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 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!!


  1. Thanks for the tip about not starting/ending at the corner because that's exactly what I would have done! This is definitely one to print out, and I love the look of a log cabin square and will be making one soon.

  2. Thanks for the lessons. I keep thinking that I can hook a rug, and then I go over some tutorials and think "I can't do this right". When I finally start
    a hooking project you'll probably hear me yelling for help.

  3. Hi Cathy,
    You really make it look so easy!! I just wish I had you here at my side, guiding me each step and pull!! I love log cabin designs and yours are wonderful!! One of these days I AM going to learn!!
    Thanks for sharing your great skills and tips!!

  4. Wish I was closer cause I love to prim hook but haven't picked it up in awhile. Love that pattern!

  5. I'm glad you have students signing up for this as it is going to be a great class! You're a wonderful teacher.... and I thank you for teaching about the corner trick for log cabin squares this morning! :-)

  6. Cathy ~
    So happy to hear your class is a go this time around!
    Thanks for the tips on hooking a log cabin square. I'll have to try it one of these days.
    Hugs :)

  7. I'm excited that your class is up and running and what a great mat to hook! I'm glad you included all the tips...I still have much to learn. I love this pattern...have always loved it as a quilt and now as a hooked rug!

  8. Good Job Cathy!! Hope your class fills up the rest of the way :)

  9. If I lived close I'd be in your class. Thank you for the tutorial! I'm hooking my first rug now-a kit I bought in the 90's! I think my next investment needs to be a lap frame. I've been using a quilting hoop (I'm a quilter) and I find it awkward and now that the rug is 1/2 done really hard to keep it taut.

  10. Cathy, I would have framed the square and done the red center and continue filling in like you did.

    Gene Shepherd, move over... Thanks for the tutorial Cathy . It is so well done. I like the fact that you have shown the two methods and we can see the different results. It's also very easy to understand . I'm a visual learner. YOU'RE A GREAT TEACHER. Congratulations on having 5 students already. JB

  11. Thanks for sharing your test...I've got to get my rug hooking back out. Have a great day! ~Ronda

  12. Way to go on the "testing". Both look great! I think with hooking - guidelines are good to start then let it roll after that - no rules!

  13. I love it: "because I am the teacher and I said so." Thanks for my morning smile, Cathy. You crack me up.


  14. Great tips Cathy! I have wanted to do a log cabin rug for years but haven't yet. Your tips will really help when I do.
    So happy you have so many signed up for your class. Hope you get a few more yet. Hugs, Lori

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