Leave a Comment

  • “….fully woaded…”
    Looks like a great day! A woad of fun, even!

    • Woad runner beep beep!

  • I want to woad! This post was the very best thing with my morning coffee.

  • Wow – what great service for a “woad tutorial!” I’ve been scouring the internet and learning more than I probably need to know to do this! I’m totally in and will do this soon to take advantage of the great “dying and drying” weather we have! I’m amazed at the eveness of the color…I thought the end results may be streaked – but not at all! What a bonus for an already perfect week with Natalie! Now on to the hunt for some great vintage linen and cotton…so much fun! Thank you so much!!!

    • Maureen,

      Some things came out so even on the first dip that I was tempted not to dip them again. It may have helped that the vats were so large? But Denise recommended that we dip twice at a minimum, for even coverage.

      It has been a while since I dyed with indigo but I remember that there was a big difference between the wet color and the dry color, which could be kind of disappointing if you stopped dipping too soon. I found the woad to be very similar in color both wet and dry. It did lighten when dry, but it was not a dramatic difference.

      I also do not think you can get as dark, ultimately, with woad as with indigo. I actually love the black cast that indigo gets when you dip and redip many many times for a very dark blue. But I cannot say for sure because I tended to stop when it got to a rich medium blue. It just seemed like the color that it wanted to be.

  • It looks to me like “Royal Blue.” Must be where they got that color name, if it was reserved for the Kings.

  • Dear Kay, I loved following every aspect of your trip to Château Dumas. It looked to be so much creative fun with friends — an ideal week if you ask me. I’m especially enthralled with the woad dying. So interesting. Inspired by you, I went online and ordered indigo dye and now, because of you, I’m walking around the house looking for things that would look good in blue. You may have gotten me off of mitered squares and cork boards for awhile!

    • Happy to lead you astray! Indigo is amazing.

  • I love woad! The blue is different from indigo, just as you say. I grew some in my suburban Maryland yard a few summers ago and got a small vat. If I had been confronted with those big vats, my entire wardrobe would be blue.What fun. Very envious of your trip-sounds wonderful.

  • I can’t wait to get my hands in this! I’m enthralled by the evenness and desirous of the large vats….
    Thank you for all of the fun facts, too.

  • This was some of the more intriguing part of your IG while you were away. What a great adventure you’ve shared with us. Thanks for taking us along. Now to contemplate how much of my wardrobe could be woaded before people would notice.

  • So funny: your “Woad Scholar” subject line was right above my Road Scholar payment confirmation for my upcoming trip to Cuba. For half a second I thought, wait, are they going to Cuba too? Cognitive dissonance of some type. Fun post! I would have dyed everything in sight too.

  • I have some woad seeds. Perhaps I can start an industry. Is it legal in New York? I don’t want to go down for dealing woad buds.

    • I’ll defend you Martha!

  • I loved reading about your woad dying. I was curious about woad when I saw your IG posts. And now, how exciting to read about it. Now, I want to find some woad and dye a bunch of clothes.

  • Love the woad. Such a nice post, that looks like so much fun. Those blues. I need a woad vat.

    Maiwa Supply is a good source for powdered woad in North America. They also have a free guide for organic indigo vats (either indigo or woad). Richters herbs sells woad seed, there is also a dye plant seed swap on the Ravelry natural dyers’ group.

    A Dyers Garden by Rita Buchanan has a good method for dyeing with fresh woad (or Japanese Indigo or true indigo).

    le Pastel en pays d’oc by Sandrine Banessy is great book on the history and current revival of woad in France.

    I won’t say who may have a few pairs of woad dyed CK underpants. (Plus yarn, tshirts, napkins, a shirt or two…)


    • Trevor,
      Thanks for this information. I should have mentioned that in French, woad is called “pastel.” Denise has done workshops in the US with Maiwa. Ann and I met the Maiwa ladies at Shakerag Workshops in 2015. It’s a small, colorful world.

    • P.S. Each gradient shade of woad has a name. The palest pearly silver blue is Bleu Naissant to the deepest Bleu d’ Enfer.


  • I have been reading The Modern Natural Dyer this summer and your summer of woad looks like Heaven!
    Such beautiful color!!!!!!

  • Beautiful! Thanks for this post!

  • Oh, woad is me! Please say you dyed some yarn, too! xoc

    • I was wondering about yarn also. How I would love to get my hands (well maybe the broomstick) into a vat of woad. Wonderful!

  • Gosh, that looks like a lot of fun. Blue is my favorite color, so I suspect I would have done the same as you and dyed everything I had with me.

    Woad immediately made me think of the book “Gathering Blue” (it’s a YA book that’s sort of the sequel to “The Giver”). It’s a lovely book, but there’s an awful lot in it about natural dyeing, and blue from woad is exceptionally rare and prized.

  • #love

  • I’m not usually a blue fan (I’m an “autumn” person. Remember having your colors done way-back-when?), but all this indigo and woad talk has won me over. Not the least of which is because it is just plain magic. Also, I have started a conversation with friends to plan our own get-away for a week in France sometime in the future. Thanks so much Kay for giving me a new thing to obsess about!

    • I think color analysis (to identify if one is a winter, spring, summer, fall) was to ascertain what shade (intensity) of any color would suit the individual. So (if that is correct) there would be some kind of blue for an autumn.

  • Totally cool. Thanks for sharing the info.

  • Gorgeous blues.

    Your poem could be “The Woad Taken.”

  • I love the color. I looked up woad, and in my state it is considered a noxious weed, so no planting of it is allowed here..

  • Jealous, jealous, jealous.

  • last photo is stunning! thanks for letting us be there vicariously!

  • Woad in France AND an Alabama Chanin workshop? You hedonist you! I am so jealous!

  • Thanks for my Saturday morning armchair adventure. The different shades are simply beautiful.

  • Great post, Kay! Also, I am so glad that you went on this vacation and enjoyed crafts you love with friends you love.

    • P.S. — Wild how you dipped your “old striped Euroflax pullover”! Love it.

  • I’m feeling faint with envy. In my mind that color is known as French Blue—perhaps because of the shutters. The early Brits (and Mel Gibson) used it as war paint. Thanks to Trevor, I’m going to order some.

  • I would have found those large vats irresistible too. Wowza! My botanical dyeing experiments are usually on the kettle scale. Now I’m looking at my 10′ trough and wondering how hard it would be to plug the drain holes in the bottom.
    And your sweater looks fabulous – those tones! Does it go perfectly with your new skirt? How in the world are you going to choose what to wear to Rhinebeck this year, Kay?

  • Thank you for such a great post!! I’ve been waiting since I saw the pictures on Instagram. What a fabulous vacation.

  • Lovely, lovely blues! But all this time I thought woad was easier to dye with than indigo, but apparently not with all the fermentation and the dipping and whatnot. Still lovely results and great photos. Thanks for sharing!

  • Chateau Dumas, indigo and woad…just left and will be back! I agree with you on the luminous nature of woad and I, too, now have many blue things!

  • Ha! Woad scholars.

  • How absolutely lovely. I’m blue with envy. You had a woad of fun and I wish I was there. Thanks for letting me live vicariously. Now I have a new area of knowledge to research.

  • Swoony! I want to dye a load of woad.

  • Hmmm – so you’re saying that these linens have been woad hard and hung up wet?
    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Great story, as usual.

  • A perfect day and I’m ready to do it again. I wore my woad shirt and Tee all over Paris. Oh, and my woad handbag. ps; thanks for inspiring me to give my bag her woad bath. She’s so pretty.

  • I still love this post and it continues to inspire me years later as I contemplate what to do with my plot of indigo plants!