After I purchased the soy roving (also called faux silk roving), I wanted to make a sheet of it. As a papermaker, making a sheet of soy paper seemed a good first step. Following directions suggested by Traci and Rosaland, I bought both nylon net and tulle, created a soy sandwich, using textile medium, and let it dry.
- If you try this, get the roving wet, but not so wet that it makes puddles on your protective plastic sheet. It will take forever to dry.
- Nylon netting is easier to remove, but tulle doesn’t leave any netting marks.
- Do the wetting process on a plastic bag to contain the mess.
- Textile medium is sticky and doesn’t easily wash off your hands. Gloves are helpful.
I deliberately made a thin sheet, to avoid a felt-like texture. After it dried, I peeled off the nylon netting and tulle (two separate pieces) and looked at the result. It had a plastic feel, and a stiff hand. Frankly, as a first experiment, I wasn’t happy with the result. I’ll try it again, with more water to dilute the textile medium (I used half and half) and a thicker sheet. But the plasticky hand was off-putting for me.
I’m going to try to paint this sheet with Lumiere and inks to see what happens. I can also sew it onto a sparkly fabric background for more visual interest.
In the photo on the right, you can see the impression left by the nylon netting.
This disappears when you heat set it (between parchment papers).
What else can this soft, lovely fiber do? I pulled off thin strands and draped them on a watercolored sheet that I had painted with glue. I like this interesting effect, although it is still very rough. I could see this method working really well on fabric with over-stitching.
Next experiment: I can also see the “sandwich” being made from water-soluble fusible webbing instead of netting.
After the webbing is ironed in place, I’ll stitch over in free-form patterns. (OK, I have to learn to do that, too). Once the soy roving is stitched down, I can wash the webbing away. That should give me a more thread-like hand and still stiffen the material some.
The roving also comes in white, and I think using a lot of white and a little color would make a very interesting sheet.
Let me know if you’ve ever used this roving for something other than sheet-making.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist.