I know, I’m easily excited, and I shouldn’t shout at people who are kind enough to read this blog, but WOAD! I hang about on a couple of natural dyeing boards on Ravelry and I think it was there I saw a link to this resource about dyeing with woad–entirely graspable (apart from the absence of a reducing agent). And in metric, always a plus. A couple of other Australians were chatting on Ravelry about when to use your woad–and that had me thinking now was the time to do it. So. Here are my two plants (before).
There has had to be some explanation about this not being a salad green, which ought to be a clue about the variety of salad greens we grow here.
I had a lucky find behind the woad… the last of the cherry tomatoes.
There was more woad than I thought. And for anyone who has been wondering, I now know where the snails live and prefer to breed. Which confirms my opinion that the trouble I have had growing woad from seed might be due to its being utterly delectable to snails and slugs and every passing nibbler.
This is the harvest! For anyone else who has been wondering why some of the silverbeet hasn’t been thriving, another duh! Moment in the vegie patch. Those are white beetroot. I don’t remember planting them, but more than happy to eat them in any case…
Chopped woad leaves. Three litres of chopped woad leaves. A lot of care was taken to ensure no snail was wounded at this stage.
Into the boiling water.
Straining through four layers of cloth.
Measuring the hot liquid (about 2 3/4litres)–and a pinky-browny colour.
The first few locks of wool went in and ten minutes later–that isn’t blue?!
After a second quantity of wool which also came out mauve, another batch came out still silver-white. I decided to try a smidge more ammonia, and out came some pale blue.
I can’t say this is earth shaking colour, but it is colour, and it is a colour I don’t usually get from the garden, and it isn’t as crushing as the total incompetence and series of accidents I’ve had going with austral indigo. It’s enough of a success to make me think I should try again. Let it be said that having a much larger quantity of leaves has to be an asset, because while woad reputedly has a low yield of indigo, so does austral indigo and its leaves are much smaller. The austral indigo drops a lot of laves at this time of year and… I think I will just let it be this year!