Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Christmas trees, and furoshiki

 I've been really busy lately but just about every day, I make a few trees for Kaela's Christmas quilt.  I have 24 out of the 38 trees made, and most of the cutting done, which is half the battle.  

It's really straightforward piecing for a very straightforward quilt.   I love making these while listening to music, a podcast, or a book. 

The other day I saw this wonderful episode on NHK (Japanese public television) about furoshiki.  

Furoshiki are wrapping cloths, used to carry goods or wrap presents. If used as gift wrapping, the furoshiki stays with the giver to be used over and over again. 

Click here for a link to the program.  

I collect furoshiki with Christmas wrapping in mind.  They are beautiful and eco-friendly.  Theoretically if I have enough furoshiki, at some point I won't be buying wrapping paper anymore (except for any gifts I might mail).   I also love the idea of the wrapping becoming familiar year after year.  

Of course we quilters can also hem pieces of nice Christmas fabric and use that!   Do you ever use fabric as wrapping paper??  

Anyway, David helped me find the shop featured in the program -  Musubi, which was quite tucked away in Harajuku.   I really wanted to support a local business while adding to my collection.  

Very hard to choose. 

Some were beyond beautiful and prohibitively expensive. 

Others were in my range and I did purchase a few, to add to my budding collection.   

They wrapped my parcel up in a complimentary furoshiki (photo taken with permission) - 

"Shippo" (seven treasures): 

David really liked this little "confetti" furoshiki: 

There is so much to appreciate in Japan in terms of design!

I loved this one featuring trees and animals, and an injunction to "MOTTAINAI" (waste not):

I leave you with this just for fun - the storefront of a small boutique clothing store in the same neighborhood - gotta love Tokyo!   

Back to my forest of pieced trees... 

xo gratefully 


  1. I love the Pine Tree quilt.

    The furoshiki are delightful. The other night I watched a story about them and how to tie them, on YouTube. Fascinating. I ll enjoy your link.



  2. I made a bunch of pine trees that style when I made my daughter's Big Foot quilt, but didn't make nearly that many! That will be a fun Christmas quilt.
    Now I am enamored with this idea of furoshiki. About 30 years ago I started buying Christmas fabrics and stitching up fabric bags in a variety of sizes. I continued doing it for several years, and eventually added birthday fabric and Valentine fabric. I don't even know how many dozens of bags I have now, but I only use wrapping paper for gifts being given outside the family. Sometimes I have time to make one that will be given with the gift. So these beautiful Japanese fabrics intrigue me as wrapping. When it is not so late over here, I am going to watch the video. I really enjoy the glimpses you give us into the Japanese culture.

  3. Oh, Harajuku.. I didn't realise there was a shop like this when I was in Tokyo back in 2018. I would've loved to visit. There's so much that we saw - and an endless amount of things that we missed. I'd like to go back someday, and have all the time in the world to go explore!

    Thank you for showing these fantastic pictures!

  4. Good of you to work on the Christmas quilt NOW. It will be a beauty!
    Oh, such beautiful furoshiki. I love this idea, but must admit that it is hard to use from time to time. You really need a flat surface to pack your things. In olden days the floor of a home was much higher than the entrance so it was easy to coach down and use the polished floor as a place to unpack or pack a furoshiki. In a supermarket you can spread open the furoshiki on the packing table and wrap up your purchases, but not in smaller shops or places like 7-11 where you are only in the way...
    I think your idea go wrapping GIFTS in furoshiki is great. I often wrap gifts to quilters in a fat-quarter that is part of the gift.

    I wouldn't know which furoshiki to choose in that shop - to many beautiful ones.

  5. I love the trees. It's going to be a great quilt. Hugs

  6. Oh your trees are literally growing! You will be so far ahead of all your Christmas gifts. And, those wrappings are delightful. I haven't bought wrapping paper for years. If I don't have enough paper bags, I use fabric (of that I most certainly have enough to last a lifetime!).

  7. I love the idea of furoshiki, there are some shown on Amazon here, though quite expensive as you said. I have wrapped baby shower gifts in homemade receiving blankets in the past something that is sure to be used and not just thrown away at the end of the party. Your choices are beautiful mementos of your time in Japan.

  8. Some sort of “tree quilt” is inching its way toward the top of my “to do” list; yours is looking good! And, oh my, I would have a really hard time restraining myself in that furoshiki shop!!😊

  9. Your evergreen Christmas forest continues to grow. The Japanese fabrics are so unique and beautiful. I'm glad you had an opportunity to add more to your collection.

  10. Looking forward to seeing all the trees come together! Loved learning about and seeing furoshiki. I keep saying I'm going to make a collection of Christmas bags, but I never seem to get around to it!

  11. Someone came to our guild and gave a program on that (furoshiki) many years ago. I had completely forgotten about it! We just used regular quilting fabric, but those Japanese ones are way more cool. That “nerdy” sign is hilarious!

  12. Such a good way to get through a quilt with so many blocks. The Christmas trees are going to look so wonderful all together. I've never used fabric as wrapping paper, but it sounds like a great idea depending on who the recipient is!

  13. The furoshiki are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think I need to search these out the next time I visit Japan.

  14. What fun to see what you are making, plus thank you for sharing the public tv program on furoshiki! So delightful to be resourceful and eco friendly with something so beautiful. I noted that some had texture like bark cloth, others more linear weave. All so beautiful1

  15. Your Christmas trees are excellent. This is going to be a really great quilt. I love the unique fabrics you find. I really like the one with trees and animals.

  16. Oh I loved the video! Just out of curiosity how much does the average one cost?
    The wine bottle wrapping is fabulous. I may try that with a pretty piece of fabric. Thank you for sharing this!
    I so appreciate that everything has so much symbolism and meaning in Japan.
    Your forest of trees are growing and look great.
    what a funny storefront window

  17. It was trees like these that inspired one of my earliest quilts.There were about 59 of them and some of the green ones contained Christmas fabric.I ended up putting sashing between the blocks to avoid dealing with those many seams.

  18. What a fun furoshiki shop!!! I love how they display them. And a complimentary furoshiki to take home your purchases!!! Only in Japan!

  19. Your pine trees look great.
    I enjoyed your visit to the furoshiki shop. Such delightful fabrics. Are the pieces all cut to one particular size and are the edges hemmed? (I think so but I can't tell for sure.) I like the one with the trees and animals, too.
    When we lived in El Salvador the people sometimes used fabric to wrap and carry bundles. The objects were place on the fabric, then two corners were folded toward the enter and tied into a knot, then the other two corners were pulled to the center and tied again. The last tie made a loop that made it easy to pick up the bundle and also slip over one's wrist to carry. Furoshiki is probably folded and used differently.
    It's so sad about the Quilt Festival. My daughter and I were commenting today that we fear some events will go by the wayside and not continue after covid. This will be the second year our state fair has been cancelled, as well as some other events we've enjoyed in past years. I think it takes a lot of momentum and energy to keep events going from one year to the next and without the continuity from year to year I think it could be easy to let things go. I hope our fears are unfounded.

  20. Aren't those signs a hoot!?! I find some doozys too. (Like the hair salon that's called "Oops".)

    I have quite a unintended collection of furoshiki too and even have some small hoops so that they can be made into a tote bag of sorts... I really should use them more!


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