song broke out while putting together puzzles with friends on a cold evening.
This hymn, which graphically depicts the greatest mystery in Christianity, has triggered many hours of pondering, especially since I began working on this project and the song got embedded in my head.
I was showing my cousin Karen, Greek goddess of cheerfulness, appreciating good humor and beading, my beaded version of two of the fall designs. She suggested that I frame them. So I sewed them onto white silk, painted some raw pine frames black and framed them. Conversion from DMC to Delica beads is on the website, fronyritterdesigns.com.
I decided to make something with my tangled ball of threads and my two inch square of green fabric I couldn’t throw out that kept haunting the bottom of my cross stitch bag. I stitched one of the shamrocks from the Trinity Prayer Chart on 28 count Morning Dew, one strand over one square. I used 002 Kreinik gold cording and DMC floss. Then I found a square black bezel from My Jewelry Shoppe. Now my cross stitch bag is slightly lighter and neater and I’m ready for St. Patrick’s Day.
The Celts had a prayer called a Caim, which is a prayer of encircling oneself with the protection, encompassing love and blessing of God. A beautiful Caim sung by the Celtic rock group Iona in their album, Journey into the Morn, inspired this piece. Since St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity to the Celts I added shamrocks.
An alternative border which is a St. Patrick’s Day greeting is also available for those more inclined to party than pray. Better yet, stitch them both and do both.
If you haven’t stitched the other shamrock from the Celtic Series of patterns, it would make a great companion piece to this. The ornament version is nestled in the bottom right corner.