Author Archives: Eleni Bantra

Blue Project Digital Collection ELENI BANTRA

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Dying with woad

Identification of Fibres

Fibres need to be washed well to remove the lanolin, and soaked in clean water before being added to the dye bath.

Woad leaf

For a 1 gallon dye vat, tear 250g of fresh woad leaved into small pieces and put them into the dye pot, until a cherry colour appears.

1 gallon dye vat with 250g of fresh woad leaves


Strain it and allow it to cool to 50c. It must not be hotter.


Washing soda


Add some washing soda to hot water and dissolve it.

Adding washing soda to the pan


Add the dissolved washing soda to the vat to turn it to a greeny brown colour.



To check the colour, the pH should be between 9 and 10.

Blue bubbles


Whisk the  liquid until blue bubbles form on the  surface. It usually takes 10 minutes.

Heat back


Heat back to 50c.

Sodium Dithionite


Sprinkle on about 1 tablespoon of colour run remover (sodium dithionite Na2S2O4) over the liquid. WEAR A MASK.

Heat off


Take off the heat, cover and allow to stand for about 45 minutes, until the liquid has turned a yellowy green colour. DON’T STIR – will introduce more oxygen and it won’t work.

Soaked yarn


When it is ready, place gently the  soaked yarn into the vat and leave for approximately 20 minutes.

Remove fibres


Remove the fibres very gently without dripping into the vat.

Clear water


Plunge them into a bowl of clear water and then lift them up and expose them to the air.

Blue colour


The yellowy green colour should change to a beautiful blue.

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