Friday, November 27, 2015

Beco Toddler Carrier review and.... GIVEAWAY!

You may remember my previous reviews of Beco: their baby carrier (Gemini) and baby-toddler carrier (Soleil) are great carriers that each live in my demo stash and see a lot of love at baby wearing meets.

However, the Soleil tops out at 45lbs/20kgs, and for a lot of people who are still regularly wearing their toddler/small child, that's getting a bit close. It seems like more and more people are using carriers with their kinder and preschool kids, especially if they're city-dwellers or have a walking commute - and even if that's not you, perhaps a pram just isn't convenient when MOST of the time your little one wants to use their little legs ;)

Enter the Beco Toddler. The minimum age and weight is 18months, 20lbs/9kgs. You want your child to meet BOTH of those requirements, not one OR the other. This is a toddler carrier with a big body and it's not suitable for a child if their legs can't swing freely outside the carrier. (I measure the body panel at 43 cms wide). The body is 48 cms deep and the waistband another 14 cms deep. The maximum weight is 60lbs/27kgs. My 3.5 yo is about 15kgs, so realistically, I'm guessing this is a carrier that could have a place in our lives till 5yo. Obviously this will vary from family to family, but that's our situation. 

I'm an Australian size 10 and about 5'6 tall (165ish cms). I am always a little wary of toddler/child size carriers as their wider body panels can get boxy and uncomfortable. I feel like my shoulders need to be 10 cms wider!
Like the Gemini and Soleil, Beco's Toddler allows crossed straps for a snug, tailored fit. I took it for a test run with straps straight and had everything cinched to the minimum length - I then realised I hadn't used the adjusters at the top of the body panel and could actually get an even better fit by cinching there - oops! The learning curve is real!

Toddler features all the same things that make Soleil a GOOD and simple carrier.
Safety buckles that really do take two hands, flat, crossable straps that don't suffocate me, an ergonomic seat that keeps my child's weight up and close to my centre of gravity, and flexible adjustment - the moveable chest strap and perfect fit adjusters at the top of the body panel are really icing on the cake to ensure an excellent fit.
Shoulder straps will run between 19" - 41" (48cm - 144cm) (you can take another 4" or 10cms out by tightening the perfect fit adjusters) and the waist strap will adjust to fit from 26" - 59" (66cm - 150cm).

Happily, Beco are such nice people that they're allowing me to give away a brand new Arrows Toddler - head over to my Facebook page to enter ;)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wrapahula wovens review

Wrapahula! The very name is sweet and whimsical - and that's just what I got when I opened this cushy, bouncy package from the UK.  You can see their full range of wovens on their website,  and I can tell you all about the Enigma Under the Sea (cute name for this colorway, right?!)

This lovely plush herringbone is like a heavyweight Lisca - lots of move and give in the weave, and a nice firm stretch that is amazing with bigger kids.

After an initial wash, this felt quite stiff and grippy, but some running through sling rings had the weave loosening and showing some cush. I tend to just use wraps, but I admit this was a couch cushion for a couple days and took some twisting!
Weighing in at a beefy 356gsm (and 67cms wide) this is dense but very mouldable and breathes nicely (thanks herringbone weave!). I found it compacted down with a feeling of settling? Like sitting on a mattress and feeling it take your weight. Not a fluffy wrap, but supportive and rock-solid. 

The nature of herringbone makes it easy to work a multi-pass carry; the fabric doesn't really have texture until weight settles into it and pulls it taut. So this was an easy double hammock wrap with a snug chest pass and easily spread second pass. 

 FCC is not my favourite carry! I often find it inconvenient to tighten and adjust so top rails stay taut. The density of Under the Sea softened the blow and was an easy shoulder flip to lock the top rails in place.

 FWCC with a poppins finish is a supportive carry with a nice twist on the regular FWCC. Again, having a thicker wrap means I can be less picky with my tightening and still be very comfortable (sh! it feels like cheating!) Carrying a 15kg child is a totally different ballgame to a baby; I tried this with a couple demo dolls (4 and 6 kg) and they were basically weightless. If you are planning to use with a small baby you may want to invest a little more work in your breaking-in game, as you really want those fibres to mould and conform to baby's body.
 My conclusion? Lovely wraps. Good price point. A maker who's been in the carrier game for some time and who understands what makes a carrier comfortable. Win. Win. Win.

Monday, November 16, 2015

PoppyBaby Somogyi woven review

Who is PoppyBaby? A small Hungarian company drawing on traditional art motifs to create wovens with their own unique style and graphic sensibility. As yet, they're in the early stages - but their first wraps show plenty of promise! 

The Somogyi  I've had here is a lush, marshmallowy wrap despite being a lightweight 215 gsm and all-cotton. The weave is quite dense and fine, so not as much texture lifted in the pattern as I was expecting - whew! This made second passes easy - they slipped nicely and slipknots weren't difficult. 

The Somogyi  I've had here is a lush, marshmallowy wrap despite being a lightweight 215 gsm and all-cotton. The weave is quite dense and fine, so not as much texture lifted in the pattern as I was expecting - whew! 

This made second passes easy - they slipped nicely and slipknots weren't difficult. As you can see, I'm using a DH rebozo for Audrey (now 15 kgs) and this was a supportive and comfortable carry to spend an hour running bout the shops.

I am a big fan of the minty fresh color and the simple geometric design - absolutely unisex.

After a single wash this was soft and malleable - light in the hand, easily bunched, with a nice elastic feel. With a child it required thorough tightening to avoid sinking, but with my smaller babies (demo dolls 4-8 kilos) it was just lovely - light and cushiony, easy to gather, and generally delicious.

PoppyBaby sizes run S (3.6m), M (4.1m) and L (4.6m) (which I think of as a size 4/5/6) and are produced a little long to allow for shrinkage.  I found their estimate (10%) to be spot on, and after a few washes and plenty of wear here, this M is holding true at 4.2m measured soft tape in hand.

You can see here in my bunched passes how nicely this compacts down and how elastic it is - the pattern really lends itself to fantastic give and very snug, secure wrap jobs. 

I can't love a wrap that can't rock a ruck! If it won't work in a 30-second parking lot job, it has no place with us. Luckily, this was a simple up that was secure and a little cushy. Again, with a 15kg (34lbs) wrappee, I needed to tighten the middle a little more than I might to stop that single layer bouncing into a super deep seat, but that's easily remedied.

In conclusion? A lovely, bandagey wrap in a glorious crisp color palette. Great wrapping qualities that have been noted by beginner mums at meets ("It's so SMOOSHY!") and very adaptable to weight and carry. I shape be watching PoppyBaby's future projects with interest!  (Oh, and just because I really like their green ethics, you should check out their OTHER cloth products too - eco-friendly and good for our bodies.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Daiesu goes handwoven!

A while back I reviewed a jigsaw machine-woven from Malaysian company Daiesu, who are making budget-friendly wraps that are lovely to look at and lovely to use. Now they've ventured into the handwoven world, and Kuelapis has come for a visit, with a bright, cheerful color palette and a chunky, rustic feel. It has tapered ends, hemmed rails and at 70 cms wide isn't overwhelming.

Of course, the first step with any wrap is to throw it in the wash - just a quick warning that it's good to wash the wrap by itself, as this may cause excess dye to run. I possibly forgot this cardinal rule and a couple of things became a bit pinker, so consider yourself warned!

After a wash, this still felt like cardboard, so I twisted it up around the stair bannister and made a habit of beating it out and retwisting when I walked past. After a couple of days of this I felt like I could actually wrap with it ;) (We don't have a dryer, so breaking-in happens by hand and by hammock.)

Kuelapis is a substantial wrap (315gsm) that has body in hand and flattens once tightened. It absolutely gets better with use and is a VERY supportive plain weave. Because it is a plain weave, second and third passes slide over quite easily - just keep a good grasp on your initial pass to ensure it's snug and flat.

This felt lovely on my shoulders - dense but not actually bulky, and firm without digging. It comfortably and easily managed a good grippy DH with Audrey's long legs and 15ish kilos,  and was super snuggly in a FWCC - and easy to spread a pass when I wanted more support under her bottom.
I love the compression bandage feel of many handwoven wraps and this is no exception. I'm not sure if Daiesu are going to continue their handwoven production, but I certainly hope so! They're a very good quality product that I'm sure will sit at an affordable price point.