Hop on Summer’s Hottest Trend: 7 Projects to Try with Raffia
This summer’s biggest trends are fantastic accessories and home décor items made with natural-colored, plant-based fibers: straw bags, raffia totes, sisal rugs, and jute wall hangings, to name a few. All of you clever crocheters can take advantage of this popularity by crocheting your own bag/tote/rug and replacing yarn with this trendy twine. Here are 7 projects to try if you want to experiment with fibers this summer.
1. Martha’s Vineyard Tote Bag
This bag is perfectly on trend this summer. It was designed specifically for crocheting with raffia, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting hook size or gauge. If you’d like to save time looking for raffia, bag handles, and a button fastening, try our kit. Everything you need (besides the crochet hook) is included. This has been the favorite project at the Interweave offices this summer! Check out cool ways to add yarn decoration to this bag or the many ways the Crochet Corner has been taking advantage of the tote this summer! The pattern for this tote is in Love of Crochet Summer 2017 and is designed by Anne Potter.
2. Blooming Rug
A jute rug is the perfect outdoor item. Leave it on your porch for a trendy warm-weather accessory. The pattern for the Blooming Rug was designed for bulky yarn, so it will align nicely with a chunkier jute (found easily at craft or home improvement stores). Remember that using a different material than what was originally called for might alter this pattern a little, so the finished project might be a slightly different size than the listed 55 inches in diameter. Find this pattern, designed by Vicki Brown, in Interweave Crochet Home 2015.
3. Basket Cases
If you need some storage containers to accompany your trendy jute rug, try the Basket Cases from Crochetscene 2017 designed by Meredith Crawford. If you would like to keep the trendy color-blocking part of these baskets, combine hemp or raffia with yarn and crochet the 2 strands together: this gives a hint of the plant-based twine trend but also lets you play with the many fun colors of yarn we know you have on hand. I combined jute twine with white- and rust-colored yarn for the Basket Cases in my craft room.
4. Mesh Bags
Crochetscene 2015 features DIY Mesh Bags designed by Jennifer E. Ryan. Try using raffia or jute to make the Backpack Tote, the Beach Tote, or the Water Bottle Cozy—these strong plant-based fibers will make the bags even more durable. Just remember these projects were made with DK-weight yarn, so you’ll need to use a thin jute cord if you want the sizes of the bags to match the finished dimensions listed.
5. DIY Mandala Wall Hanging Kit
The DIY Mandala Wall Hanging Kit includes the book Modern Crochet Mandalas, the Spring 2017 issue of Love of Crochet, and a set of wooden embroidery hoops. Try making the wall hanging with all different kinds of plant-based fibers; many have a lovely natural coloring that pairs well with the wooden embroidery hoops. Raffia, hemp, jute, and sisal are all good fibers to try. Use this kit as an opportunity to experiment with the different textures and sizes of these fibers.
6. Home Grown Plant Cozy
The Home Grown Plant Cozy from Crochetscene 2017 was designed by Vickie Howell using a super-bulky T-shirt yarn. If you want to experiment with another fun fiber, try a jute cord for this project. The jute is so durable, you could use it to hang plants outside. Any spilled dirt or water from your plants will blend right in and be far less noticeable than on a cozy made from colorful yarn or a T-shirt-based fiber.
7. Moroccan Pouffe
Try making a floor poof with jute or raffia! The neutral colors of these leaf-based fibers are super trendy in home décor and could even work well outside! I made the Moroccan Pouffe from Supersize Crochet with jute cord for the Supersize Crochet blog hop, and there are lots of other fun poof patterns out there: try the finger crocheted poof from Crochetscene 2017 (Lofty Poof by Anne Weil) or the Large Crochet Pouf by Annemarie Bentham from Crochet to Calm. You can’t go wrong with a giant crochet poof!
Crocheting with these fibers can be a bit tricky. They are difficult to manipulate, so you may find your arm or neck hurting after a marathon crochet session. Remember to take frequent breaks to get up, move around, and stretch. (We should do this all the time when we crochet, but especially when we crochet with new fibers, which can cause us to hold more tension in our body.) These fibers also tend to be a bit rough to the touch, so they don’t slide across your fingers with the same ease as yarn (the raffia from the Martha’s Vineyard Tote Kit was kindest to my fingers). If you find your fingers hurting, try wrapping a few bandages around where the yarn slides over your finger. This specific placement can vary depending on how you hold your hook, but this technique really saved my fingers when I tried crocheting the tougher jute fibers.
Which project will you try first? Let me know in the comments!
Associate Editor, Interweave Crochet
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