So, one of the things I fell in love with while shopping for sashiko books in Japantown in San Francisco were Furoshiki – which is a square cotton cloth used to wrap things and tie into reusable bags – and Tenugui, which is a rectangular cloth used as a scarf.
Both have uses practical uses rooted in Japanese tradition, furoshiki were used to as a multi-purpose cloth in public baths, you could turn it into a bag to carry your clothes and lay it out flat to sit on. Nowadays you can use it in bag form to carry your lunch in, then lay it flat to use as a placemat. Or use it as gift wrapping or a wine bottle covering, etc.
Tenugui are, well scarves and seem to be used in the general ways that I can think of to use a scarf. With the exception that they were given out as promotional items to advertise shops starting in the 1800’s.
All the websites talking about these two traditional cloths talk about how they aren’t really used today, but I saw racks and racks of them in the stores I was in, with awesome prints. The problem is, they are not cheap. I thought maybe I could find some bargain bin prices on-line but I haven’t yet!
I had visions of making some quilts out of these fabrics, but at something like $12-$40 per yard, that is something I’m going to have to wait until I have more funds coming in to do just for the fun of it. Unless anyone would like to commission a quilt? But it is a reasonable price for a purse, right?
PS Check out these great ways you can tie up your Furoshiki and these fun (amazing and hypnotic) videos on gift wrapping and bag making the latter video shows the Furoshiki that Mick Jagger picked out.