It’s been a long time since I’ve done any Woad processing – or growing. Two years of drought wiped out my front yard patch. One of my fellow SoCal Handweavers guildmates gave me some starter plants that you see in the lower left.
Brown cotton seeds starting to come up. Cotton is always interesting to watch. The plant starts elbowing up and as the leaves open up they push off the seed casing.
And the Woad. Woad is not a desert plant. (Pause for a moment of duh.) It requires some extra care when weather is hot and dry. These two are surviving but look a bit raggedy here due to snacking by bugs. Moved them to a different corner and mixed up some insecticidal soap. Hoping for the best here.
I’ve used both Indigo and Woad in powdered form but never processed my own plants. Given my limited garden space it’s unlikely I’ll be able to grow enough for all my dye needs but I still like to grow as much as I’m able and understand the process a bit better.
First year woad plant. From what I’ve read Woad is a bi-annual plant. You get the dye from the first year leaves and your seeds the second year. And, that you can’t get dye the second year. I haven’t tested this out (yet) so anyone correct me if I’m wrong.
New Woad plants for next year.
Chopping and then stewing or steeping the Woad.
Mixing in the Ammonia to oxygenate.
Waiting around for the particles….(in my case about 3 days). Reading directions for Woad processing it can sound like you see particles settling in 15 minutes or an hour or two. In my case it was more like 3 days to a week. I posted to the Yahoo Woad group to see if I was doing anything incorrectly and got back very helpful replies. In some cases the particle settling phase takes a bit longer.
Finally..shadow on the bottom of the jar is Woad particles I’m waiting for. (Few days more)