Last year I tried my hand at growing some woad and only got one plant. From that I dyed some yarn with it, that yarn came out a light blue.
This year I planted more woad and was successful with it and got five strong plants. With that I also planted Chinese woad which did not grow not as large as the English woad put still useable.
So I thought that it would be fun to do a caparison with last years and this years to see the differences. To recap last year I sun dyed and only used the leaves from one plant. This year I used the leaves from five plants and a small amount of Chinese woad. Lets see what the differences may be.
I wasn’t able to sun dye this year it was just to cloudy and with it becoming later in the season. I didn’t want to risk getting a freeze before I was able to make the dye. So this year I made the dye inside with about a hundred twenty degree water or so and left it set for a couple of hours.
I never figured out the weight of woad I was using I just filled a quart jar tight with leaves. to the point water wasn’t getting in there. If I had to give a guess I would say there was close to a pound of fresh leaves. Do understand that I am only taking a guess at that.
I had to use a gallon jar this year since there was just so much more dye to the point of having two thirds of a gallon this year, compared to one quart of dye last year. This years dye in the first stage was a very dark burgundy. That it looked black in the jar I was using to measure with. Last year it was a burgundy color that was translucent, not that case this year.
I used the gallon jar to add the are into the dye to change it to blue indigo or I guess in this case blue woad. I transferred it back to the quart jar for a picture. The interesting thing is that both this year and last year after adding the air into, it turned it to a very dark green. so dark it looked black. With a foamy bear head from the small amount of detergent which helps the woad to penetrate the wool. ( If you look at both pictures above you maybe able to see the above right is burgundy and the lower left is a blue green color, both very dark but still a definite color difference.)
Last year I had Spectralite which I still have but since it is more then a year old, it most likely won’t work since the shelf life is only one year. So to play it safe I got some Rit color remover to remove the oxygen from the vat(the active ingredient in this is Spectralite). Last years dye turned a neon yellow very bright and almost blinding. I will say that I thought I did something wrong, since I thought it way going to be a green color not yellow. So of course I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. Which of course was nothing.
This years took a little longer to turn back into white woad but it worked and again it turned a yellow so I guess that's the color its supposed to be. Sorry for the poor picture of this point, the jar isn’t clear and wasn’t showing up properly. So I decided to take a pick from top down manly bubbles but a small area of the dye itself.
Now the fun was going to begin because with all that woad I should have a good dark color, or at least thats my hope. Last year the yarn came out a neon yellow, but turned green then to blue. With this picture you can even see a small amount of blue at the right. The color didn’t fully develop until it was out for a minute or two.
This year the yarn came out not so neon but defiantly yellow. Again it took a minute or two to become developed. There's the yellow to green, it’s hard to see any of the blue in the sing but it is there starting to turn.
The last comparison is the final color last year a very pretty light blue, not an ugly color at all, just light. I was fine with that, I would have like to have a darker color but at least I got blue. The two skeins to the left are cotton and linen. The light blue on the right is wool which is what I dyed this year. So did I get a darker color this year or was I disappointed. For you to find out just look below and see for your self.
Yes I did get a very nice medium blue, which is very pretty. If you would like to read the inn's and outs of how I did this last year just lookup woad in last years list and you can read all about it.