Woooooad *Said in best Joey Lawrence voice*

Woad 3

Yeah, I went there. Yes, that’s the direction this post is going in 🙂

Woad 1

Not the best pics, as it was super windy & chilly this morning. Also, I’m letting you in on how bad the weeds have already gotten 😦

The blue dye is actually produced from the leaves of the plant. Sadly, we had to snip the lovely flowers off this morning, however the scent is now permeating my house with a soft, yet sharp lilac aroma.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the process from http://www.woad.org.uk/html/extraction.html:

1. Harvest about 44 ounces woad leaves, rinse and tear into smaller pieces.

2. Steep the woad in just under boiling water for 10 minutes. Soft water, such as rain water is best.

3. Cool the woad by removing the pot to a sink filled with ice water. It is important that it cools quickly.

4. Strain and press the leaves, pouring the liquid back into the pot, reserving the left over debris. Compost the leaves.

5. Fill a mug with boiling water and add 3 teaspoons of soda ash. Dissolve well and cool to about 120F, any higher and you will destroy the blue. The vat will turn a green-brown color.

6.  Whisk for 10 minutes until the froth turns blue, and then green again. Discard the froth. The solution should be dark green again.

7. Let the pigment settle 2-3 hours, then gently remove the top third of liquid from the pot.

8. Pour the remaining liquid into mason jars and allow to settle for 2-3 more hours in a shady place.

9. Use a glass siphon, sold as a turkey baster, to siphon most of the unwanted liquid away from the pigment at the bottom of the jars. Consolidate the pigment into one jar.

10. You should still have some liquid on top of your pigment. Siphon this away and fill with clean water. Do this 2 or 3 times until the water stays clear.

11. Pour the solution through a filter such as fine silk, and allow the liquid to drip away. This takes about 24 hours. You should be left with pigment drying on the silk. When completely dry, gently scrape away with a blunt knife and store in a glass container.

Your woad is now ready to be used. More on that soon!

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