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Soy silk roving - part one

I've been fantasizing for some time about what all could be done with needle felting, to create a beautiful background for bead embroidery.  Recently when I was checking out some online sources for roving and needle felting supplies, I came across a fabulous material called soy silk roving.  Talk about the ultimate in recycling!  Soy silk is a fiber that is extruded from the waste products of tofu manufacturing.  It looks like silk, feels like silk, and behaves somewhat like silk.  It supposedly can be used in needle felting, and that's what I wanted to experiment with first.

I bought a couple of hanks of soy silk roving from eXtremespinning on etsy. 

Beginning to needle felt at the top

I have to tell you right upfront that although I am in love with soy silk roving, I am not in love with the look of it when it is needle felted.  It looses all its luster, and there really doesn't seem to be much point in working with it instead of with wool roving.  Plus, it doesn't needle felt as easily.  I had to try several different background fabrics before I found one that worked really well.  Lutradur, thankyouverymuch!  Since then, I've learned that wool "pre-felts" might work well too, but they are very very thin and flimsey, and besides...I didn't have any!  Lutradur was almost perfect: it's stiff enough to hold up to future beadwork, and it tangled the fibers well enough that they didn't pull right back out.

Still, I'm not satisfied, and so I'm not finished with the experiments.

All the posts of working with soy silk roving:
Part one
Part two
Part three

Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


*jean* said…
you might be happier with making silk paper with and then beading it...there are 2 really good videos on you tube on how to make silk "paper" - i was much happier with this than with needle felting it...
Cyndi L said…
That's exactly what I started doing! Silk paper or silk rocks :-) I'll be showing the experiments over the next couple of weeks.
KathyB said…
I've never heard of soy silk roving, but new products always invite experimentation. Thanks for the introduction. I'll be watching for more 'soy silk' posts from you. I think there must be ways to use it so that the sheen and silkiness remain, ... maybe in small bundles- couched? I'll definitely try this now in my fiber collage.
Soy silk? I never heard of it. I'm waiting for you to discover something it really shines in. I know you will, Cyndi!
Tammy said…
I've never heard of this either. I love the texture that it has though.