When Good Intentions Wind Up in the Ort Jar

Happy Monday to you all!!

This article is based on a project I had begun for my sister: to stitch a lovely picture of her lovely children…now you may not be a stitcher, but there is a life lesson here you may not want to miss…

Before we begin, take a look at the “lovely picture to the right there…yes. That one. The one that appropriately says YUK underneath it. Not so lovely right?

When a project goes DISASTROUSLY wrong…


Now, does that even look CLOSE to skin color? It’s a weird mesh of terra cottas, pinks, and greenish browns….NONE of which look like my beautiful nephew Charlie. I made the pattern with Pic2Pat and wasn’t feeling terribly confident in the colors. I just had this feeling the colors were going to be all wrong. Well, they were WAY wrong. Thank goodness I started stitching one of the faces first and was able to make the decision to trash it NOW and not after stitching a page or two of the pattern. So, I frogged it. About 600 stitches I nipped, pulled, tugged, ripped, and brushed out into little balls of ort garbage and tossed into the ort jar. Disastrous.

Frogging: a term used by stitcher for the action of removing mistaken stitches. We call it being visited by the “frog” and we have “to rip it rip it” taking stitches out…aka “ribbit ribbit” Get it?

Handling Frustration with a Measure of Dignity

I’m bummed. I’m frustrated. I worked with sharp little scissors and my frogging needle and very nearly decided to throw the fabric across the room. How often is it that life has different plans than we do and despite our best intentions, we end up filling our ort jar with those ugly little fuzzy balls instead of snippets of pretty colors from a successful project?

What is an ORT JAR you ask? This is also a stitchers term for the jar we toss the end snippits of floss (the embroidery thread we stitch with) that we cut off. The spare, ending pieces (called orts) are often collected into an Ort jar and later used for a craft project, such as stuffing them into those clear glass Christmas ornaments.

Life often laughs in the face of our intentions. So, we can take our sharp little scissors and out of a blast of frustration cut the whole piece of fabric in half and set it ablaze in the fireplace, or we can nit pick at it until we’ve removed the wrongness, the sour parts, the problem details and hopefully, hopefully at the very least save the fabric. After all, you can brush away the dust and start afresh right? Tonight, I chose to save the fabric. With that. I am pleased.

Not happy about calling off this project, but confident it was the right decision. Handling a decision with grace is always an admirable thing. For now, I am tucking the slightly manipulated fabric into the Aida drawer. It’s back to the drawing board.

Redirect with Purpose

The point, after all, is to make something nice for my sister. Her favorite song is You Are My Sunshine. Perhaps I could design something for her. Maybe I will run across the perfect pattern. The right thing will be in the right place at the right time. I have followed my Lord long enough to know that if I am patient, this will be. His perfect solution rolls itself out right in front of me. If I am open. If I am trusting. And if I am willing to let go of my best intentions, my best laid plans, and brush away the messes I make and allow Him to show me something better. I know it will be something very special to honor my sister and her beautiful family.

Putting my stitching hands to rest tonight.

Although this is an older post of mine, and does read a bit “diary-ish,” I thought the lesson here to be valuable. When things do not go as planned, there is nothing wrong with “quitting.” I have been told a lesson about “not quitting” all of my life, and while that sentiment has it’s value, there is also a wisdom to knowing when to throw in the towel, and pick up a new one. Redirect your efforts and take with you a new lesson. Somethings you will learn the lesson in because of failure. That is ok, just learn those lessons quick before life throws them at you on repeat. All for now folks…have yourselves a fantastic Monday!

For more fun articles on Christina’s stitching adventures read up here:

George Washington Project Makes Front Page!

The George Washington Project – One Year Anniversary

Flosstube Video 1 – Two-Handed Cross Stitching and Parking Method

Christina ~

Author: Christina M. Ward

Poet, author of "organic"

5 thoughts on “When Good Intentions Wind Up in the Ort Jar”

  1. I was wondering how do you save your fabric from a project gone wrong? I have done many projects where I try to save the fabric, but it ends up mangled!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Abby I have learned a few tricks for saving fabric. First of all, I save fabric in gallon size zip lock baggies. This helps to keep them free of dust or moisture. Secondly, try not to do any harsh folds of the fabric as these fold marks are terribly difficult to remove, especially if the fabric is in storage for a length of time. And lastly, store in an area that is free from sunlight as the light can fade the color of the fabric over time. Always be sure to keep anything in contact with the fabric acid-free as well. Hope this helps.


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