Friday, November 18, 2005

Soya far - soya good!

Spinning soya? Surely that's like weaving yogurt! I was pretty sceptical when I read about soya bean fibre. However, when I 'squished' a ball of South West Trading Soy Silk in my local yarn shop and felt how soft and silky it was I decided there might be something in it. I ordered a small bag of fibres from Ebay and waited with interest.

It arrived, looking like a bag of sausage skins and I put it in my 'to do basket'. My plan was to spin it semi-fine, ply it with some Shetland from my 'girls' and make it into socks. Soya has antibacterial properties, making it an ideal sock fibre, especially for people who suffer from stinky feet. I decided to fish it out of my 'to do basket' the other day. Imagine my surprise as I realised that my 'to do' basket had gradually grown into a 'to do room' and I needed a rope, some crampons and a Davy lamp just to reach the soya. Reach it I did and I set my wheel up ready to spin some sexy soya silk. Its appearance as a soft and pliable fibre was deceptive and I really struggled with the fibres as they stuck together and fought the spinning process. A scream of help to my friends at the Yahoo group and I was told by others who had tried it that it wasn't me being inept, that soya won't spin like wool. Through a combination of techniques I managed to find a way to get it to behave. I found that I had to split the rovings into shorter lengths than I would for wool and that the resulting fibres spun better if they were fluffed out a bit.

So, that was it and we were away. I've 3/4 filled a bobbin now and am looking forward to spinning the Shetland to go with it. One of the bonuses of tackling something that tricky is whatever I spin afterwards seems like a doddle! If you look at the picture of the finished soya 'silk' you can see how I struggled with it at the beginning and how it gradually became finer as I got the hang of it.


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