2 days of chemistry, that I was very much looking forward too. I hadn’t dyed with woad for some time - actually 2005 when I looked it up. This year 3 plants germinated, low germination rate but they grew well and have grown brilliantly since being put out in the garden.
I thought it was about time to do some dyeing with them. The first day was a long day as I needed to find some suitable yarn, make up skeins etc. I knew the method I was going to follow, having read endless books about it. I worked on one of Jill Godwin’s methods, and scaled it down to something I thought realistic as a trial. It was a long day and the skeins were very pale. Initially I was only dyeing one 5g skein so overload of the Vat was not the problem. I couldn’t see anything was amiss, I got an amazing dark ‘sherry’ colour when I had squeezed the woad out as hard as I could.
I read the books again , Cardon (1) as usual being the best for confirming the process and explaining why each stage is needed.
Not enough dye material I thought so I increased that the second day by about seven times! The result is better, whether it is 7 times deeper in the scale of woad depth is questionable.
It is incredibly hard to get the tones spot on in a photo!
I am pleased the dyeing is so even. (2)
I can imagine any of the colours in delicate Shetland shawls but to be honest I would rather dye with indigo where I feel I am in control of the colour and spend the other day and a half knitting, working on a fine lace shawl, whether it be spinning or knitting. I am very much a natural dyer but, and I know this will upset some, woad is my least favourite dye. I know why it is 15 years since I nurtured the plants, extracted the dye and dyed with woad.
- By ‘Cardon’ I mean Natural Dyes by Dominique Cardon. Often copied by other dye books and Natural Dyers, not all who give credit to her!
- The white flecks in some of the yarn are in a yarn labelled as 70% lambswool 20% angora 10% nylon. I think the nylon must be another man made fibre as nylon should dye as wool. It reminds me of the silk, which turned out not to be silk when I got the microscope on the fibres. (post of 1June20) Is this poor labelling (the polite way to put it) common in mixed yarns?