My friend Linda put me on to the coolest way to make a re-usable shopping bag the other day. Of course, Japanese people have been using this method for about five hundred years, so you might well know about it, but in case you don’t, watch the video below to see how to tie three different styles of bag from a square of fabric, or furoshiki.
I learnt about using furoshiki to wrap presents years ago when I fell in love with shibori dyeing, but had no idea that these apparently simple cloths were so versatile. I love the thought of having three or four scarves in my handbag, and quickly whipping them out when I do the shopping, and producing bags seemingly out of nowhere.
The Japanese Ministry of the Environment have created the above tying chart with lots of different patterns for wrapping everything from bottles of wine to watermelons. It is available here, as a downloadable pdf (416kb).
I’ve been practising all weekend with every square of fabric I could lay my hands on. I’m going to hem a few in different sizes, to use when wrapping presents.
If you’d like to do this as well, you might like to pop over to Mommy Cooks for her tutorial on producing a furoshiki with a beautifully mitred hem.