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Crocheting With Stripz Fabric Strips

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You Can Crochet With Quilters' Jelly Rolls! Get the Lowdown Here...
Stripz Fabric Strips Plus Rag Balls Made for Crocheting

Upper Photo: A Bundle of Stripz Fabric Strips. Lower Left: Some of the Strips. Lower Right Photo: Rag Balls Made From Stripz Cut in Half and Sewn Together End to End.

Photo © Amy Solovay

Stripz are colorful bundles of pre-cut cotton fabric. This type of fabric bundle is often referred to as a "jelly roll". Fabric bundles are generally used by quilters and sewing enthusiasts, but when I saw these I thought it would be fun to try crocheting with them; they looked like they'd make interesting rag rugs and rag bags.

Typically, rag crochet is a lot of work; in addition to the actual crocheting, the crocheter has to process all the fabrics into fabric strips that are suitable for crochet. I thought using a jelly roll would be a real shortcut. As it turns out, it wasn't the amazing shortcut I'd hoped, although I think perhaps it did cut down on a bit on the amount of work involved.

The Stripz bundle pictured above is about 3.5 yards of fabric, which has been pre-cut into 2.5 inch strips. The strips each measure about 46 inches long. For the crochet projects I had in mind, that was way too wide and not long enough, so I still had some processing to do; I ended up cutting each strip in half again to make strips measuring about 1.25 inches high; then I sewed bunches of strips together to make rag balls.

If you were going to cut your own fabric strips for crocheting, you'd likely want to cut them on the bias, meaning you'd cut them on the diagonal. Bias-cut fabrics are less likely to fray and they drape really well. Unfortunately, Stripz fabric strips are not cut on the bias; they are cut with the grain of the fabric. The edges get really frayed, really fast, when you crochet with them.

To solve that problem, you'll have to do even more processing. There are a couple of different ways you could approach it. You could fold the fabrics so that the frayed edges turn inward, and then either press them or stitch them so they stay that way.

For the rag crochet projects featured here on our website, I folded the edges in towards the center, then folded the whole thing in half again, then stitched the folds together. I tried both hand-sewing and using my sewing machine. The sewing machine is a lot faster and gives nicer results, but either way works fine.

Downsides to Crocheting With Stripz:

There are several downsides to crocheting with Stripz:

  • Expensive: These bundles of fabric don't come cheap. Typically, rag crochet is a frugal and thrifty pastime, but that is not the case when you buy new fabric to work with.


  • Not Earth-Friendly: At its best, rag crochet can be really earth-friendly, allowing you to recycle stained and otherwise-unusable fabrics into useful projects. You don't get any of those benefits when you buy new fabric bundles. Additionally, conventionally-grown cotton is not earth-friendly whatsoever, because so many pesticides are used when growing it. I am not aware of an organically-grown alternative.


  • Lots of Processing Required for Most Crochet Projects: Like I mentioned above, the pre-cut fabric strips didn't turn out to be quite the shortcut I'd hoped.

Good Things About Crocheting With Strips:

  • Gorgeous Colors: My finished projects turned out beautiful, and I think it's the lovely colors and patterns that get a lot of the credit for that.


  • Nice Quality Overall: I did find one small flaw in my fabric strips, but overall the quality of the product is good.

Reference:

At the USDA Website: Pest Management

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