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Updated: Sep 6, 2023

At first sight, raffia can seem a little weird -- more like paper than yarn or fabric. Despite its appearance, it's very strong and gives a well-defined structure to objects.

The composition of raffia depends on the type of fiber used. Natural raffia is made from the leaves of Raphia palm trees, native to tropical Africa. Nowadays, synthetic raffia is more commonly used because it offers greater durability and color stability.

Raffia is popularly used for both fashion and decoration. In the fashion world, raffia yarn is perfect for summer clothing, accessories, and sandals since it's lightweight and flexible. You'll spot it used in hats, purses, and jewelry too.

For home decor, raffia yarn works wonders for crafting baskets, table adornments, and ribbons. For gift packaging, both natural and synthetic raffia yarn are handy, but synthetic raffia offers a broader range of colors and designs. Raffia yarn also comes in handy for gardening and floristry, to do things like tying together vegetables and flowers for a rustic look.

More about synthetic raffia yarn

Most of the raffia yarn found on the market is made of rayon or viscose. The difference between these two components derived from cellulose is that rayon is extracted from plant fibers through an immersion process, while viscose is manufactured from plant fibers. Both offer shine, breathability, and freshness.

Need some inspo for your raffia project?

Raffia yarn can give your handmade accessories a sporty chic look. Its structure and bright colors make it the perfect trendy companion for your next pool party.

Here are some great patterns you can make using raffia yarn:

Riviera Bag, by Susanne Müeller
© Susanne Müeller

The Riviera Bag is a summer bag in a textured pattern - perfect as a beach bag, for shopping at the market, or taking a leisurely stroll along the Riviera.

The bag has an oval base and is crocheted in rounds, with the bottom using single crochet stitches and the body in a textured pattern with crossed and deep stitches. You can choose between a version made with raffia or cotton. The raffia version is more stable and durable, but the material is a bit more challenging to work with. The cotton bag is not as sturdy or structured, it ends up more like a pouch, but it's more pleasant to crochet.

Raffia Slip-In Sandals, by Sophie and Me-Ingunn Santini
© Sophie and Me-Ingunn Santini

Slip into raffia! Raffia yarn is light, strong, perfect for footwear, and amazingly comfortable! These slippers can be made with any regular DK/Worsted yarn. They're made in one piece from the toe up.

Lucca Hat, by Susanne Müller
© Susanne Müller

A summer hat in the style of a fedora. Crocheted from durable raffia, the Lucca Hat is the perfect travel companion, offering optimal and stylish sun protection when needed. The hat is crocheted from the top down in spiral rounds, creating a seamless finish. The typical shape, with a centrally folded and slightly curved crown, is achieved through steaming. The wide brim is shaped and stabilized using hat wire.

Two little vases 1, by PLEXTO

A set of two little vases to decorate your home. To crochet these raffia patterns, you must be comfortable working in the round and increasing/decreasing to shape. If you've ever been curious about working with raffia, there's no better time than the present! And if you'd like to read more about raffia, check out this article about raffia accessories.



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