Show & Tell: Cellulose Rayon Yarn

Trying out different materials is something which greatly appeals to me, and although my 'plarn' experiment didn't quite go to plan, I'm still on the look-out for interesting (but inexpensive) yarns to try. When I spotted King Cole 'Raffia' on the LoveKnitting website a couple of weeks ago (for £5.65 a cone), I had to get some to play with. There are ten colours to choose from and as a black/grey lover, the monochrome 'Ashes' was incredibly tempting, but I resisted and went for 'Carousel' - a bright and cheery variegated colourway. It's 'Summer' after all. 

The yarn is packaged in 50g / 114m cones and is made from 100% cellulose rayon - rayon is wood pulp, so this is essentially a 'paper' yarn, although (surprisingly) it can be hand washed. In fact, it looks like something you might buy from an up-market stationers to wrap around a parcel. If you unravel a bit of the yarn (width-wise), you can see the composition more clearly... 

In this state, it's also easy to rip it - you can see the tear I made in the piece pictured, using my fingernail. But as you can see in the first image, on the cone it's folded into a flat 'ribbon', and in that state is much stronger and more difficult to break. Obviously my first question was how would it fare with my heavy handedness. 

The recommended hook size is 5.5mm but I tried 4.5mm for my swatch as I'm thinking of using it for some kind of bag or basket (with a tighter gauge). Despite the hook being a bit too small it crocheted quite easily and worked up into an attractive piece of fabric. The yarn did not break at all, even though I tried undoing a bit and crocheting it again to see how it would hold up (in fact it was stronger than some expensive 100% wools I've used, which simply break when tugged). 

On the packaging there is a picture of a hat, and this would indeed make a lovey 'straw' hat. A friend, who saw I was using it, commented that a thin layer of PVA glue will help prevent the brim from flopping too much which I can imagine is also a good tip if using it for a bag, so I'll bear that in mind (thank you, Carla). I think it would also make a nice belt, or a piece of statement jewellery. 

So on first impressions, for a fun and relatively inexpensive 'unusual' yarn, this gets the thumbs up from me. I'm still not sure what to make with it, but do know that whatever it is, it'll have to be used with these old beads - don't they look great together? 

What would you make? If you already tried it, please let me know what you made and how it turned out, by leaving a comment. 


  1. Hi Sarah - I have used this yarn - I found it very hard to crochet with it made my hands quite sore - bleeding in one place :(. It DID indeed look lovely worked up but I only managed a 4 inch square. For anyone who can use it it is fascinating and I loved the idea and the colours.

    1. Ooooh! That's interesting. Thanks for your feedback. What type of hook were you using?

  2. Oooh nice! I immediately thought of a hammock, although that would be a bit big ;) Maybe a fruit hammock? Or a beach bag! xoxo

  3. That's so interesting! That's basically viscose, but obviously in a different form. It does look a bit like a hat fabric on your photos. The colours are great, too. xx


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