Friday, December 26, 2008

It Was A Furoshiki Kind Of Christmas

A week before Christmas, I discovered Furoshiki via Alabama Chanin’s blog. Furoshiki refers to a traditional Japanese fabric cloth used to wrap and carry things. A sort of highly functional origami, if you will, that can be used carry home items from a store or wrap a gift. I was immediately intrigued and set out to learn more. The more I learned, the more determined I became to wrap the few Christmas gifts we would be bringing to Carrie and Al’s home on Christmas Day, using the Furoshiki techniques.

I began with this downloadable PDF which includes illustrations of 14 different wrapping techniques. I then discovered a site devoted to Furoshiki. From there I watched a few videos including this 30 second(!) one which shows how to wrap a pair of wine bottles.

Furoshiki cloths were traditionally made of silk, but now are made out of a variety of fabrics. Some cloth squares are lined in contrasting colors and patterns to increase the strength of the square, as well as to heighten the visual interest of the final wrap. For this Christmas wrapping foray into Furoshiki, I cut out several different sized squares of holiday themed cotton fabric. I didn’t even bother to hem the fabric. I wrapped pairs of wine bottles using the Bin Tsutsumi “two bottle carry wrap” technique. I also wrapped selections of fruits, cheeses, crackers and other goodies using the Suika Tsutsumi “watermelon carry wrap” technique. One tip I found along the way was when wrapping a collection of disparate sized and shaped items, lay your furoshiki square inside a shallow bowl or basket to corral your things. This worked very well and I didn’t have fruit rolling this way and that as I tried to tie the square!

It was quite successful. The packages were very easy to carry and looked both interesting and attractive. Some recipients gave me the “Lee/Auntie Lee/Lee Ann has come up with another oddball thing to share” look! But nearly everyone absolutely loved the two bottle wrap style and declared it a vast improvement over those little paper bottle bags or sewn fabric bottle sacks. I printed out the PDF to give to folks so that they would have a starting off point to explore Furoshiki on their own. I look forward to sewing some Furoshiki squares, hemming the edges and making some lined ones as well.

Here are a couple of photos:

Suika Tsutsumi “watermelon carry wrap”

Bin Tsutsumi “two bottle carry wrap”


dancingmorganmouse said...

That 20-bottle wrap method is going to become quite the thing in the brown-mouse house - thanks!

Roo said...

Hey - neat. we where given two bottles of port for our wedding, both wrapped in the most beautiful Japanese silk sleeves, one gold, one red.

Peter and me have been wrapping gifts in fabric for ages, especially small personal ones, a silk hanky is always handy, and here is us thinking we where being clever! I will have to look into this now, especially as I have been folding napkins into various designs for years ;o) cheers x

Claudia Snell said...

This is sooooo cool! thank you for sharing!

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
You're welcome!
The two bottle wrap is dead easy and results in a very practical and snazzy presentation!
- Lee

Hi Roo (& Peter) -
You trailblazers you!
The Furoshiki fell out of favor after WWII and the advent of inexpensive plastic bags. Now with the environmental movement coming into sharper focus, Furoshiki is being revived as eco-friendly.
- Lee

Hi Claudia -
You're welcome!
I love having a way to spread the word about nifty things like this!
- Lee

purpleronnie said...

Wow again! How awesome is that!! I shall give it a go for upcoming birthdays and Christmas. I always like new funky ideas!

ps i love playing the word verification game on your blog - my word for this comment was 'amsili' .. so true hehehehehe ;0)

Pink Granite said...

Hi Ronnie -
I hope you enjoy using the Furoshiki wraps as much as I did!
I'm always amused by the most word-like verification choices that pop up!
- Lee