I've been doing a lot of crafts lately, especially fabric-related things, it seems -- don't worry, we're still eating. I've been in a bit of a slump, cooking-wise, it seems, and anyway the weather has been so dreary for the past few weeks that photographing it would be next-to-impossible. ("No, honey, you can't eat it yet. I'm waiting for the sun to come out.") So I spare you.
This morning I made a furoshiki, the Japanese cloth wrap originally used to carry bundles, tie up clothes, and whatnot, now used mainly as a way to wrap gifts. I like these because not only are they beautiful and unusual, but they are also environmentally sound, being eminently reusable -- I have one that I've been using for, oh, about twenty years now. And what better for a handmade gift than a handmade wrap?
This fabric is a beautiful dahlia print by Kaffe Fassett called "Floating Flowers". I must not run in the right circles, as I'd never seen a Fassett fabric in person before this, despite years of mooning over them in print! but this caught my eye at the quilting store, and I had to laugh when I saw it was from himself. My local quilting store is obviously coming up in the world!
The furoshiki can be made in pretty much any size to suit the particular gift, although different folding methods can be used to adapt a large cloth to a small package. You can also make it reversible, of course, although care should be taken that the finished cloth is not too stiff to tie. Really, the only requirement is that the furoshiki be square. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment has drawn up a useful guide of various ways of tying the furoshiki.
Furoshiki (Wrapping Cloth)
1 yard of fabric, for a cloth approximately 35 inches square
Launder and press the fabric according to the manufacturer's instructions. Trim it into a square.
Fold the edges under 1/4 inch to the wrong side, and press. Fold under again another 1/4 inch, and press.
To miter the corners, unfold the edges and trim off the corners diagonally across the second fold lines. Fold this new edge diagonally 1/4 inch, and press. Refold the straight edges and press again to form the miter.
Top-stitch the folded edges into place.
To make a basic wrapping, lay out the furoshiki right-side down with the corners to the four points of the compass. If the furoshiki has an especially handsome design in one corner, orient that corner towards the north. Place the gift in the center, slightly towards the south (you may need to adjust the placement according to the size of the item being wrapped). Fold the south corner over the gift, tucking it in if necessary. Fold the north corner so that it overhangs the gift. Fold over the east and west corners, and tie them together in a square knot.
For a four-tie wrapping, fold over the east and west corners, and tie them together in a square knot. Fold over the north and south corners, and tie them together in another square knot on top of the first one.