Thursday, August 10, 2006

[S]Oy Silk

The soy silk. OK, after spinning up the rest of the batch, I have to admit I like it better than I did at first spin. At first I really didn't like it at all. But last night after a good 30-45 minutes of sitting down with it it grew on me. I got to the point where I was in tune with the fiber and it was becoming the yarn it wanted to be.

In all it's fuzzy glory:

Now, I still don't love it, but I don't hate it anymore either. I love the pale cafe au lait color of it, I love the sheen, and I love the softness. I hate the squeeky feel of the fibers, the extremely short fiber staple length, and the fact that it gets overspun in a nano-sec. See how short the staple length is: about an inch or less for the actual length of the fibers.

This makes the roving fall apart if you breathe on it, and makes drafting an exercise in holding your hands really close together if you're drafting the fibers straight. I did find that if I drafted in a way that was closer to drafting from the fold, and holding the roving such that the fibers were coming into the drafting zone at an angle as opposed to straight from the roving I could get a longer draft. This also made a nicer single that was less prone to overtwist.

See the single:

Lessons learned: 1) DO NOT let the twist venture into the undrafted fibers. You will hate life.

See the skein:

2) Try to draft holding the roving to one side of the drafting zone and draft off the side of the roving for a longer draft length.

3) The balance between overtwist and undertwist with this fiber is a very fine line...learn where that line is!

4) Ply. The overtwisted parts of the single really evened out in plying. I don't think I'd like this yarn as a single at all.

5) Predrafting is totally unecessary with the roving I had. This was the first fiber I've spun where it was actually better not to predraft at all.

Final specs:
1.1 oz/31 g
12-14 wpi = worsted weight yarn
63 yards/57.5 meters

So. Final Verdict: I guess I'd spin this again. If I had no other fibers I liked better, if it was the only thing left in my stash, or (and this might come into play some day) if I really wanted to make a project with the finished yarn.

I actually like the finished yarn a lot. It doesn't have the squeek of the raw fibers, it is a beautiful color, is quite soft, and has a lovely sheen. But, would it be worth it to me to actually spin up enough of this for a large project? Or would I rather buy some commercial soy silk yarn? Hmmmmmm....Only time will tell.

Do let me know if you've spun the soy silk, and what your reactions/experiences with it were!


At 12:13 PM, Blogger Valerie said...

That looks great, especially since you had so much trouble at the beginning. I'll definitely look this up again if/when I spin it!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Bezzie said...

Eek! Look at how short that staple is! Holy guacas, that makes this newbie spindler quake in her sandals! but you did a great job with it!

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Cheesy Knit Wit said...

Though I have no desire to spin, at least right now in my life, you are an inspiration. You spin wonderfully!!!

At 1:30 PM, Blogger zibibbo said...

Thanks for the fiberly review!

I do dig the final yarn, the squeek would freak me out though!

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Sue, aka seiding said...

I spun some up a month or so ago. I had a rough time at first, but then settled on drafting from the fold. Then I got in the zone and really enjoyed it. Your finished yarn looks so nice. Isn't the sheen pretty?

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Jerry & Maxy said...

It is sooo purty. The sqeek would have scared me though.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

The yarn looks great, but that's not what I'm posting about.

Several times over the past few weeks Mr. SABLE has suggested that we need to go visit you. He's very jealous of your house and the land around. So, if one day you get a message that we're on our way, don't be too surprised.

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous rose said...

As ever, I'm impressed with your skill.

Something about spinning and then potentially wearing tofu creeps me out, though. Ah well.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger spinndiva said...

hmmm I thought about getting some soysilk ... but reading this I will go the other way and get flax instead...thanks for the review sarah!
nice looking yarn !!

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Taryn said...

i have a 100g bag of this ready to be spun, i've had aquick go and had the same 'fun' as you - sqeaky and easily over spun. but i love the finished result. I might have to give it another go after I finish the cashmere (DROOL) that I am working on at the moment. I also have some bamboo - man that stuff is worse than the soysilk, ick.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Zonda said...

Yikes, that is short fibers! (don't know anything about spinning but I can see that...hehe, maybe one day ;) It looks gorgeous though...I am amazed when I see handspun!

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous the kitchener bitch said...

It looks great - I'd have had no idea that you were having trouble with it. Thanks for the review and the advice!

At 9:46 AM, Blogger marni said...

Hi Sarah,

I took a spinning class with Patsy Z on spinning man-made fibers, and we covered soysilk. I really liked it in the class, we just spun an ounce or so, so I bought a pound....

My spinning wheel has been sitting idle with 1/4 lb. spun (finely though - that class was really good for me as a new spinner) for the last month. Boy does that stuff fly around! I thought you had to pre-draft everything! I did find that spinning from a "partial" fold worked well. So does using an apron!

I spun some on a hand spindle, and plied and knit it, and LOVED the fabric!

I do like using soysilk, the part of tofu that is wasted in the processing, good for the earth!

Just thought you would like my comments.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

Looks like all the trouble was worth it. The finished skein is lovely.


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