From the very first time I laid eyes on an IndaJani, I was intrigued. My friend Rachel over at 5 Minute Recess had a box of them, and brought them to a meet-up for us to look at. She was going to become the U.S. Distributor for them, and wanted some honest opinions about the wrapping qualities. I saw this Fular Donaji Negro sitting in the stash, just calling me. I absolutely hate fringe on wraps, and I am not too big on rainbow wraps… so I have no idea why, but I bought it. A “budget handwoven” seemed like an impossibility to me, but I was anxious to see for myself.
At this point in my wrapping career, I had yet to try a handwoven. I didn’t really “get” why people were dropping a few months’ salary (for me) on these wraps… especially considering the vast majority of them looked so boring compared to the intricacies of the patterns on the machine woven wraps I was coveting. I’ll admit I was rather new to wrapping at that time. I was mostly hanging out in Camp Natibaby at this point, living it up in Rucks and FWCC. I was eager to try out one of these coveted handwoven wraps for myself. The IndaJani rebozos had a very timely look to them. They told me that I was looking at a traditional style of baby carrier, made by an artisan who had a lifetime of experience doing this weaving. Both of my grandmothers’ hail from Mexico, so something coming out of Oaxaca was particularly appealing to me. It spoke to the tradition of motherhood and Babywearing – a tradition that I was happy to be a part of. With all those warm and fuzzy feelings welling up inside me, I rushed home to try it out.
It was not love.
I found it difficult to keep tight, diggy on my shoulders, it sagged after a short time wearing, and it was really kinda coarse in hand. It was a light and airy weave, which I liked… but overall I just struggled to keep comfortable in the few carries I knew. I wore it a couple of times, held onto it for a few months, then ultimately sold it to a friend of mine who was really interested in it despite my cautioning. She ended up falling in love with that wrap, and bought a couple more directly from IndaJani, me shaking my head all the while.
Time went by. I tried out some traveling handwovens to get a little bit more of a sense of what they felt like to wrap with. Some local mamas let me borrow a few Turkish Towels, some Bebe Sachi, a Bristol Looms, a couple of local weavers’ testers came through here… I even tried a couple of Uppy’s on at some meet-ups. I tried and tried, but still found I wasn’t that impressed with the wrapping qualities of most of these wraps. Go ahead, shun me and throw me out of all the Facebook Groups… I just couldn’t get past the feeling that these things were more coveted as status symbols than they were comfortable carriers. Clearly some stood out over others in the market… but overall I wouldn’t be selling my whole stash of machine woven wraps to fund one any time soon.
IndaJani stayed on my radar though. There was something about the authenticity of these rebozos and the unpretentiousness of what they were trying to do, that just kept calling to me amidst all the other fluff I was rolling in. I decided to try out this travelling Fular Rayado that 5mr was allowing to make the rounds. I wanted to give it another shot, given I had much more experience wrapping now. I had heard that the Diamond Weave they were doing could stand up to some larger wrapees – I wanted to see for myself. Holy cow. Game changer. Never had I wrapped with something so thick and fluffy and blankety and cushy before! It reminded me of the Turkish Towels I had tried – oh so thick and forgiving in the laziest of wrap jobs, with a knot the size of my head. My 2 year old dragon child felt weightless, and that is no easy feat these days. I wore her in hastily tied FWCC’s, sloppy rucks, rock solid Taiwanese, and a couple Double Hammocks. Ah-maz-ing. I couldn’t understand how something could be both loosely woven and airy so I wasn’t suffocating us both in the California heat, yet still be thick and supportive enough to wear my 25lb toddler around hiking and back napping with no bodily repercussions. I loved it so much, it was really hard to let it continue on its journey. I immediately asked Rachel if she had another one for me to try out for an upcoming family vacation. I would never previously had considered taking a woven wrap (much less a handwoven) to an amusement park in So Cal, but I was convinced an IndaJani would be a good fit, and I wanted to give it a go. Such a budget friendly wrap, I didn’t have to stress out about the wear and tear that it was about to endure. I took a Binni Vino to the Happiest Place on Earth, putting it to the ultimate of toddler tests. Long lines, tantruming toddlers, back naps, and miles of paved ground to cover – all in the blazing hot heat. I couldn’t have taken a better wrap. It was the perfect companion for the journey, and made a great blanket when the evening chill set in. I wore her for hours. IndaJani had totally redeemed itself.
I got home and bought a Tiil Naranja, secondhand. It’s become my favorite wrap. It is one of their Herringbone weaves, which I find to be on the more supportive side. It’s the least expensive wrap in my stash, yet it is the wrap I reach for the most. It is a beater – I never worry about it getting dirty, so I am way more likely to take it anywhere I need to be. Whether I take the time to get a nice, tight multi pass carry, or I just throw my toddler up in a quick and sloppy ruck, I never regret it. Word of caution though, this beast makes a BIG knot, and has pretty blunt tapers. I got a size 4, but can only really do Size 3 carries with it. I don’t miss the length though, with all that c-u-s-h. I am so happy I gave these wraps another go.
Besides being amazingly comfortable and oh-so-cheap… there is yet another reason to like IndaJani! Turns out they are a really awesome company too. They are part of a Society of Rural Production, cooperatively supporting this community of Artisans making their living doing something that has been in their family for many generations. Check out my earlier post about the beginning of this small-town company in Oaxaca to hear more about the awesomeness that is IndaJani.
So, why did I have such a bad first experience with the Donaji? Well to begin with, I knew a lot less about wrapping. I made the amateur mistake of not washing it first, and that “loom state” isn’t ideal for wrapping… especially as a noob. Wash your wraps friends. And iron them. Lesson learned. Also, I just wasn’t great at multi pass carries – which those longer thinner wraps really shine in. If only I knew then what I know now… I’d still have that pretty. So don’t be intimidated if you are new to wrapping. IndaJani is for everyone!