Friday, August 21, 2015

Sica carriers - Mei tai heaven!

Sica Baby Carriers is making divine bespoke carriers. 
It's really that simple. Silje sent me a toddler-size mei tai in pristine cream linen, with a mounted college hood and wrap straps (she has a very lightly padded waist square-quilted, that sits beautifully flat and snug). 

Lined with a cotton print and featuring flawless bronze embroidery, the whole thing is perfectly constructed and super comfortable - all the breathability and support of linen in the convenience of a mei tai. 

I aproned it for these photos with a 6kg demo doll, but it was quite tall enough for 15kg 3yo Audrey to be comfortable with arms in (the body panel is 46cms tall, and 45cms wide). 

The pleated shoulder straps are a generous 2m, and their width makes for very comfortable wearing. Silje offers a range of different hood styles - I also got to check out her flat hood which fastens with buttons and really like that, especially with a patterned panel or wrap conversion. 

I loved the simplicity of this carrier; wrap straps are easy to spread wide to bear the weight of heavy children (YAY) and the linen is excellent; soft after a couple washes, breathable, mouldable, amazing.  I loved this walking with Audrey; nothing bunched or moved, just rock-solid support. 

Just to show off the breadth of her skills, Silje also sent a black linen/cotton mei tai with lightly padded shoulder straps and a flat hood which detaches. 

The decorative panel was a special request from me after I saw the one she made for herself - and she chased down the same fabric! I have to include her stock photo of it because it REALLY shows the construction of the hood nicely.  

This has been dubbed "Black Beauty" in our house and not for nothing - it is really glorious. Silk-lined and a very glamorous option - don't worry how many sleepless nights you've had - everyone will be looking at the carrier, not you! 

You can see that the body is quite tall enough for a 3yo and that although the seat isn't quite knee to knee (long legs on this one, 45 cms isn't quite enough) - that's the beauty of wrap straps - you just spread them out and hey presto! Knee-to-knee seat and uber-comfort for the adult.

This is an easy, fast carrier (padded shoulder straps mean very little fussing to get them flat or strand-by-strand tightening) which I liked for its simplicity. The construction is perfect again, and I can't fault Silje on a thing - communication, timeline, or cost. You can see her complete rundown of costs on custom creations here- and she will also accept wraps for conversion. 

Each carrier came enclosed in a matching embroidered linen bag - which brings me to the last little one! 

Audrey was delighted that hers had her name on it. I might have timed the photo opp badly... but not the lexie twist!

Turns out Sica doll carriers accommodate My Child dolls very nicely...

and leave your hands free for all those other important tasks, like resisting real clothes ;)

What's the best part? Silje has invited me to give away a custom spot!
Will you choose baby or toddler size, 
A mei tai/half-buckle/full-buckle,
Embroidery of your choice on the panel?
Flat hood or college hood? Mounted or detachable?
Silk or cotton lined?
Silje will work with you to create the carrier of your dreams in linen or accept a wrap to convert for you. Keep your eyes open for the giveaway beginning...!

Erizo handwoven wraps - winter blossom review

Erizo hit my radar a LONG time ago, when they were dying linen for baby wearing and created a gorgeous storm-apricot grad for me. Knowing the aesthetics would be stunning, I happily opened a box of handwoven beauty from Janelle a couple weeks ago and have been thoroughly enjoying a 4.4m piece of "winter blossom". 

See what I mean about the aesthetic?! At first I was a bit meh about the iciness of the colors, but this charcoal weft beauty has completely grown on me. Even better, it looks like two completely different wraps depending which way up you have it ;)

Let's talk wrapping qualities. My keywords would be: chunky, substantial, dense, rock-solid. Stays put, whether in a double hammock or a simple ruck. Has softened up nicely and is just going to keep getting better. Not thick enough to be unwieldy, but a handful of wrap. Tipping the scales at 285gsm (post wash and wear), I like the sturdy reliable cush of it in hand and that's exactly how it translates to my shoulders. 

FWCC TUB is a staple around here and this rocks it. Easy to tighten and not an inch of sag. What you tie off is what you get. 
Sloppy ruck racing back to the car from the other side of town - didn't even think of budging and wither a quick sandwich of the passes over my shoulders this was set. Nearly 16kgs (36lbs)? Couldn't possibly be. 

I am really impressed by the workmanship of the weaving: selvedges are absolutely flawless and the couple of weavers knots have been worked in - I had to REALLY go hunting for them. The grain is absolutely even and I love the complex color variation; erizo is screaming WINNER in every possible way, and you'll be lucky to score through their etsy store. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sestrice Cotton/Linen Roosters woven wrap Review

Sestrice sent me some roosters! Ok, I admit this seemed VERY random - who puts ROOSTERS on a wrap?

 But then I did a bit more reading and it all became clear... Sestrice is a Slovak brand and means  sisters - perfect for sisters Slavka and Barbora, who have young children of their own and are inspired by traditional folklore and embroidery.

Their rooster represents the protector - and this design is based on the old belief that the farm's rooster would protect it and therefore the family. Now I also know that the rooster is also a symbol of fertility and was once a popular wedding gift or the popular present when a new child was welcomed to a family. Suddenly it all makes sense (and these are pretty cute roosters anyway).

These dreamily sky-blue roosters are 53%/47% linen/cotton, light, VERY breathable and easily placed into a supportive carry. (Check the website for a full range of colors and blends)

I found that it was crunchy when freshly washed, but softened up quickly and really shone after a good ironing. The blend is enough to fluff up nicely on the shoulders and I didn't feel like this needed careful wrapping to stay comfortable (I love linen, but pure linen can be diggy and prone to feeling "hard" on the shoulders). 

 At 290 gsm, it's a middleweight wrap that feels light in hand and light on your shoulders. 74cms is enough to wrap my 15 kg three-year-old easily and not overwhelm a smaller baby or new wrapper. 

Sestrice is one to watch and I am REALLY looking forward to seeing what other gorgeous designs these lovely sisters draw from Slovakian culture in which to wrap our babes :)

PinkNova Cloudless Birds of Paradise: silk/egyptian cotton woven wrap Review

Cloudless Birds of Paradise is the poetic silk/cotton blend from PinkNova that is cushy and delightful and makes me rethink everything I thought I knew about silk. 

Turns out it doesn't mean thin and diggy... It's actually kind of magical and unicorn-like. 

 Let's have a crash course in the properties of silk, since I had it pretty upside-down. 

Tussah silk has been around in wraps for a while, and it's kind of neat - it's made from wild silkworms and is usually coarser than cultivated silk. I'm not a huge fan of it for wrapping; I find it a little too diggy and too thin to be without give.  

Eri silk is lovely for a bit of tensile strength and cush, and I think oonlamoon have done some lovely things with it, but mulberry silk has got to be my favourite... Lucky that's what the clever women at PinkNova used, and no surprise then that it's the most popularly cultivated silk. 

With strong, lengthy fibres, it's very thin and requires many threads per centimetre of weave, hence the very dense feel in hand of this silk/cotton blend. What makes it feel oddly ...fluffy? 

Well, that's what you get when you combine an egyptian cotton warp with a mulberry silk/egyptian cotton weft. Light (240gsm) and dense all at once, with support like linen and no 'hard' texture, just gorgeous flop. Fresh out of the wash this may have been a little crunchy, but five minutes with a run through the stair bannisters and you would never know. 

This has such a subtle and delicate pattern (Audrey insists it's dandelions!) that you don't get grip from it; but the silk has a velvety texture that holds passes beautifully. Red Hot Kiss had a luxurious linen 'velcro', but this is more subtle and cuddly in feel. 

Yes, it rocks a ruck with 15 kg/34lbs; this has been to Ikea, trucked around in a bandagy double hammock, and even lasted through a dead-weight nap in FWCC TUB. 

It has become marshmallowy while staying dense and feeling very substantial in a carry; the kind of wrap that makes you think SURELY I can carry that ten-year-old  (No, I haven't tried that yet, but you all know what I mean).

What's my verdict? Broken in I would use with a little baby; it's fantastic with toddlers and feels absolutely luxurious. Win.