As its summer here in Australia and the beach is usually the number 1 destination for a lot of Aussies living on the coast, I thought I would make some raffia bags perfect for the beach, or shopping or just cruising around town. You can also crochet hats, placemats, glass holders and mobile phone cases with raffia.
Raffia is traditionally made from the Palmyria palm which is native to Madagascar. However, this type of raffia is only usually available in 1-2 metres in length and can be really tough. Therefore, for crocheting it is in my opinion not a great option. I did my research online and decided on raffia made from wood fibre. This raffia is easy to use, is vegan, biodegradable and water-repellent and dries quickly. I found that Wool and the Gang raffia is just amazing. Its light, and very easy to crochet with. I also use raffia made of the same wood fibre from The Raffia Connection and while I love the colours of the raffia it is a little tougher to crochet with. I use it for the clutches which are smaller and therefore easier to manage.
One great tip I have learned is when making large tote bags that steam ironing the bag as you go makes the bag look better. I use a low setting and just gently steam the bag. If it gets wet, don’t panic as it dries relatively quickly but its best to leave it to dry first before you continue crocheting.
I started my raffia journey with a simple black clutch which is available on my website. As I love bright colours, I then made the fuchsia clutch and am in the process of making more bright coloured clutches. The newest clutches I have added zippers and also created different sizes. I have not much sewing ability but found that hand sewing the zip was not too difficult but does take time. The instructions I found only suggested sewing the zip once around the bag. I decided to ensure that the zip was secure enough I then undid the zip pulled the bag inside out and did another row of stiches along the bottom of the zip to the bag.
Once you have found the type of raffia you are comfortable with and crochet’s easily than whipping a few clutches or tote bag is relatively quick. If you don’t want to spend time sewing in a zipper than making a clutch that folds over and just attaching a magnet clasp is a great alternative and looks really great.
I will be definitely continuing to use raffia and it’s a great alternative to traditional yarn especially in the warmer months of the year.
Happy Hooking, crochet groovers!