How to Make Soy Yarn

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How to Make Soy Yarn. The green movement is working to produce eco-friendly yarns which you can use to create traditional fabrics. Soy yarn is made from waste left after tofu is manufactured. Yarn production uses a closed end process that produces no waste. Soy yarn isn't new. In the 1930s, Henry Ford made seat covers from soy and was often seen wearing a soy suit and promoting soy-based fuel. Today, most soy yarn comes from China.

Things You'll Need

  • Wet-spinning machine
  • Tofu waste
  • Polymers
  • Spinneret
  • Fiber drier
  • Industrial spinning wheel
  • Industrial loom
  • Dye

Obtain production space and enough wet-spinning machines to make the amount you want. Find a reliable source for okara, the waste product that comes from making tofu, soy milk and soybean oil out of soybeans.

Remove liquid proteins from the okara using bioengineered polymers.

Use wet-spinning to force the liquid proteins through a spinneret, a machine that looks like a shower head, to produce liquid soy.

Dry the liquid soy to produce soybean fiber. The strands of soybean fiber can be spun or plied together with an industrial spinning wheel to make a ribbon-like yarn with a silky texture. They also can be spun with other fibers to obtain different textures.

Dye the soy yarn either before or after spinning or weaving. Weave the soy fabric on industrial looms.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Okara is considered a hazardous waste in the United States. By using it to manufacture soy fiber and high protein cattle-food, the waste is used instead of dumped. It saves money for soybean processors, and it reduces waste sent to landfills.
  • You can see yarns made from pure soy and soy blends on the South West Traders website. They also sell rovings for hand spinners to spin their own soy yarn.
  • Baby clothes made from eco-friendly soy fiber are sold on the Baby Soy USA website.

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