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MAKE: Furoshiki gift wrap by Michiko Yasue of www.myfuroshiki.blogspot.com


When I was a child and we had visitors from Japan, I was always fascinated by the beautiful wrapping of the gifts they brought. The Japanese word for wrapping, “tsutsumu” is rooted in a sense of restraint and moderation and, traditionally, subtle nuances in the wrapping materials and style carried their own messages, making the wrapping a part of the gift itself.


The wraps that I find particularly relevant for today are furoshiki, squares of fabric that are folded and knotted to carry gifts and create bags – and then unknotted, refolded and retied and used again. No sticky tape, no scissors and no waste! A simple idea that is full of creative possibilities and eco- friendly too. With a little practice, it’s


92 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2010


easy to fashion attractive wraps that enhance, rather than hide, gifts of all shapes and sizes.


Materials: What sort of fabric? Any square of fabric can be used as a furoshiki so long as it’s not too bulky to knot and, if you’re aiming to carry something heavy in the furoshiki, not so slippery that the knots work themselves loose. Use a silk scarf or a hanky and the wrapping will form part of the gift.


To make your own furoshiki, simply cut a square of fabric and hem it. I’d suggest using an overlocking machine, if you have one, as it gives less bulky corners which are easier to knot.


What size of furoshiki? When


wrapping with paper you’d probably try to use as small a piece as possible to make the wrapping neater and avoid waste. It’s different with a furoshiki: slightly more fabric is needed to be able to tie the knots, with any ‘excess’ being wrapped around the gift or forming part of the decoration and, as furoshiki are reusable, there is no waste!


As a rough guide: • The smallest size that is generally practical is a c30cm square furoshiki. This is great for wrapping small gifts or party treats - something about the size of a single CD, a deck of cards or an apple for the teacher. • A c50-70cm square furoshiki is probably the standard gift wrap size, perfect for a couple of larger books, two bottles of wine, a rugby ball. • A c100m square furoshiki is ideal


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