Friday, July 15, 2011

Usefuls (Furoshiki)

Years ago I read a sci-fi novel in which beautiful fabric squares called "usefuls" played a role. Everything from tents to packs to hammocks were ingeniously made by folding and tying knots in the fabric. I've forgotten the rest of the plot,but have been reminded of the usefuls whenever I pulled out a shawl from my bag to keep me warm or stuff one into the bag cushion my camera or pulled one over my head as an impromptu rain shield in a drizzle.

In Japan, I discovered real life usefuls — furoshiki. Fabric squares of various sizes that can be folded and tied into all sort of, well, useful shapes. I have four, two different size and fabrics.

I’ve learned to tie them into a bag to bring home tomatoes from the farmer’s market, to pack clean clothes, to carry my swim stuff to the pool, to keep all my lunch stuff together in my tote bag and to make a great little package for my books on retreat. And I used one to provide a cheery disguise for a bag of ice to take down the swelling on my knee...
(see the photo on the lower right)

Instructions for 86 different ways to fold and tie a furoshiki into anything from an apron to a backpack are here.


  1. I second Allison's COOL

  2. These embody my own life goals:





  3. It's pretty cool, I do think!

    And Cindy, thanks for making me think a bit deeper....