Who is Orange Sink?

My photo
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

Email Me Here

Friday, July 30, 2010

Forest Secret Challenge Rugs Revealed!

Forest Secrets 2010 Challenge Rug
Measurements 27 by 18 inches
Wool strips mostly #6-8 cuts hooked on Linen
Designed and Hooked by Cathy Greschner

As promised the revealing of our Forest Secrets Challenge rugs took place today on the Rug Hooking Daily Site.  I am showing you my rug now and am showing the others whom I have been given permission from the designer.  You won't believe the diversity in design and execution of these rugs!  As always please respect the copyright rights of the designers. They are all original designs and not to be copied including the photos without the designers written permission.

The Story behind my Forest Secrets Challenge Rug.

The owl on the birch tree was actually born from an idea I had before deciding to join this challenge. I had been wanting to hook a rug with an owl in it. The birch tree in my backyard was the inspiration for the tree and I took photos of the tree and looked closely at the many colors in the layers of bark. The birch trees took the longest to hook.

The idea came together after taking a walk on a wooded trail with my dogs. I thought how neat it would be to have a bird holding the ring! The ring being one of the required elements. The bird had to be a nuthatch as it had to be hooked with the birch tree as the background. That worked out good as that's the way you usually see these little birds going up and down the trees.

The huge moon in the background wasn't in my original design. It came about when my neighbor and friend Lisa asked if it was night or day in the design. That got me thinking that I wanted it to be night and what would be in the night sky but a big lovely moon! Well, that got me excited and I had to add the moon after I had the owl and the bottom part already hooked.
Out came one of my big wooden bowls that happened to be just the right size. I traced around it and made a few adjustments and I had my moon!

I used a lot of textures and wool that I dyed. However I didn't have to dye specifically for this rug. I had dyed some wool earlier just to have in my stash. I just pulled what I had and somehow it worked.

The one thing I'd do differently in this rug if I hooked it again (which I probably will never do) is play with the color of the moon with some hand dyed wool. I just used a texture I found and thought it looked kind of like green cheese! I always heard the old-timers when I was young saying that the moon was made of green cheese! So I decided to leave it. I think I could do something more interesting with some spot dyed wools that would make the moon shine a little. But now I think it looks like a moon in the night sky.

Forest Secrets Summer Challenge 2010
Title: Childhood Memories
Designed and hooked by Julia Bourque, Fredericton, N.B. Canada
15 x 16 inches on jute burlap

Julia says: My story is about childhood memories of when I was a young girl. I was fortunate enough to have a forested area beside my home and spent many hours being by myself and daydream of running a household and having perfect kids.

I foolishly wasn't satisfied of being a brunette and wished that I would have been a blond like my older sister. I really thought that blonds had more fun.

I would hang upside down from trees, sometimes I would hang from only my feet. I was always having dialogues in my head and pretended all sorts of wonderful stories. Sometimes my friends would join me in the forest.

The ring is an old tire tied to a branch, the rock on the lower right side was used to climb on the tree branch and the touch of purple is in the three flowers by the rock and also a narrow strip on the bottom of my tank top.

I got out of my comfort zone by hooking in #6 cut for the first time. I used #3 cut on the flesh and tank top because that's what I started first. It's my first attempt at hooking a face, and to be on the wild side I decided to use alternate colors for the leaves with a darker outline. I've kept things simple because I wanted to have time to finish hooking on schedule. It's my first attempt at prodding also.

I only dyed one shade of green for the leaves. I used left over worms and all recycled wool except for the face which was new wool that I dyed with onion skins when I hooked the udder on my cow rug in 2004.

The hair is prodded with a #3 and the long strand were separated one by one and all the short fibers were brushed off using an old brush. JB

Secrets of the Forest
Designed and hooked by Cynthia Bell
Mostly #8 Cuts on Linen Burlap
July 2010

Cynthia says: When I first read of the challenge, all I could think of was trees. I guess you could say, I couldn't see the 'forest' for the 'trees'.
The trees were so much fun to do, especially since blues and green

s are my favorite colors. I love a crescent moon on a clear night because if you look hard enough, you can see all around it with a tiny bit of light on
the shadow side of the moon. The ring around it reveals the secret that the moon isn't a crescent after all.
My rug is more about . . . not what you see, but what you hear when you look at it. I hear serenity, interruped only by the noise of the
Cicadas and the trickling of the nearby brook. . . with shadowy purple rocks. A quiet noise that is soothing and peaceful.

Forest Secrets Challenge Rug
Hooked and Designed by Pat Wenger(Hook Hand and Heart blog)
#4 cut on linen
Pat says: When I thought of Forest Secrets with the rock being one of the essential elements, ‘what is on the rock’ and ‘what is under the rock’ was the first thing that came to mind. Initially the salamander was on the rock and there were little underground burrows with worms and snails etc in them. But somehow that didn’t work out the way I planned. Too much ‘dirt’ at the bottom.

I have a cool rustic clay toad on my windowsill. Looking at him I had an aaaah-ha! moment. I planned to put sprays of fall oak leaves around the border of a rectangular rug. None of the designs that I arranged were pleasing to me. I decided to be more critter oriented.

I don’t know what made me think of the moths. I guess the fact that toads eat them was a factor. I have always been fascinated by the large lovely saturniid moths. The colors of the IO moth were just right. And there are rings on the underwings! So I started calling the rug ‘Toad Thoughts’.

Of course there was the purple. I’ve never personally seen a purple salamander, but….

All the colors were either small pieces out of my stash or larger pieces that I dyed. The leaves are one of my first attempts at dip dying.

To get the necessary detail, I used a #4 cut. Luckily I ordered the blade a week before the announcement of the closing of the Townsend company! My backing is monks cloth. The rug is 27 inches across.

There were a few reverse hooking incidents when the colors weren’t quite right, but the whole thing went amazingly well. I don’t usually work in such a fine cut. I thought it would take forever, but not so. Number 4 cut hooks quickly because the loops are so easy to pull through the backing. This was a truly enjoyable project!

Sunnie Andress
23" x 22 1/2" wool strips on linen
#4, 5, 6, 8 cuts

Sunnie says: My rug is titled - "The Watcher" and is loosely based on the legend of the Green Man (the forest spirit).
Sometimes, when walking in the woods or a forest of trees, there will be just a flicker of motion that I see. But when I turn to look, I can't see anything there!

I wrote a poem, a Haiku, to keep me focused on my theme.

Enter the forest.
Hidden in the deep shadows,
The Spirit watches.

Sunnie says: I wanted the Watcher to be mysterious but peaceful and be a celebration of life. I like to think that, when I am walking in the woods, there is a benevolent spirit watching over me and all those who live or travel there.

The "gold ring" is plain to see at the bottom of the piece and the "touch of royal purple" is on the face and in the center of some of the leaves. I had intended to add a real rock to my rug but decided to be "creative" and ise the veins of the leaves n the right to spell our the word, "R-O-C-K"...so I got around that rule!!!!!
I had such fun with "The Watcher"...and learned a lot too!!!
These are only a few of the rugs and their designers who participated in the challenge. Here is a link to the Forest Secrets Challenge Group on the Rug Hooking Daily Site. It will bring you to the rest of the rugs! Click on each rug photo for more! Hope you enjoyed the rugs!


  1. Naturally I am not disappointed. Your design and color choices are great. You really have mastered hooking the birch trees. The green moon made me smile. My grandpa always told me the moon was made of green cheese!
    Great job Cathy!

  2. Thanks for posting the challenge rugs here!
    You did such a great job on yours!!! I love the expression on the owl's face. It is such an excellent design.
    Each piece you do keeps getting better!!!

  3. I like your rug and you totally got the birch coloring right. I was looking around your blog and saw where you started hooking with a bent hook. I bought a bent hook when I first started that was made from a nail. I loved it right away and my friend never could get to like it. I agree that I hook faster with a bent hook.
    Thanks for joining my blog.

  4. Lovely piece. I love the Nuthatch walking down the tree. The ring in his mouth is too cool! Wonderful job.
    (Moments in Time)

  5. Hi Cathy, I am so loving your blog and all these wonderful creations!...Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Way, way inspiring! I can't choose a favorite. Absolutely love them all. Thanks for posting these!


  7. I love these rugs and your birch tree is fantastic. I think the greatest thing about the challenge is seeing how everyone's mind gets them to their finished pieces. BRAVO!

  8. Yes Cathy, thank you for sharing the pictures with us. I LOVE your rug and the story behind it. And I'm glad the neighbors asked about the time of day. It just seems that big ole owl is peeking around at night..for sure!
    Loved all the rugs and stories.
    thanks again for taking the time to share with us!


I love comments! Thank-you!