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What the Dickens ever happened to raffia?

(130 Posts)

When I was young, I would sometimes enjoy engaging in a bit of raffia work. I had kits for Christmas or birthdays and we would also have a bash occasionally at school.

< It looked at bit like this sort of malarkey, but much, much shitter.

I have now realised that I don't think I have seen raffia work for a long, long time.

Has it died a death - or is it time for the dawning of a new age of raffia? Could we wean today's disaffected youth away from the temptations of miaow miaow, Call of Duty and internet porn with the promise of a colourful pair of espadrilles or an ornamental trinket basket?

Well, could we?


It has an actual name ?
Every days a school day.

And no, probably not sorry.

BIWI Mon 20-Jan-14 21:17:18

It has died a death along with that other scourge of the 1980s - macrame

Weegiemum Mon 20-Jan-14 21:18:08

I made a raffia hanging plant pot holder in Brownies.

My Dad possibly still has it.

'Twas like crochet with string.

Not pretty!

nevergoogle Mon 20-Jan-14 21:18:45

you can buy it in the craft shop down the road from here.

you can buy all manner of crap from the craft shop down the road from here.

Well that's a damned shame.

My father kept his change and cufflinks in the raffia dish that I made for him for at least several weeks before it unravelled.

<< sigh >>

Weegiemum Mon 20-Jan-14 21:19:47

Admitting my age, I think I made it in early 1980, when I was 9!

squoosh Mon 20-Jan-14 21:20:27

When I had the mumps my Mum bought me a raffia craft set. I've always remembered the mumps as my favourite childhood illness due to this.

It was such a high point that I never ventured into other arts & crafts, nothing could match the giddy height my swollen glands and I reached with our raffia set.

Do you buy it in kits with patterns ? Or is it a freestyle affair ?

KurriKurri Mon 20-Jan-14 21:21:52

I think you can still get it if you look hard enough. In the kits I had it came in garish shiny colours. I wove several nasty mats with it, which my Mother was forced to exclaim with delight over and use as coasters.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 20-Jan-14 21:22:07

Gosh I'd competely forgotten raffia.
What actually WAS it though? I mean, what was it made of? Where did it come from?
Maybe it has died out due to deforestation. Maybe the factories have all been closed down through being environmental health hazards. Or maybe, just maybe, in a year or two it will be cool again, like crochet smile

I also used to have a painted wooden woman with several spikes protruding from her cranium.

When you wound and hooked wool around the spikes in a certain manner, after a while she would proceed to shit a long colourful woollen turd.

Now, show me a modern teenager that wouldn't enjoy that.

squoosh Mon 20-Jan-14 21:23:29

Did anyone else who grew up in the 80's have one of those straw handbags with a raffia picture on the front? I loved those!

I have a wooden women, is that French knitting ?
I got it last year in an attempt to so something crafty. It's sitting in the cupboard of doom where I left it after 2 weeks.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 20-Jan-14 21:25:21

Oh, those are still around, Talc. I know an 8 year old boy for whom one of those was the gateway drug to really complicated knitting.

squoosh - I had several.

The cheaper, more gaudy ones would run in the rain.

Fabulous to see you, Kurri thanksthanksthanks

Tunip - I need to find a wooden woman! I would love to recreate that exciting moment when the woollen sausage first crowns at the bottom.

shallweshop Mon 20-Jan-14 21:28:25

I remember making raffia laundry baskets at school ... Mine ended up as a table mat grin

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 20-Jan-14 21:29:43

You can get them in overpriced kits from toy manufacturers for about a tenner with some poor quality wool and instructions, but I got mine from a craft fair for much less. (You know the kind of craft fair where there is a man that does woodturning and sells light pulls.)

My wooden woman looked exactly like this!

Even down to the passive/agressive folded arms. I think she was judging my shabby efforts. sad

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 20-Jan-14 21:31:29

'I also used to have a painted wooden woman with several spikes protruding from her cranium.'

Knitting Nancy? She's still around I think.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 20-Jan-14 21:32:35

Tunip - ah, the craft fayre.

Some people burn elaborate pictures of german shepherd dogs or eagles onto a plank of wood. Probably with a fag-end.

MargueriteLeChouDeBruxelles Mon 20-Jan-14 21:32:44

We called the wooden woman "knitting nancy". I liked to make snakes grin

I learned to make the cord on a double pointed needle and now I like to make octopi.

I remember raffia was always a recommended top tip in magazines to tart stuff up. Make your candle/gift/loo roll look less shit, tie raffia round it.

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