Little Fellows is a UK based handwoven wrap company – the first UK based handwoven wrap company in fact. Headed by Lisa Everson, who designs and weaves the wraps herself, Little Fellows describe themselves as ‘Quintessentially English; finding inspiration in some unlikely places whilst channeling the inner geek.’
And this ‘inner geek’ is immediately evident through the very name Octarine – when I asked Lisa why it was named such she told me, ‘Octarine is the colour of magic in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books – which are some of my favourites and so I wanted to make a warp to recognise that when he died back in March.’ A lovely and fitting tribute I think – slings are their very own type of magic as we all know, and what better way to show this than with the very colour of magic?
Which brings me on to Octarine’s aesthetic qualities. A chunky zig zag weave and a deep, vibrant rainbow make this wrap truly stand out. The zig zag design is small and neat and a testament to Lisa’s weaving skills. The way in which the colours segue into one another is perfection; it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where one colour stops and another begins. While wearing this I had lots of comments from people about how beautiful it was, and I completely agree. I’m a rainbow lover anyway, but Octarine really captures something magical and special.
Octarine is a blend, featuring mercerised cotton and merino tencel. Now, mercerised cotton simply means cotton that has been treated to increase lustre, strength, affinity to dye, and resistance to mildew. Merino tencel, on the other hand, is a blend of merino wool and tencel fibre. Tencel is a form of rayon which consists of regenerated cellulose fiber made from bleached wood pulp. Tencel is used in a huge variety of fabrics and is soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles. Merino, as we know, comes from Merino Sheep and is one of the softest wools available. It is also excellent at wicking away moisture and regulating temperature. The result is that Octarine is a strong, mouldable fabric that is also soft and pliable. It feels nice between the fingers, not overly thick and fluffy but grippy and textured.
I did however find that it wrapped thicker than it felt. Octarine felt wide when wrapping and I had some difficulty in tightening knots. It’s worth adding that the tester was a size four, which for me personally is not a great size. I was tying most of my knots on tippy tails, which never helps! I had just enough length to do a ruck tied tibetan. I also managed an offcentre ruck with a candy cane finish, a short cross carry with rings, and an FWCC tied at the side. I found that the passes held in place well without any slippage, but I didn’t have to fight to get them in place. I also found that once I had a knot in place it stayed! We used Octarine outdoors in some chilly Autumn weather, but I have to say neither Rosie or I felt too warm or too cold. The thermo-regulating properties of the wool really helped in that regard, and made it easier to dress us both appropriately.
Octarine really made me wrap better; I noticed that if I didn’t get Rosie (19 months) high enough or tight enough I felt it on my shoulders. However, when I did a grade A wrap job Octarine rewarded me in spades. In a well tied, simple ruck I could have worn her all day. She felt bouncy and supported, and I was very comfortable. I did notice that however bad my wrapping. Octarine simply didn’t allow popped seats. No matter how much my sometimes belligerent toddler attempted to escape, Octarine would not budge. I found this particularly beneficial in this size, as I struggled to do the multilayer carries I prefer at the moment to keep her in place!
Overall, I really enjoyed testing Octarine, I liked how supportive it was in a good carry, I liked that little bit of wool bounce, and I am absolutely in love with the colours and the weave. Octarine is a shining example of the love and care that goes into Little Fellows’ handwoven products and I am very excited to see what they come up with next.