Friday, March 24, 2017

Agossie Origin Faith

 
I'm going to throw a few keywords out. From my first impressions opening this amazing package from Agossie headquarters: wow! Luxe - oooh, gift-wrapped, gee, I REALLY like that instruction booklet... and then I got down to the wrap. 

 


  
 
 
OH MY GOODNESS. It's wool. No, it's cashmere AND lyocell AND mulberry silk. 
(The official stats are actually  53% cotton (35% organic cotton, 18% Egyptian cotton), 31% mulberry silk. 13% lyocell Seacell™ (commonly called seaweed), 3% cashmere. 

In other words, it glimmers like a dream, squishes like cotton candy and wraps like a lush, drapey piece of magnificence. 

  
Agossie's Origin Faith is actually fit for a queen. And a princess. And wearing my most ripped jeans and mom sneakers, dashing out after work for a quick dinner never felt so glamorous. 

  

In a size 4, this rocks a ruck wth a big kid like no-one's business. With Cush and spring to spare, my shoulders didn't even think of complaining. It's like wrapping with a stretchy, dense cloud. 
  
Look at that texture! I am not an ironer of wraps. Actually, of anything. I wash, line dry, and then use as much as possible. Faith has a soapy texture and second passes are not difficult to spread. And I wasn't even phased by the hand washing. (OH, nor does it feel woolly in the slightest). After a single wash this was mouldable and lovely. It has only become even more floppy and friendly with love and use. 

 
I know, they're far from great photos, but can we all appreciate that this is a single shoulder carry with almost 20kgs? Like I said, Cush for days.  


 
I wouldn't hesitate to pop a little baby into this - it's a medium-heavy wrap but the weave structure and fiber blend lend themselves to quick snuggly carries and have saved a sloppy ruck here a couple of times. Agossie has dived into the deep pool of textile geekery and come up trumps on blend, weave and aesthetic with Origin, and Faith might just be my new favorite  color. 

 
   

Thursday, March 2, 2017

LOVA Sling Meh Dai!

LOVA Sling is brought to you by a fantastic partnership of trained babywearing and fashion design. Alice and Helen have married their backgrounds and drawn on Estonian traditional patterns and designs to create lovely textiles and carriers appropriate for tiny babies through to toddlers. They sent me a Meh Dai carrier to trial and I've enjoyed using it with demo dolls, at meets with a range of babies and on a range of caregivers, both male and female. 
Meh Dais are generally easy to use and great carriers for switching between carers - with two sets of straps to tie rather than an array of buckles and adjusters, they are often a less intimidating option and very easy to adjust for differently sized babies with a quick roll or cinch. 
video
This particular meh dai is very simple to tailor - featuring adjustable ties at the top and base of the body panel, it can be quickly resized to accomodate little babies or tall toddlers, and the sleep hood can be secured up or down to keep baby clearly visible and safe. 


I really liked the fresh blue and white of this geometric pattern and when I checked out the website I discovered it's not just a pretty square, it's actually inspired by Estonian folk art, with each corner of the quadrangle holding specific meanings - wisdom, diligence, creativity and love. The LOVA Meh Dai is well constructed and features wide wrap straps for a snug fit and great support, and at 240gsm is lightweight but not flimsy or diggy. 
I very much appreciated that the body panel is not enormous and I felt it could very easily support a small baby safely without much option for user error. Having a babywearing consultant design a carrier really does make a difference!  You can see it in action above, and head over to LOVA Sling to browse their full collection. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Firespiral winter hill

Who's on the firespiral train?! I may be late to get on this, but wth the arrival of  copper octarine winter hill, I'm wondering what other glories I'm missing! Light on hand (245gsm) and big on bounce (50/50 hemp/cotton) with a plush, silky texture, this FiSpi is just a bit special. 

 
The colors pretty much glow. Dark, rich violet-toned navy contrasted with a luminous coppery red, and while I've never been draped this is the kind of wrap that makes me wish I knew a bit more about color theory. 

 
The jacquard weave is flattish and offers a nice amount of grip - enough to hold second passes nicely, but not enough that getting them spread is difficult. Hemp is like a heavenly cloud of cush on the shoulders and forgives sloppy wrap jobs (phew!). I never needed to retighten (I tend to wrap hemp reallllllly snugly, as it is a bit elastic) and the support of this wrap was just astounding for it's weight.

 
This has worked beautifully for us on a variety of carries - a quick ruck heading uphill from the lake, a double hammock that needed to finish a hike, and even a fwcc (no mean feat with 18kgs!) when sleep eluded us in a new house one night. I can't speak to the breaking-in of the great hemp, since this came to me after testers, but persevering with your hemp (heat, ironing, twisting and hammocking!) is DEFINITELY worth it! Congrats, Firespiral. Winter hill is glorious and we love it.

West of the 4th Accessible line!

When Nancy contacted me to say that West of the 4th were going to offer an accessible line of machine woven wraps alongside their custom and handwoven offerings, my first response was YESSSSSSS - and the results have been amazing. "New Beginnings" was my first encounter and if she hadn't told me it was machine woven I would have second guessed it. 

 
This has quickly become one of my favorite teaching and lending wraps - the rainbow makes it the perfect learner, but the plain weave, easy care cotton and floppiness straight from the box make it a wonderfully simple to use wrap. Rails are hemmed very finely which helps alleviate the "stretch" which can confound when wrapping with a looser sett wrap. 

 
As you can see, it's a rockstar in a variety of carries. Nails a ruck, feels great on the shoulders, never balks a reinforcing pass.  
Another year, another accessible to try! "Dusk" is a stunning monochrome grad and it's become my car wrap - the reliable, not too short, not too long size four that lets me ruck, fwcc tied in front, and - if I'm careful- dH tied at shoulder. 
  
It has the same reliability and versatility I really prize - flat and floppy in hand, easy to spread reinforcing passes, a good sense of give making a seat but no sagginess.  
Dusk tips the scales at approx 270 gsm and about 70 cms wide - plenty for a good seat even with a four-year-old!
 
What's my verdict? Perfect for newborn and weathering heavier weights beautifully, an accessible wrap will get you through your babywearing career in easycare cotton and plenty of comfort.  
 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

SUPU woven wraps - Flight Blaze review



Who is SUPU? Well, the woman behind them is a lovely New Zealander who now resides in the UK - Jess has long worked as a designer and textiles are obviously her thing! I had a little chat to her before Flight arrived and can say her whole process, from design, sampling mill runs and even finishing - has been very hands-on and involved - and that really shows in the presentation and textile quality of her finished product. 


Right out of the bag, Flight Blaze is a medium weight cotton (290 gsm) which drapes and relaxes in hand very quickly. The herringbone weave and relatively flat peacock pattern don't lift away much, making this an easy wrap for second passes and smooth seats. Not difficult in hand for little babes and awesome for multilayer carries. Jess has chosen Oeko-Tex certified Egyptian cotton for Flight Blaze, and the long, smooth fibres contribute to a lush, smooth feeling in hand. 


Trucking around nearly 20 kilos of four-year-old is a big ask, and SUPU's Flight Blaze held up very well - I would compare it to Didymos' Lisca, but with less sag factor and a much sturdier feeling.At 70 cms wide, it's plenty for a good seat without a lot of extra bunching. It held a slip knot well and didn't require retightening or much adjustment - and looks so good on!


What do you wear when you're dropping in on a new mum to show her how to use a woven? Your own child... and with a chest pass like this, why not?! Sleek and with just enough diagonal stretch, it's easy to get a smooth, flat chest pass with even tension throughout. 

 I think she likes it.


Yes, that's a ruck. Jess is doing good things and knows her textile stuff. She's doing a fantastic job of combining form with function and creating wraps that not only look lovely but perform admirably. You can follow her new work and upcoming releases here on Facebook and check out the feel of her whole brand on her website here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lovaloom Petalon Go Bananas

Talk about luxe! Lovaloom is playing with blends and the textile geekery is strong with this one.
Petalon (the pattern) Go Bananas (colorway) is a multi-fibre, heavily textured and intriguing kinda wrap. According to its composition tags, the blend is 25% Pima Cotton (Pima is a long-staple cotton with a silky feel), 18% linen (hello support, so nice of you to join us), 48% viscose (more silky-feling stuff, and very breathable) and 9% SeaCell.


Go Bananas is from the limited-edition range, which you will find available by draw here and for all its boutique composition is an easycare wrap - and did you notice all the fibres are plant-based?Yes, it's vegan too :)



 What does it feel like?  It's very comparable to silk-cotton blends, with a nubby texture and color variation that I find very appealing. Breathes wonderfully (we wore it on a warm day and snuggled in on a cold night, too)


 Petalon has a great texture without a lot of loft, so it's easy to spread second passes and tighten strand by strand for a very neat and supportive wrap job that won't dig. Yes, that is a front carry with my 4yo!


In hand this feels like a silk-wool scarf SHOULD feel. I know that sounds weird; but for a dense 305gsm with a lot of diagonal give and drape, it's like a very luxurious and floppy blanket that rocks as a baby carrier.  Was tried with a few smaller babies at a meet and declared superb, and I was very happy with it's cushiness with Audrey too. Certainly one for the long-term stay!



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Kokoro Ren North Sea, exclusive to Treasure U - review and giveaway!

See my face? That's a look of disbelief that a hurried ruck (parking lot, drizzle, MUST GET SUSHI NOW) can be so freaking comfortable with nearly twenty kilos of child aboard.
Aside from all its lovely aesthetic qualities (a textured charcoal with fleck vs. rich teal) and lush textile qualities (organic cotton, tsumugi silk, sea island cotton) Ren North Sea (the exclusive by Kokoro Textiles for Treasure U Limited) is kind of a marshmallowy, cushy wrap to die for. 
I love the texture. Silk is kind of magical like that. After one wash it fluffed up into floofy, pliable goodness. It has a lot of body and a soft, slightly sticky texture when wrapping. Very elastic and so.much.bounce. Think wool, but better. 

We won't talk about my sloppy wrap job. There wasn't even a semblance of strand by strand tightening. And guess what? IT DIDN'T MATTER.

I think she likes it.

An hour later some front cuddles were necessary. Life has been a bit stressful around here lately and the emotional connection of wearing as well as the physical sensation - deep pressure, a sensory reset - helps us both.

FWCC with a four-year-old. No mean feat. Pleated itself on my shoulders and easily gave a spread supportive layer without digging. We walked around like this for about forty minutes and I could have kept going. No sagging, no retightening... LOVE.

You KNOW my child asked for this photo of her sushi and the wrap. She's eccentric like that. 

Having tried Kokoro wraps since their launch in 2014 (Kairos, we were in Canada at the time, then our favorite Luna & Artemis kitties), I was expecting big things. While I am always blown away by the texture of silk as it presents in a woven wrap, Ren knocked it out of the ball park. Yes, there is a Pamir  (handwoven of legend) lurking in my stash and although it (being all-cotton) has a different feel in hand and on the shoulders, do NOT force me to choose between Ren North Sea and Mr.P..  It won't be pretty. Kokoro have not only nailed the design aesthetic, they've produced a textile that is simply glorious to wrap with. Follow them on Facebook here, don't forget to stalk Treasure U here... and good luck, there is something simply marvellous brewing!