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 24, 2011

I Dye By Eye

Bet you thought I fell into the dye pots and would never return! The kettles have been steaming away and Dave says the house smells like Easter eggs!   I use vinegar as the mordant to set the dyes.  I dye by eye and by the seat of my pants most of the time.  However for this class I've tried to stay a little focused and stick to the more primitive colors.  Primitive can mean different things to different people. To me it means softer, subdued, not "in your face" colors. Secretly I have a love affair with 'in your face colors". But for this class I've decided to keep things a bit more subtle.  I'm using a softer spring like palette.

Some of the formula's I've dyed so far have names like Ashes of Rose, Buttermilk Paint Blue, and Old Rusty Apricot.  
I have never dyed wool to sell or for anyone else.  I dye for my own rugs and projects.  Now having all this freshly dyed wool around  and not being able to hook with it is like telling a kid to keep her hands out of the cookie jar!  
How does a hooker manage that?  Tempting myself even further I have been stripping the wool  to save time in class.  I want my students to concentrate on their hooking technique.  Although after a few thousand rounds of stripping with my little Bliss cutter I think the students will be learning to cut  a little more wool than I'd originally planned! 

I dye a lot of as found wools.  I love dyeing over textures and weird plaids.  I've had one ugly piece of wool in my stash (pictured above) that never seems to want to dye up decent. I've over dyed this particular wool at least six different colors  and it refuses to be pretty.  I threw a piece of it in with a pot of Bronzed Olive Green and finally, I think it turned into something fairly usable if not downright attractive!  I'm tempted to keep it for myself!  Sorry class!

So after this brief recess to blog a little, I'm returning to my studio to try and make some order out of chaos. I better hurry for I've ordered more wool and it should be here any day! I think I'm having fun!

If you live in my area  and would like to take my class, here is the link to the  WITC online catalog where you can get the information about the class.  There are lots of new classes being offered this Spring at the college in the continuing education division.  If I weren't teaching I may have taken the new artistic welding class.  I've always wanted to weld an artsy  creative trellis for my garden!

Cathy G


  1. OHHHHH Cathy....we have more in common than I thought, I too would like to learn to weld! Love all the wool! I've never taken that leap into dyeing...yet. Not sure I will though. Wish I was near you, I'd take the class!
    Have a great day!

  2. So cool to see your new colors...and what a coincidence too. I set the dye pots on the stove today and I also dyed up some Ashes of Rose. Our wool looks very similar!! I dyed some Mysterious Green as well. My little stash is becoming more primitive by the moment. Wish I was close enough to take your class!

  3. Those greens are delightful! Makes me think of spring!!!
    All of your colors are working well together. Your students should have no problem chosing colors to finish a really great rug.
    Wish I lived nearby. I'd love to take your class just to enjoy the lovely wools you have prepared.

  4. Cathy,
    Your dyeing is simply scrumptous!!!! Great colors!!!! I also love the rug I see peeking out. Isn't that what they call "Cats Paw"? Just gorgeous.

    Do I remember reading you have not been hooking very long? You must have been a hooker in a past life, that's all I can say. Your work is just lovely.

    And then, there's that great studio. I want to come up!!!!! :-) I love your enthusiasm!

  5. I love the ashes of roses color. So old and dusty looking that is what I love. The green is beautiful also. If I lived close enough I would be coming to your classes.

  6. Thanks for the gorgeous eye candy....
    A welcome sight on a freezing winter day....
    Luscious lovely wool...

  7. OOoh luscious wools for sure - love them - I personally strive for prim and drab rugs but I tend to go with color myself - so I say I make "antique looking" rugs that look like they day they were made! Anyway - I'm in awe of your studio - Love it!

  8. Hi Cathy!

    You know, as much has I hook, I've just never done much dyeing... and I really need to. I love your pictures, and am inspired by all the gorgeous colors. I think one of my holdups is a very small kitchen. Love your studio. I'm working diligently on mine (you've been an inspiration there also).

  9. Everything looks great! Isn't dying fun? So happy for you and your students are going to love you. I'm with everyone else, if I were closer, I'd take your class too :)

  10. Oh I love the colors it just makes me want to dive in. I wish I were more comfident about dying. Good luck with your class

  11. Cathy ~
    Wow if all your blog friends lived closer to you, you'd have to rent an auditorium to hold the class. I know I'd be there!
    LOVE all the wools!!! I just gravitate toward the soft primitive colors. I'm in awe.
    Hugs :)

  12. I like your studio a lot! Great space to create! Good going on all that wool dyeing... that really is a keeper of a green!

  13. A tumble into the pots is such fun and you were very productive!!! Nice colours, even if they aren't your usual - sometimes it's good to stretch to someone else's palette.

  14. Luscious colors, Cathy. I'd take your class if I were out your way.

    i posted the names of the designer and the hooker of the snowman rug on my blog for you. Thanks for stopping by and stay warm!


  15. I agree with Lauren. If we all loved closer your class would be over-flowing. But then again we would probably all do more laughing and talking than hooking if we ever gathered together.
    Love your post title - You dye by eye and I BUY by eye!!

  16. Yes, I think we all would love to be in your class!
    Beautiful colors!

  17. How I would love to be there to take your class. I do dye my own wool, however it is alot more fun with a room full of fun loving ladies at hand! BTW Great studio, I am jealous!

  18. Your green wool is lovely! I love that shade and would completely keep it for myself if it was mine LOL!

  19. Your studio is to dye for! Oh my! I've been working through my bright colored wools and it won't be too long before I need to hit the dye pots as well....I love a good dyeing day!

  20. i do so wish that i was close inough to take one of your classes... *sigh*
    your wools look fabulous and i know your students will have a blast getting to use all the pretty colors!!


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