Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Woad to a Sustainable Blue -- The Project

The homeschool student is still working on the woad project -- Phase 5 this year. In Phase 4 she tested her hand hybridized woad strain for indigo yield in our Canadian zone 3 climate. She is getting better indigo yields than the commercial woad production in Europe with a higher purity.

Last Spring, the student won two silver medals at the National Science Fair in Winnipeg, coming in second to the platinum medal intermediate project. However, due to the nature of regional science fair competitions run by public school teachers, the homeschooled student decided not to compete at the regional science fair this year. Instead she is quietly continuing to work on her results, improving her indigo yields and her growing and extracting methods in the hopes of publishing her findings in a book, for the benefit of the fiber arts community.

This week she harvested the leaves from 3 year old woad plants -- before pulling them out of the garden. The 3 year old leaves yielded a nice sky blue colour at 1 kg. of leaves per 100 grams of wool/mohair yarn. Not bad for a biennial that only yields blue in the first year leaves!

Two significant figures in woad research passed away in the last 12 months -- John Edmonds, (The History of Woad and the Medieval Woad Vat) and  Henri Lambert from Toulouse's Bleu deLectoure.  Will the next generation take up the quest on the Woad to a Sustainable Blue?

1 comment:

  1. Chris,

    I know I read somewhere that Sarah had seeds for sale. Can you post the details?