To The Loom & Back – Rocking Pink Review

To The Loom & Back is a handweaver based in Wakefield. Using two floor looms (amusingly named Frank and Gertrude) Sian of TTL&B creates beautiful handwoven wraps that she aptly describes as ‘textile art.’

I was fortunate enough to be able to test out Rocking Pink, a 4.2m long piece of hemp and Egyptian cotton gorgeousness. RP came in a tote bag, with the TTL&B logo tastefully displayed in the corner. The wrap itself is quite overwhelmingly vibrant pink initially, but closer inspection reveals shades of teal and purple woven in also. RP is a 4 shafts crackle weave, and Sian went for this as this particular draft was something she’d not done before and was keen to try out.

image

Rocking Pink was originally going to be named ‘Boys Rock Pink Too’ as Sian’s second son always insisted on being wrapped in pink. While I do like that, Rocking Pink is a little less wordy and easier to type!

Crackle weave is so named because of it’s resemblance to crackle effects on pottery, and that’s definitely reminiscent in RP. Every part of the wrap is different to it’s neighbour, and it’s fairly easy to lose yourself in the pretty pattern. RP features quite thick threads, with no long floats that may be prone to pulls. It still has plenty of movement however, and in hand there is quite of lot of give diagonally. I can also see the outline of my hand if I hold RP up to the light, so it’s definitely not as dense as it first appears.

image

Crackle weaves can have a lot of variety when it comes to aesthetics, but they all tend to have similar wrap qualities, offering lots of grip and making for a solid wrap job. RP  certainly follows suit here, offering a remarkably solid wrap job for my almost two year old. At 74cm in width, and blunt tapers, it can certainly feel like an effort to wrap sometimes – there is a lot of wrap here! But it absolutely repays in spades. The weave, the width, and the hemp all combine to make a wrap that I could probably wrap my husband in and it still be supportive. This is a beast perfectly capable of carrying even the biggest kids comfortably. Once those passes are in place, the fabric grips onto itself and they just do not move. We tested this out when in a ruck tied Tibetan by bouncing her up and down – she thought it was madly funny and we didn’t even come close to losing the seat or loosening the passes.

image

We tried Rocking Pink in a RUB, RTT, FWCC, and a torso carry. RP handles single layer carries beautifully, making it quicker to wrap and secure my sometimes unhappy toddler. It’s beautiful but hard wearing; this is a wrap I’d feel comfortable using almost anywhere as I’m not concerned about it getting damaged or stained. It feels to me like a workhorse, something that will keep on giving and giving no matter how big they get.

image

As mentioned above, RP is a wide wrap with blunt ends. It also features traditional hand woven selvedges, although the ends are hemmed. The labeling is good quality and contains necessary wash care and fibre content info, although the middle marker looks like it could have done with a little more care. Similarly, the hemming on the ends is a little rough. I have spoken to Sian who assures me she is aware of these issues and since weaving RP she has changed the middle markers and the hemming style to make them neater.

image

However, these two things are literally the only flaws I could find with RP. The weaving is impeccable and that’s really the most important thing. In actual fact, I liked Rocking Pink that much that it ended up becoming part of my personal stash!

image

For more info on To The Loom & Back, you can find their Facebook page here.

Baie Herringbone Emily – Review

The most recent in Baie’s new Herringbone line is Emily, a mix of ecru and yellow which combine to give Emily to effect of a soft, creamy, butter colour.

12782446_10153562685455945_1676451107_n

And it feels buttery too! HB Emily is a medium weight, smooshy, cuddly wrap – absolutely perfect as a blanket. The herringbone pattern feels very nice in hand and is lovely and soft. Rosie also liked it for this reason, I caught her pulling it across herself for a cuddle when she was ready for a nap.

To wrap with, Emily is a delight. The herringbone pattern means that Emily has lovely amounts of grip and glide; passes are easy to make and lock in place once there. There’s very little slipping or sagging. It’s perfectly mouldable and feels comfortable even on my picky shoulders.

12421400_10153562701465945_776430280_n

I tried Emily in a variety of carries with my almost two year old, and found it perfectly lovely in both single layer and multi layer carries. I had no problems getting a nice tight knot and found that Emily has a nice amount of stretch down the length of the wrap, making getting all the slack out nice and easy.

12721936_10153562701130945_246749648_n

I absolutely loved the colour. Emily is a rich, classy yellow and just really says ‘elegance’ to me. Which is quite fitting actually, as Juliette of Baie tells me that all the Herringbone wraps are named after roses to suit their classical beauty.

12674572_10153562700690945_1855573487_n

The only potential downside I can see to Emily is that it can be very difficult to differentiate between the sides when wrapping. I ended up getting a little confused when trying to do an FWCC and one of my cross passes ended up twisted. To be fair it didn’t actually affect the final wrap job, but it is something to be aware of.

12834801_10153562688730945_1958406247_n

All of Baie’s hemming and labeling is done in house, and is perfection as ever. The labeling is discreet and contains pertinent info such as release date and model number.

Overall, I really like Emily. It’s classy and beautiful, and boasts some very lovely wrap qualities. I can see the herringbone range becoming a staple in people’s stashes – the LBD of the wrap world, if you will.

Opitai Cosmia – Review

Opitai Baby is a small business based in Durham that up until now have focused on converting woven wraps into custom carriers. They have recently branched out into making their own range of woven wraps, the first of which is Cosmia. Fay of Opitai tells me that after working in the babywearing industry for five years she’s keen to realise her lifelong ambition of designing textiles, and being able to incorporate her passion for babywearing just adds to the joy. She’s also delighted to be using weavers based in the North of England – she’s very proud of the industrial heritage of the North.

So, Cosmia is comprised of peacock blue and ecru cotton, using a mix of Egyptian Cotton and Combed Cotton. The design itself is derived from a macro photograph of a butterfly wing, and was developed using traditional design techniques; drawing, rotating, and painting. The overall effect is something that looks a little bit cosmic, a little bit ‘spacey’ – it’s easy to see why Cosmia ended up with it’s name. With it’s peacock and jade colouring and busy design, Cosmia is the kind of wrap that works well with jeans for a bright, fresh look.

image

Now, onto the wrap qualities! Our first ‘up’ in Cosmia was a very quick ruck with a toddler over the top of two waterproof coats – usually a recipe for wrap disaster. Cosmia was a delightful surprise and held very well. My toddler was supported and there was absolutely no sliding or slippage.

image

Cosmia is on the wider side, and the plain weave tester is quite densely woven. It does feel fairly stiff in hand and would definitely benefit from some breaking in, but obviously as a new tester it’s not there yet. It’s a 300gsm wrap, and there’s definitely some weight to it.

image

We also tried Cosmia in a Charlie’s Cross Carry and a Front Cross Carry. I have to say that although it held very well once in place, I found it could be quite difficult to tighten and make cross passes. Grip definitely surpasses glide on this one, although this could well be to do with the fact that it requires some breaking in.

image

I’m happy to say that even in a single layer carry, the wrap was very supportive for my now big girl. She was in a particularly happy and giggly mood, so we had lots of bouncing and kisses! Despite my Charlie’s not being the best, and despite much bouncing and fun, it never budged. I’ve got to say Cosmia does make for one solid wrap job!

image

It’s worth noting that Opitai have woven Cosmia testers in a variety of blends and weave styles, including a cotton and silk wrap.

I’d also like to add that Cosmia came very beautifully packaged, wrapped in tissue and with a fancy teabag and even a notebook, featuring a front cover quote from Why Babywearing Matters, the upcoming book by Rosie Knowles of Sheffield Sling Surgery. Call me sentimental but I think that is a lovely touch!

image

I feel like this would be a beater wrap; the kind of wrap that will withstand muddy dog walks and being flung on a park bench while you chase a toddler. I can’t see this wrap being one that pulls easily, the weave is simply too dense.

image