The furoshiki (風 呂に敷く- furo ni shiku – spread at the baths) is a piece of fabric that you fold to carry clothes, gifts, or picnics. This square fabric is between 45 and 100 cm. Some can even measure up to 2.30 metres.
One believes it started being used 1200 years ago. It was baptised furoshiki towards the 17th century, a period when it became popular to carry clothes and hygiene items in the public baths.
Made out of silk, cotton, polyester or chirimen (crimp fabric), the furoshiki is environmentally-friendly because it is multi-purpose. It is a do-it-all ecobag.
Here is a tutorial on youtube that explains an elaborate shape:
Another tutorial on youtube:
Different websites give access to basic tutorials like http://www.kyoto-musubi.com/wrap/wrap-howto.html , furoshiki.com or eirakuya (in Japanese only). Eirakuya is a real institution in Kyoto. This shop combines tradition, Japanese legends and contemporary designs. Indeed you can see some artworks with women in kimono, skiing, or the back of an oni (demon) with his underpants that slips away from his bottom. Here are some small-sized furoshikis and a little bit bigger to make bags for example.
I was offered this furoshiki by the mum of my Japanese host family. I love it. Made by Eirakuya, it is both discrete and original.
The Chirimen Craft Museum (Chirimenzaikukan) in Kyoto offers more classical models,at the very bottom of the page.
With the kimono patches, you can create your own furoshikis, adapted to your taste. I made one with white and purple polyester, but with a rectangular shape, not bad as a gigantic bag for a picnic, that, once spread, can turn into a napkin.
Reverse it to the other side and put things to carry.
Make one knot.
And another one with the same corners.
Knot the two other corners.