furoshiki, different ways.

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In a small apartment, things have to earn their keep. Glass jars hold pantry bulk goods, leftovers in the fridge, gifts for friends, candles, cotton rounds, and on and on. Linen napkins also function as placemats, faux paper towels for pressing the water from tofu, coasters. I usually use my French press for brewing loose leaf tea, but when coffee drinking friends stay over, it comes in handy for that, too. And, I've written here about all of the ways uses I find for cotton bulk bags.

The newest tool in my use-it-for-everything arsenal is a furoshiki cloth. Though the concept is found in many cultures, the work "furoshiki" comes from Japan and refers to a large square of cloth that's purposefully, um, multipurpose. Mine is a little under a yard square, sturdily woven from hemp and organic cotton. Paired with a long piece of twill tape, it ties around my waist as an apron. It can be a kitchen towel, carry a warm bowl to a potluck, serve as a table covering, wrap up donations to take to the thrift store, or bring greens or squash or anything else home from the farmers' market. Here's a peek at how I tie up my lunch gear into an easy-to-carry bundle for eating on the go (plus, in warm weather the furoshiki can double as a picnic cloth):

My furoshiki comes from Ambatalia, which makes beautiful and useful cloth goods for the home that help us move away from a reliance on disposables (you might know them from their awesome cloth bento bags or cloth bowl covers). It's mesmerizing to watch Molly from Ambatalia fold her furoshiki into useful shapes - for gift wrap, casserole carriers, around wine bottles:

Have you heard of furoshiki, or do you have one that you use? I think the ways I've been folding mine are just the tip of the iceberg, and I'm looking forward to discovering even more uses.

Many thanks to Ambatalia for sending along a furoshiki to try. Can't wait to use it for years to come.