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Woad - growing, harvesting and dyeing  RSS feed

 
Posts: 6841
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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r ranson wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:I know you're not interested in using facebook but there are some interesting groups there discussing natural dyes.  One is devoted to indigo vats and covers woad also...another I am learning a lot from has to do with lichens and mushroom dyeing and the third is natural dye ferments.

All three have active real time problem solving discussions and are quite helpful.....natural dye nerds!!!



Any chance you could convince some of your woad friends to pop in here?

Failed again.  

We're on water conservation measures now, so I will probably make most of the rest of the plants into woad balls.  

But I still want to make one successful vat this year.  

Too much medicine in our diet for a urine vat.  

Maybe something else?




I left a post there and a link to this thread...maybe someone will pop in?

I did read the instructions you linked to and wondered if there's a difference between the soda ash called for and the lye you mentioned using?  

I've read too much now, but somewhere, I saw that if the lime is added before the liquid has cooled enough you will lose the blue pigment?  I don't think I made that up..........
 
Judith Browning
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Here was the response and a few additional comments I ran across that might be helpful....

from Brittney the admin of the group Indigo Pigment Extraction Methods

You’re welcome to share anything here, there and vice versa



after reading the method you are using in the link I provided she says...

Soda ash is most likely her problem. It takes weeks to settle. Recommend that she reads the Fibershed article I link in my announcement post.

 (I'm guessing you've already read the fibershed article)

And that she switches to lime (the short answer;)



and a short discussion about lye/soda ash that I ran across. (because you mentioned using 'lye' rather than the soda ash called for in the instructions?)

...a query  

I have tried lye, since I have that on hand and knew it did not produce the sediment. The problem I had is that it took much longer to precipitate - almost like when I used no alkali at all. Can you shed any light on this?


...and the response

Lye (sodium hydroxide) is a very strong alkali and will take the pH well over 11.5 with very little lye added. I suspect that this was keeping the dissolved indigo in solution by rotting the vegetal material as a more aggressive reduction process. That would suggest, as always, manage the pH.



There are so many tidbits and extended informative conversations going on in this group I wish you could find a comfortable way to join?  I think one can have a facebook account and not go public necessarily...just set things as 'private'.  You don't even have to have a photo or give out any information... not even use your real name, although like here I think it has to sound real.

No one from that group has offered to come here yet but Brittney was very helpful and I think has her hands full as admin.
I have linked to this post and mentioned the other active dye and fiber threads so maybe there will still be some interest...
 
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I wandered around a couple of counties in E.  Oregon that are supposed to have the invasive woad problem while camping, but I couldn't find any.  I think it sometimes takes a while to get used to the regular plants in an area, then after awhile, you can pick out your intended foraged target.  I am sure that eventually I will find it. I might try to grow it meanwhile from seeds.  We have very acidic natural soil here, and it likes neutral to alkali soils.  
John S
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Thank you.  This is very helpful.  I'll give it one more try.  

I don't have soda ash, but I did have success making blue power last year with washing soda.  I'll give that a go.
 
Judith Browning
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r ranson wrote:Thank you.  This is very helpful.  I'll give it one more try.  

I don't have soda ash, but I did have success making blue power last year with washing soda.  I'll give that a go.



Other's there have used pickling lime (calcium hydroxide) but I wouldn't know the amount.



 
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Location: Rocky Mountains, USA
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Yes, a very, VERY invasive species here in the Rocky Mountains, to the point where not getting rid of it can get you fined!

Besides that, it seems to have some interesting history:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isatis_tinctoria

Turns out it was used as a skin dye/tattooing agent by warriors of certain ancient Scotch and Irish tribes (the Picts).


Also, even some of the cloths found with Egyptian mummies were dyed with it!
 
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All this discussion of woad as a dye for fabric, and it took until K Eilander above to mention that Celtic tribes also used it to dye faces:

16003087_1532603420091032_479887890335547543_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 16003087_1532603420091032_479887890335547543_n.jpg]
 
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Hello Woad Lovers!
I am a medical student conducting a novel innovative research project alongside the textile design program at my university where we are attempting to use invasive plants for potential dye and fiber uses. In my preliminary research I have come across a lot of info on woad, but unfortunately I do not have the time to grow a plant in my lab. Is there any way that one or some of you could space some woad from your garden or local woad source that I could use for my research? My research team and I would love to try to begin working with woad as a jumping point for the invasive species we are testing for our area. Time is of the essence, so please reach out to me if you think you could help!
 
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