Making and Knowing
A minimal edition of BnF Ms Fr 640 in English Translation

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Dyers’ woad

It is grown in Lauragais where the deep soil is so fertile that every year wheat was grown there, it would lie flat for being too vigorous. This is why dyers’ woad and wheat are grown there alternately. For cultivating dyers’ woad, the soil is ploughed with iron shovels, as gardeners do. Next, it is harrowed with rakes, & broken up finely as for sowing some kitchen herbs. It is commonly sown on Saint Anthony’s day in January. Eight harvests are made. The first ones are better. The best dyers’ woad of Lauragais is the one from Carmail & the one from Auragne. And sometimes the dyers’ woad is good in one field & in the one close by it will hardly have worth. The goodness of the dyers’ woad can be recognized when put in the mouth it gives the taste of vinegar, or when crumbling & breaking it, it has some mold—like veins which are as it were golden or silver. It is assayed in the dyers’ vat, and to fill a vat with it, six bales of it are needed. There several flocks of wool are dyed, and if it dyes fifteen times, it is said to be worth 15 florins, if it gives xx dyings, xx florins. The good kind dyes up to 30 times & commonly up to xxv or 26.