Haley: But this post isn’t about growing it. It’s about using woad as a colorant in soap.
Maggie: In order to do that, the blue pigment has to be extracted from the leaves. Do you know how to do that?
Haley: No, I don’t.
Maggie: Well, I do. I know how to grow it, extract the pigment and how to use it as a dye for fibers.
Haley: You’re a renaissance woman of woad, aren’t you?
Maggie: So this should be my post.
Haley: But you don’t know how to make soap. And this post is about soap. And making soap with woad.
Maggie: But I’m your best friend.
Haley: Don't start with the BFF stuff, Maggie. We’re mature women, not tweens with friendship bracelets.
Maggie: I didn’t say ‘BFF.’ You did. I said ‘best friend.’
Haley: Whatever. But this post is about making soap with woad. And it’s my post. In fact, it’s my blog.
Maggie: Sammy had a post.
Haley: About cozy mystery books. He’s the manager of Leaves of Grass. It makes sense.
Maggie: And I grow woad. And I extract it. And I dye yarn with it. In fact, I knit—
Haley: Enough. I don’t want to have to put a spoiler alert on this. You can have a post. Maybe one about how to make rosemary martinis. But this post is mine.
Maggie: Couldn’t we share it?
Haley: Looks like we already are.
Maggie: I could give some background info on woad and you can have you say about soap. OK?
Haley: OK. But nothing about Braveheart and the Britons using it as face paint. Most people know that already.
Maggie: That’s never been proven, but woad was a dying staple during the Middle Ages. Just look at the Unicorn Tapestries hanging in the Cloisters.
Haley: I love the Cloisters. Especially their herb garden.
Maggie: But woad isn’t just famous for being a dye. In Chinese medicine—Da Quing Ye as it’s called—has been used to treat the common cold, sinus infections, abscesses, psoriasis and even cancer.
Haley: I knew it had antiseptic properties, I love it for the color.
Maggie: Extracting that color is a big pain in the butt. It smells like a sewer.
Haley: Thank you for saving me from that. And thanks for giving me some of the pigment. It was easy to use in cold process soap. I just mixed some in a little almond oil and added it at trace. In the bars above, I started out using one teaspoon per pound of oils and got a very dark blue (the white swirl is from titanium dioxide). I thought they were too dark. Closer to black than blue and I was afraid there’d be blue lather.
Maggie: Blue lather might be kind of fun.
Haley: Most people don't like looking like Mel Gibson when they washed their face.
Maggie: It wouldn't stain your skin.
Haley: None the less, I embedded that batch in a new batch using ¼ teaspoon of woad per pound of oils. That was too light—they kind of glow. Last batch I used a ½ teaspoon and ended up with the faded denim color.
Maggie: I like the contrast. I’m glad you did three different versions.
Haley: I love to experiment. Especially with color.
Maggie: I wouldn’t know that by looking at your wardrobe.
Haley: I’ll ignore that. You know what my biggest challenge was with making woad soap?
Haley: Figuring out what essential oils to use a fragrance. After all, what scent goes with blue?
Haley: You get that from a fragrance oil, not an essential oil.
Maggie: So what did you end up using?
Maggie: What the hell is ravensara?
Haley: That will have to wait for another post.
Which essential oils do you think go with blue?