Why reusable cloth could consign Christmas gift wrap to the bin

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mountains of glittery wrapping paper covering the floor on 25 December. Or would it?

A rise in interest in crafting, coupled with a greater awareness of the environment under lockdown, has led to a surge in interest in furoshiki – the Japanese art of fabric wrapping – this year.

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths used to transport food, clothes or gifts. Both attractive and reusable, they are increasingly being embraced by shoppers as a sustainable alternative to paper.

Over the past three months the website Etsy has seen a 41% year-on-year rise in searches for fabric gift wrap, while searches for eco-friendly wrapping are up by 78%.

Related: John Lewis Christmas ad stars children, snowmen and hip-hop pigeons

Cosmetics retailer Lush sells a wide range of furoshiki-inspired wraps, while they are also available at retailers such as Oliver Bonas and Toast, which this year introduced a set of furoshiki table gifts as an alternative to Christmas crackers. Later this week, John Lewis will host an online furoshiki workshop.

The cloths are easy to use: gifts are placed in the centre of the fabric, which is then tucked around the object and fastened with a knot.

Gallery: Jennifer Garner’s Beauty Essentials (ELLE (UK))

“Because fabric is so much more malleable than wrapping paper, it can be used to make even the most awkward-shaped gifts look professionally wrapped,” says Sarah Carter, founder of Folds, a Bristol-based company that sells reusable organic cotton and certified linen gift wrap. “We usually finish our wrapping by tucking in some dried flowers or a sprig of holly,” she adds.



A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty


© Provided by The Guardian
A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty

Folds has always been popular in the festive season, but this year Carter noticed a surge in orders in the spring and summer months. She attributes this to an increase in climate change awareness prompted by Covid-19. “The pandemic has brought the environment into a new focus for people, causing us all to make more environmentally conscious decisions around what we buy.”

Part of the appeal of fabric wrapping is that it is a present in itself. “The receiver can not only enjoy a beautifully wrapped gift but can then reuse the cloth to give a gift of their own,” says Judith Harris, head of house and home at Toast.

Carter says some customers use their cloth within family or friendship circles, so that it eventually makes its way back to them. “There’s a certain magic and tradition in passing it from person to person,” she says.

Related: Anger on the British high street as festive cheer turns to fear for small shops

Then there’s the growing interest in craft. A recent report by the Crafts Council found that our passion for artisan objects is greater than ever. Fabric wrapping is often handmade and it arguably offers more scope for creativity than standard wrapping paper, thanks to the chance to experiment with different folding techniques and the

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Why reusable cloth could consign Christmas gift wrap to the bin | Christmas

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mountains of glittery wrapping paper covering the floor on 25 December. Or would it?

A rise in interest in crafting, coupled with a greater awareness of the environment under lockdown, has led to a surge in interest in furoshiki – the Japanese art of fabric wrapping – this year.

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths used to transport food, clothes or gifts. Both attractive and reusable, they are increasingly being embraced by shoppers as a sustainable alternative to paper.

Over the past three months the website Etsy has seen a 41% year-on-year rise in searches for fabric gift wrap, while searches for eco-friendly wrapping are up by 78%.

Cosmetics retailer Lush sells a wide range of furoshiki-inspired wraps, while they are also available at retailers such as Oliver Bonas and Toast, which this year introduced a set of furoshiki table gifts as an alternative to Christmas crackers. Later this week, John Lewis will host an online furoshiki workshop.

The cloths are easy to use: gifts are placed in the centre of the fabric, which is then tucked around the object and fastened with a knot.

“Because fabric is so much more malleable than wrapping paper, it can be used to make even the most awkward-shaped gifts look professionally wrapped,” says Sarah Carter, founder of Folds, a Bristol-based company that sells reusable organic cotton and certified linen gift wrap. “We usually finish our wrapping by tucking in some dried flowers or a sprig of holly,” she adds.

A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris, folded fabrics hanging from walls and ceiling of decorative walkway.
A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty

Folds has always been popular in the festive season, but this year Carter noticed a surge in orders in the spring and summer months. She attributes this to an increase in climate change awareness prompted by Covid-19. “The pandemic has brought the environment into a new focus for people, causing us all to make more environmentally conscious decisions around what we buy.”

Part of the appeal of fabric wrapping is that it is a present in itself. “The receiver can not only enjoy a beautifully wrapped gift but can then reuse the cloth to give a gift of their own,” says Judith Harris, head of house and home at Toast.

Carter says some customers use their cloth within family or friendship circles, so that it eventually makes its way back to them. “There’s a certain magic and tradition in passing it from person to person,” she says.

Then there’s the growing interest in craft. A recent report by the Crafts Council found that our passion for artisan objects is greater than ever. Fabric wrapping is often handmade and it arguably offers more scope for creativity than standard wrapping paper, thanks to the chance to experiment with different folding techniques and the way it lends itself to botanical adornment. “There is a huge appetite for people wanting to learn new craft skills and perhaps create their own gifts for friends and family,” says Harris.

The practice of using furoshiki became widespread

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Worthington library finds missing wedding-ring diamond in book drop bin

Holly Zachariah
 
| The Columbus Dispatch

Julie Travis pulled the handle of the library book drop, felt a tug and knew she had smacked her wedding ring against the metal and snagged it.

At the same time, Jeff Regensburger — who manages the Worthington Park Library in the Worthington Park Centre shopping plaza — was manning the outside station that day to help arriving patrons understand the new rules during the ongoing pandemic. He noticed Travis looking around and down at the ground, seemingly puzzled, and asked whether she needed anything.

“I think I just knocked the diamond out of my wedding ring,” Travis told him matter-of-factly. “It could have flown anywhere at all.”

A search commenced, and soon the two of them were scouring the sidewalk on their hands and knees during the late afternoon on Sept. 29, the flashlights of their cell phones clicked on in hopes that the quarter-karat gem would gleam in the light.

Curious patrons wandered over to help, the group crawling like ants on a picnic blanket searching for one last crumb. But ultimately, nothing.

Regensburger knew that it was possible that the diamond had dropped down the chute along with Travis’s books. But here’s the thing: The bins that catch the returned materials — think big, blue tubs on wheels like hotel pools use for dirty towels — must sit untouched for seven days. Thanks, coronavirus.

He told Travis this unfortunate news, a little apprehensive of her possible reaction.

No need.

“She took it like a champ,” Regensburger said. “I mean, it’s 2020. Of course someone is going to lose their diamond in a giant bin of books. Of course they are.”

Travis — 38-year-old wife to Jimmy Travis, mom to their three kids under the age of 7, an assistant principal at Franklin Heights High School in the South-Western City School District, and someone still helping her family getting acclimated to Worthington after moving here over the summer from Nashville, Tennessee — possesses a natural, always-chill kind of vibe.

More good news: Kids put on porch concert for neighbor self-quarantining during pandemic

More good news:: Poetry in motion

“Just check when you can, and let me know,” she told Regensburger.

And then she went home to tell Jimmy.

“I think I said, ‘I have good news and bad news,’” she recalled. “The good news is that the library books are back with no overdue fees. The bad news? I lost the diamond in my wedding set.”

She laughed about it then, and so did he. Or else they would have cried. And they laugh about it now.

“It was sentimental because it was a gift from my husband when he didn’t have much to give. But it is just a ‘thing,’ and things can be replaced,” she said. “It was either going to turn up or it wasn’t.”

In fact, this unfortunate event happened as the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary approached on Oct. 15. Jimmy had already suggested to his wife that

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Maddow Blog | Admiral from bin Laden raid endorses Biden in dramatic fashion

To a degree without modern precedent, an astonishing number of retired American military leaders have stepped up in recent months to denounce Donald Trump, endorse Joe Biden, or both. The list includes four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, each of whom have publicly slammed the incumbent president ahead of his re-election bid.

But as regular readers know, one retired U.S. military leader in particular has gone further than most in warning the public about the man in the Oval Office.

Retired Adm. William McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, is perhaps best known to Americans as the Navy SEAL who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In a new op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the retired admiral talks about the ballot he cast this week in Texas.

Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility.

He added, “I voted for Joe Biden.”

Taking aim specifically at the president’s repeated insistence that the United States is held in higher regard thanks to his leadership, McRaven also wrote, without ever mentioning the incumbent president’s name:

Now, the world no longer looks up to America. They have been witness to our dismissiveness, our lack of respect and our transactional approach to global issues. They have seen us tear up our treaties, leave our allies on the battlefield and cozy up to despots and dictators. They have seen our incompetence in handling the pandemic and the wildfires. They have seen us struggle with social injustice. They no longer think we can lead, because they have seen an ineptness and a disdain for civility that is beyond anything in their memory. But, without American leadership the world will indeed be transformed, just not in the way we hope.

I’ve long been fascinated by McRaven’s gradual transition from a retired military leader, content to leave political fights to others, to someone who felt compelled by Trump’s antics to enter the political debate in earnest.

Video: Trailing in polls, Trump turns to discredited recount playbook (MSNBC)

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Just weeks into the Trump era, for example, the retired admiral tipped his toes in these waters, describing Trump’s condemnations of his own country’s free press possibly “the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”

About a year later, after the president said he’d revoke the security clearances of some of his critics, McRaven wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post urging Trump to revoke his security clearance, too, explaining

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Admiral from bin Laden raid endorses Biden in dramatic fashion

To a degree without modern precedent, an astonishing number of retired American military leaders have stepped up in recent months to denounce Donald Trump, endorse Joe Biden, or both. The list includes four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, each of whom have publicly slammed the incumbent president ahead of his re-election bid.

But as regular readers know, one retired U.S. military leader in particular has gone further than most in warning the public about the man in the Oval Office.

Retired Adm. William McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, is perhaps best known to Americans as the Navy SEAL who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In a new op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the retired admiral talks about the ballot he cast this week in Texas.

Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility.

He added, “I voted for Joe Biden.”

Taking aim specifically at the president’s repeated insistence that the United States is held in higher regard thanks to his leadership, McRaven also wrote, without ever mentioning the incumbent president’s name:

Now, the world no longer looks up to America. They have been witness to our dismissiveness, our lack of respect and our transactional approach to global issues. They have seen us tear up our treaties, leave our allies on the battlefield and cozy up to despots and dictators. They have seen our incompetence in handling the pandemic and the wildfires. They have seen us struggle with social injustice. They no longer think we can lead, because they have seen an ineptness and a disdain for civility that is beyond anything in their memory. But, without American leadership the world will indeed be transformed, just not in the way we hope.

I’ve long been fascinated by McRaven’s gradual transition from a retired military leader, content to leave political fights to others, to someone who felt compelled by Trump’s antics to enter the political debate in earnest.

Just weeks into the Trump era, for example, the retired admiral tipped his toes in these waters, describing Trump’s condemnations of his own country’s free press possibly “the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”

About a year later, after the president said he’d revoke the security clearances of some of his critics, McRaven wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post urging Trump to revoke his security clearance, too, explaining that he would consider it “an honor” to stand alongside those “who have spoken up against your presidency.”

Last fall, McRaven wrote another piece, this time

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