Today I decided just to dye wool because it has the best takeup of dye so far. I had read that it is a good idea to strain a henna dyebath before dyeing wool due to the possible existence of impurities in the henna dye.
I tried two recommended methods: a coffee filter and, as a substitute for cheesecloth, 4 layers of cotton gauze.
The coffee filter method is tedious and the filter gets full of henna powder pretty quickly. The gauze alternative ends up removing dyestuff from the bath. I think because the possible impurities are things like straw and twigs that a coffee filter or fine sieve is not appropriate. I did discover that my henna powder does not have anything extra in it and I probably could have skipped this step.
Fabric/fibre = merino prefelt and Merino Wool / Mulberry Silk blend sliver (87.5% / 12.5%) from World of Wool (see Materials tab)
Fabric preparation = none. Both were added to dyebath dry.
WOF = 60 grams
Liquid = 6 quarts tap water (softened) at room temperature
Dye = Henna powder (see Dyes, Additives and Mordants Tab for Henna Powder ) leftover from yesterday’s dyebath and the first day of henna dyeing which started with 55 grams of henna. With filtering, I estimate 1/3rd of the original amount was removed.
Mordants and Additives = none
Dyeing Container = non-reactive
Cook time = in covered pot, slowly warm to 195 Fahrenheit, hold for two hours stirring occasionally, remove from heat, let cool overnight, remove fibre and wash out. Total time in dyebath approximately 18 hours.
Wool prefelt is on the left and sliver is on the right. The prefelt is considerably lighter than my experiments for the two previous days. I really like the caramel colour.
I estimate the protein-based fabric and fibre dyed over the three days from a single dyebath at around 100 grams. This means, at 55 grams, I had considerably more henna powder in the first days’ dyebath than I needed. This is why I am still getting colour as I continue to use the bath.