What seems like many moons ago but was really only in March, I signed up for a swap on Ravelry. I haven’t participated in many swaps because I’m usually afraid of several things:
1. It will cost more than I can reasonably afford.
2. The person I’m sending to might not like their package.
3. I might be one of “those people” and flake on the deadline.
I knew this swap would be different though. This swap was being held in the Namaste Knitters group on Ravelry and, of course, had a yogic theme! How could you go wrong with that?
The theme of this swap was Santosha which is the Sanskrit word for Contentment. Santosha is part of the niyamas, which are a group of ideas along with the yamas in yoga that lay out the ethical guidelines for yoga practice and life in general. In Santosha, we learn to accept that which is and to identify with our true gifts rather than material objects. To quote from one of my favorite books on yoga, “The Secret Power of Yoga” by Nischala Joy Devi -
Santosha is an agreement of faith that we make with our Divine Self. This faith fastens us to the peace that abides in our hearts, no matter what the fates bring. By this affirmation we firmly identify with our inner essence rather than with external objects. Our identification then travels with gratitude, appreciating how much we have rather than how much we want.
In this swap we applied this idea by creating a package for our partner that was composed of only things we had on hand. We were not able to spend money on anything other than the postage to send the package.
I found this really challenging! Over the course of the swap as I kept in mind what I might like to give my partner I found myself contemplating a purchase only to remind myself of the guidelines. Each of us filled out the usual questionnaire about our likes and dislikes, and I found it really challenging to come up with something that would satisfy my partner’s likes while still coming from what I had on hand.
Perhaps it’s a bit of a cheat, but since I tend to have a lot of wool and dye on hand I decided to make a special colorway for my partner. She described her favorite colors as “I love natural-looking cool colors a lot though. Ocean colors, teals, warm blues and greens, some lilacs, etc. But sometimes a bold, rich yellow is fun too.” From that description, my OM colorway was born:
While I liked how it turned out I wasn’t sure it quite fit my partners description of her favorite colors. I spun it up anyway (my partner isn’t a spinner) and included it in the package.
It was time to go stash diving after that. Since my partner isn’t a spinner I thought a lot of handspun goodies would be fun since many people who can’t spin also can justify buying handspun yarn. She also mentioned that she would like a pair of fingerless mitts, so I decided to use my then new Amanda Mitts and Amanda Cowl patterns to make her a set. I found this yarn in my stash that I thought would be perfect:
That was the prototype for my Seascape colorway, also on Superwash merino and spun way back in 2008! It was also the first major navajo plying project I’d ever done! I think it turned into a pretty nice set of mitts and a cowl.
At the last minute I decided to include some soap from my favorite soap maker in the package so I had to make a washcloth to go along with it. And of course, it needed to have an OM on it!
I rounded out the package with some tea, some yoga themed stickers, the soap and a few more small skeins of handspun yarn. And while the package was about a week late thanks to the Canadian postal strike (and my waiting until the last second to get it out the door) the best part of all is that she loved everything! And she’s never worked with handspun yarn so I’m really glad I made that the theme of my package!
In other yoga news, after today I may have my first job teaching at a local studio! If you’d keep me in your thoughts this evening as I do my final demo I’d appreciate it. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.
And finally, I’ve started a chair yoga video podcast! This has been something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite awhile and just got around to trying out. I’m hoping that it will eventually be available through iTunes and on Roku but for now you can find it on the blip.tv site. The first episode you see there is just an introduction but I hope to have the first real class up before the beginning of next week. Check it out and let me know what you think!
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