Hello! My new craft for April was raffia. After a bit of research, I ordered raffia online in several colors to create a color palette that I could work with on multiple projects: natural, white, dark green, blush pink and black. I knew that I would be trying out several techniques this month and they would give me the versatility I needed. The only other items I used were an embroidery needle, sharp scissors and a metal hoop from the craft store.

Here’s a quick Q&A of my raffia adventure:

Why did you decide to do this craft/skill?
Other than the occasional use of raffia when wrapping a gift, this material was completely new to me and certainly new as a craft. I really liked the idea of using the natural material to create something fun. I wanted to try treating the raffia like yarn and see if the same sort of techniques could be applied.

What did you want to get out of this project?
Our adventures in crafting this year is all about experimentation. Working with materials and techniques we haven’t tried in a long time or even had a chance to work with at all. That’s exactly what working with raffia was for me this month. In the beginning, I wasn’t even sure what I was going to have created by the end of the month. I just knew I wanted to play, try some new techniques and hopefully learn a lot during the process!

Did you enjoy the process? 
Most definitely! The first project I created was a coaster. I thought that would be a good place to start! I watched a few online tutorials on how to weave coiled raffia and found this one to be especially helpful. I picked out a few colors from my stash and got to creating. Starting the form was honestly the hardest part. My hands ached from holding it so tightly as I started the center! But as I worked my way outward, it became easier and ended up being a very relaxing technique. The raffia itself was really easy to work with and surprisingly strong. I never felt like it was going to tear on me. Since I wasn’t using an exact pattern I kept weaving the raffia while using different colors until I got to the approximate size of a coaster. In the end I decided I wanted to try to create a fringe look so I cut some white raffia into pieces and added fringe along the outer edge.

Next, I wanted to give pom poms a try. If you’ve learned anything about us so far, it’s that we love ourselves some pom poms. 🙂 And I was curious just how the raffia would hold up when making them. Would it be similar to yarn? For me, the short answer is no. With the texture of the raffia, it was very difficult to get the center tight enough for the pom pom to stay intact and almost impossible to keep its shape. However, combining the raffia with yarn had good results. The pom pom stayed together, held its shape and created a really nice variegated look.

My last project was something a little bigger and more ambitious – I wanted to combine the techniques I had already learned and try a wall art piece! I sketched out the design of how I wanted the final piece to look, picked out my colors and off I went. I honestly wasn’t sure how to go about doing it, but using the same coil technique from the coaster, I started weaving the raffia onto a metal embroidery hoop. It worked really well! Unlike the coaster, the colors I added in were just small segments here and there to create a different look. Back and forth I went until half of the hoop was woven. A few extra stitches here and there to make sure it was secure and the weaving portion was done. I created a few pom poms using both yarn and raffia and secured them to the hoop. That’s it! I love the result.

Would you do it again?
Yes! I found it to be very relaxing and another one of those crafts you can easily work on while sitting on the couch! (Yes, that is one way we like to measure success over here!) I really enjoyed the coil weaving pattern and would like to try out some other weaving patterns and color combinations. Maybe create a whole army of coasters!

Happy crafting, friends!

– Katie