Who is Orange Sink?

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Rice Lake, WI, United States
My home town is Rice Lake, a small town in northern Wisconsin. I own Red House Wool Studio~ an in-home wool and rug hooking business. I enjoy collecting and decorating with antiques and primitives. Orange Sink Blog is a journal of my interests and ramblings about life. Cathy Greschner

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Monday, January 30, 2012

She tried to help!

My sister Michelle is an EMT who lives in Tempe, AZ.   She tried to help a woman who crashed her car into a house yesterday.   Michelle lives near where the accident happened.  The woman died while Michelle was holding her head.  There was an 18 month old baby in the car who survived.  Here is a news video of the event.   I'll tell you my sister is one strong woman.   Her son Terry served two tours in Iraq.  Nerves of steel I'll tell you!   Hugs to you Michelle if you read this.  You are my hero.   

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The Original Antique Rug

My Version
I've  made quite a lot of progress on my antique rug adaptation.  All the crazy elements in this rug are making me a little crazy.  As you can see by  looking at the photo of the original antique version above, the hooker from olden days did a lovely job making everything pleasing to the eye.  
My version is being hooked within a 10 1/2 by 21 inch space.  My elements don't have much breathing room.  If I were to hook this rug again I'd reduce the elements down a notch with more background space.  So you can see that I've eliminated a couple of those doo hicky things at the bottom and filled in with background colors instead hoping to gain a little more space and make the overall  design less busy.

If you"ll notice around the blue bird on the left I did a little technique know as tunneling. This is the practice of carefully hooking in a much narrower strip of contrasting wool between two standard size rows of hooking. Tunneling gives definition to a motif within a design. This technique is especially helpful in creating subtle definition for primitive faces, flowers, animal features and lettering.  I will be redoing that in a different lighter value wool cut a little narrower. 

There will be more reverse hooking and tweaking on this rug before I am finished.  Tomorrow it's back to the taxes covering my dining room table.  Knowing I have "antique crazy rug" waiting for me to come play is making the taxing chore of income tax reporting a little more bearable.  What I can't figure out is why the little bit of income I have to report is taking me so long to prepare!  It's just plain crazy!
                                                                    Cathy G

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Spark Ignites!

Life brings pleasant surprises every once in awhile.  They are especially welcome this time of year when the days are a little bleak, cold and sometimes frustrating.  The frustrating part of that includes the daily chores  which are  tackled with a kind of  forced gumption  or completely ignored like the "broccoli breath" that I noticed wafting from the throat-like drain of the real orange sink in my kitchen yesterday. The usual treatment of vinegar mixed with baking soda and poured down the fowl smelling pipe has  been neglected recently due to more pressing issues like taxes, pattern preparations, hours on the computer (working and Pinterest),  mother duties, wool fondling and sleeping.

So the pleasant surprise?  Yes indeed.  An email from Kelley Belfast of With Hook and Needle blog inviting me to join their group of talented ladies on Ebay called An American Primitive Gathering. You can find their  offerings on Ebay by clicking this link or typing in USAPRIM  in the search box on Ebay. There are some awesome punch needle pieces on there right now!
One of the things this group does is work together on a chosen pattern to keep each other inspired and motivated to keep hooking through dry spells. 
Dry spells, as in need new ideas, encouragement or possibly a new challenge to light the spark of creativity.  

The pattern Kelley brought forth is inspired by a neat antique rug that has inspired many rug hookers already to hook a version of it.
Some in the group are needle punching the design and some are hooking.
I chose to hook a smaller mat measuring 10 by 21 inches.
The photo above is the pattern I made by altering a photo of the rug in photoshop. By using the "find edges" tool and removing the color it leaves you with an outline of the main elements in the rug.

So here is my humble start.  I chose some plaid wools and lighter value textures to begin with. Of course there has been a little reverse hooking and I'm sure more as I progress. I have come to actually enjoy ripping out a line or two of something that isn't working.  I don't enjoy reverse hooking whole sections however and try to avoid that by really analyzing the way things look before I get too far along with one color.  
Our group would like to invite you to follow along with us by creating your own version either punching or hooking. You are welcome to drag or download the pattern of the photo above if you like.

I hear dogs whining for supper in the background..... or is that the sink burping again!

Cathy G

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My First Rug Hooking Pattern For Sale!

I am celebrating my first paper rug hooking pattern for sale on my new selling blog today! 
You would think it a simple thing to get a paper pattern printed and ready to go.
Living in a small town it took me five attempts at local businesses here to finally find an establishment to print one this size.  It is 17 by 19 inches.  He did a remarkable job with this as his business usually prints signs and decals and such.
I am very happy with the results!
So head on over to my selling blog Red House Wool Studio and take a look! 
More patterns will be offered as soon as I get them ready!

( maybe I'm getting too old for this!) 

Cathy G

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hooking a Log Cabin Square

Thank-you to everyone who commented on my last post about hooking a log cabin square. I threw out the question as to whether you like to start the hooking at the red square in the center or prefer starting at the outside edge and hooking the "border" first.

A few answered that you felt hooking the center first keeps your mat going on the square.  Then a few of you preferred hooking the outside border first stating you felt this kept the hooking more square.

Well, my thoughts  of course are there are no "written in stone" rules.  However ( I will exercise my "teacher rights" here a little) and say there might be a few "teensy tiny tips" that one could follow if you're after that nice, neat, clean looking square that we so often associate with hooking geometrics. 

I decided to go into my science lab mode and do a test hooking.  Here  are the Orange Sink lab results.

A. The first method started with hooking the red square in the middle first which kept the red square nice and even and I was able to control the shape and size of the red square a little better.
B. The second method starting at the outside edge actually seemed to frame the rug and gave me a straighter outside border than method A.  However when getting to the center I found the red square more difficult to fill and keep a nice square shape.  I might suggest starting at the outside edge and hooking about half of the mat that way then stop and hook your red square while you still have plenty of room to make it nice and square and even.  Then go back and continue filling in from where you left off. 
I hope you followed that.

You could of course hook the red square first. Then go to your outside border and begin hooking.

Start hooking with your dark value wool in the middle of one edge. Never start your hooking at a corner because you want the wool to form a nice solid corner and you don't want tails to deal with at a corner.  This is a RULE you must follow on all of your rugs because I'm the teacher and I said so.

With your darker value wool turn that corner nice and square then hook a couple of loops then start hooking with your light value wool.

Follow your pattern around the outside edge filling in in this manner.

See how nice and straight your little steps are where the dark and light values meet. 

The one on the left was hooked from the center going outward.  The one on the right was hooked beginning with the outside edge hooking to the center.  
I think they both look okay but the one on the right looks a little more square and even to me.

If you haven't tried hooking a log cabin square yet get out your linen and draw the pattern.  I know this can be hooked easily for seasoned hookers without drawing a pattern but for first time or newbie hookers it really helps to have some lines to follow.  These mats are 6 inches square.  The red square in the middle ends up being 1 inch square.  I used a number 8 ( 1/4 inch) cut strip.
For not much effort and a good learning experience you can have a little mat that looks like a million bucks!!
Enjoy Each Loop!!

Cathy G

p.s.  I have FIVE students signed up for class now!  If you are local and are interested in taking my beginning rug hooking class starting Feb. 23rd call WITC Rice Lake Campus and they will help you get registered.  Class size is limited to 10 students!  We're half-way there!  Yay!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brain.... are you listening?

The last week or so has been hard on my brain.  Many decisions had to be made. 
Which project will be best for my new students? Which patterns will be offered on my selling blog, the sizes, how many, linen or paper, prices........
So what did I do?
Retreated to my studio to fold, fondle, stack and ponder my wool stash.
Oh yeah..... wool soothes, calms, inspires, warms and comforts.

I think the class project will be the log cabin mat.

I had to hook a couple of mats to figure out how to do it myself.  If you have hooked one of these where do you begin yours?  The red square in the middle or the outside border?  
Too many things taxing on my brain these days.
Speaking of taxing...... those pesky tax papers cover my dining room table as we speak.

So please stay with me as I continue to make progress on my pattern offerings.

I have four students signed up for class already!  I am so excited!  I hope they are too!  I have so many warm, fun, exciting and wonderful things to share with them!

Okay brain...... time to focus and use the side that makes the decisions. 

Cathy G

Friday, January 6, 2012

What's the Buzz?

Time to get back to hooking a little.  This is the start of a small log cabin mat that is 6 1/2 by 7 inches. I'm using worms from the millions that have multiplied here. 
I thought this would make a good beginner project for my class that starts the end of Feb. What do you think? Too hard?
Hooking a geometric can be a little tricky for a first time project.

Although I think they would dearly love the finished product.
I'm hooking this on rug warp.
Have you tried hooking on it?  It's sort of okay. It's cotton. I don't think I'd hook a bigger rug on it though and nothing bigger than a size 8 strip.  
Just my opinion.

Oh..... one more thing.  I'm working on a new blog.  A place to try and sell some of my rug hooking patterns. 
I don't have my patterns quite ready yet but go take a peak. I do have a photo gallery of some of my rugs on there already.

Let me know what you think.

Cathy G

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bundle Up!

We're going on a snowshoe hike with Dave and his camera!

A study in neutrals.

A study of the rustic but delicate beauty of the deep woods in winter.

Catch a snowflake on the tip of your tongue.







Experience winter in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Then stop by Red House Wool Studio for a warm mug of hot cocoa!

( gosh this almost sounds like an advertisement)

Just wanted to share some of Dave's exquisite photography work.

Thought I better after giving him such a hard time yesterday!

Cathy G

Monday, January 2, 2012

A List and Two Old Foggies

I actually started out with two lists this morning.  The first was my to do list..... a mile long.  Then realizing the dogs were completely out of chewies   (a national disaster around here) I thought I better get a grocery list together and head  down to Walmart. 

I usually never go grocery shopping without a list, especially at Walmart because I tend to get sidetracked  down the plastic bin isle and buy more bins for  things I'm  supposed to be getting rid of.  That was one of the things on my to do list today.  Start the pile for getting rid of.

Any hoo.... off I went to Walmart and upon getting into the car I realized I forgot the 25.00 gift certificate Dave received for Christmas from his employer,  which we decided to spend on groceries.  Instead of tracking snow back into the house I opened the garage door and hollered  for Dave to please look on the dining room table and find the gift certificate that was laying there in plain sight.  Hollering back says he: " I don't see it." Says me: "Well, it's laying right there on the table in the envelope with the pic of a  big Christmas bulb on the front..... nope he still can't see it. So I come back in the house tracking snow and go into the dining room and see the durn thing laying right there in plain sight. 
So me being a bit snarly says to him " maybe they need to check your eye sight on Thurs. instead of your butt". ( he's having a routine colonoscopy on Thurs). I know... not very nice of me. 

So off I go to Walmart.  The weather today was freezing cold with a nasty wind that had me wishing for a hot flash on the way into the big Super Store.  Grabbed a cart and started to dig through my purse.... Oh s##!  yep.... my list was laying back home on the dining room table!  Now are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Why didn't man see it laying there when he looked for the gift certificate........ oh yeah....  his mind was elsewhere today.  Then my snarly attitude lightened slightly as I recalled that this was the second time in the last few weeks I'd gone off and forgot my list on the table.   I chuckled and thought to myself what a couple of old foggies we're getting to be.  At least we seem to be losing our faculties at the same pace.
After checking out my cart full of things I decided to give Dave a quick call to see if I had remembered everything on my list ( don't ask why I waited until I was completely checked out and on my way to the car). I had most everything on the wayward list except my favorite instant iced tea mix of which I can't live without.  So I dashed back into the big warm store and bought the tea and a pair of jeans.

photo via pinterest

Perhaps this is the size list that would be helpful.  At least Dave could maybe see it..... ya think?!

( as a side note..... nothing on the first list got accomplished today) 

Cathy G

Sunday, January 1, 2012


 Last night  Dave  and I celebrated the New Year watching a tribute to the late George Carlin on PBS.  This has to be one of my all time favorite comedy routines of his about people and their stuff.   If I have one resolution that I mean to keep in this new year  it is getting rid of stuff.  I know..... I know I said that last year and the year before.  This year I really mean it!  Really!!


 Sweet blessings to all my blog readers and I hope your 2012 is filled with thought provoking, mind tingling, gold jingling, bell ringing, heart fulfilling moments!!
                                                                             Cathy G