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Many of us enjoy stitching the 12" x 12" ready to stitch preprinted sashiko sampler designs made by Olympus, Japan. We just aren't sure what they are for! Recently new designs came available and the packaging on them calls them Hana-fukin, so I looked it up.
Hana-fukin is the name for useful household cloths. It could be a tea towel or dish cloth, or a clean square of cloth to put under a meal, or use in the center of a table, or to cover a bowl of fruit or eggs, or to cover cooling cookies or cake. You might also use one to line a basket for serving bread.
If you know how to tie up a furoshiki, you can grab a hana-fukin to tie and carry a casserole or a pie to a potluck dinner. I also use cotton cloth to wrap lettuce and celery in, before putting them in bags in the fridge. It increases the length of time the vegetables stay fresh by a week or longer.
If, like me, you are not a fan of the expense and waste of paper towel, you know the value of a good stack of absorbent cotton squares in your kitchen - and it doesn't hurt if they are pretty!
(The traditional geometric sashiko designs make striking hana-fukin in the kitchen, I like these under breads in a basket. Sashiko gets prettier with washing and use)
The designs Olympus has had available for years say they are "dishcloths" on the packaging and it was a mystery to me why anyone would think we would do all that stitching on a cloth to wash dishes! But I think no one did think that. I think 'dishcloth' was the best guess at a translation for Hana-fukin. We don't really have a word in english for a generic "useful household cloth" except maybe tea towel (also called dishcloth).
(Hitomezashi sashiko stitched cloths are decorative and impressive over a bowl of fruit, or covering loaves of bread)
... And now I can justify buying more of the Olympus sashiko sampler to stitch. They are such satisfying projects to make, but every project needs a use. Or maybe I should say I need every project around my house to make itself useful! :-D
Click this link to see and buy ready to stitch kits on my A Threaded Needle website
Happy stitching till next time,