The Wrap Show: Magic Summer Event Review

I tend not to think of myself as having been a babywearer for that long. But, as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun (or is it when you’re perpetually sleep deprived?), and I’ve been wrapping for a little over 4.5 years now. In that time I’ve tried a lot of wraps and have even been lucky enough to attend a few babywearing conferences and events.

So, as someone who’s been around the metaphorical babywearing block a few times, what was Magic Summer like?

 

The Geekery

Capturing the essence of a wrap online is difficult and elusive, even if you just focus on the aesthetic of a wrap. Accurately conveying how it feels when handled, and what its wrapping qualities are, is even more of a challenge. Magic Summer (with tables and tables of wraps!) was a frankly blissful experience for my inner wrap geek.

 

 

I was in my element as I explored the different brands and the carriers they had brought. I was (wonderously!) child free, but there was no shortage of demo dolls, so I could still try as many wraps as I wanted. And I wanted to try a lot! There were so many different wraps, including some truly unusual ones. There were wraps which didn’t feel at all how I expected when I touched them, wraps whose WQs were a total surprise, wraps which looked so different in person to the photos I’d seen online. Thick wraps, thin wraps, cosy wraps, luxurious wraps, handwoven wraps, colourful wraps, elegant wraps. Wraps I now own, and wraps I would love to own, and wraps I’ll never own but am pleased to have tried.

In short: a lot of wraps. If you like wraps even a little, it would have been hard not to enjoy it.

Often at a babywearing show there’s a lot of emphasis on the sales side of things. Even if you go in with a relaxed attitude, it can be hard not to get caught up in the busy browsing and shopping. And whilst this has its own delights, I loved how there was no selling from the stalls at Magic Summer (all selling was done in advance via preorders). This made the event very relaxed, with a real focus on slowing down to explore and appreciate the wraps on show. I felt there was so much more opportunity to indulge in the kind of fun wrap geekery I truly love.

 

 

The Socialising

If you’re like me, that subtitle could be immediately off-putting. Socialising? With strangers? I mean, thanks for the offer, but nooooo, that’s not my thing…

I’ll confess that I was a little anxious about the social aspect of Magic Summer. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. The socialising was all on my own terms. I could (and did) have as many quiet moments by myself as I needed to balance out all the talking. No-one stared, or minded, or – frankly – even noticed. The laid-back atmosphere meant there was a natural ebb and flow to the interactions and conversations, making it easy to engage as much or as little as I wanted. I met some old friends, some people I’d only chatted with online, and (shocker) some entirely new people.

Best of all, I loved meeting the brand owners and representatives. This was next-level wrap geekery chat: I loved hearing more about how the wraps were designed, what motivated fibre or weave choices, and a myriad other tiny but fascinating details. Everyone I talked to was friendly and enthusiastic and entirely accommodating of my sometimes odd questions!

The Peripherals

Whilst the wraps and the people were the main elements of Magic Summer for me, of course there were other elements of the experience.

First up: the venue. A little tucked away, this was straightforward enough to find for an easily-confused traveller like me, thanks to the detailed instructions on the Magic Summer website. It was hot, as was just about everywhere in London that day, but it had shady spots and plenty of free water! The feel of the venue was laid back and relaxed, not at all intimidating. I liked that there was plenty of seating, and enjoyed the layout – it felt like there were lots of different sections to discover, even though it wasn’t a big place. Then there was the food. I got a ticket on entry which I could then exchange at two different food stalls for my lunch. I chose a burger and fries – and seriously, it was a great burger. The venue’s bar was also available and I got to enjoy a rare treat of a cocktail! There was also plenty of free water available – something much appreciated on a hot day.

There were a number of games and competitions running (with fun prizes!) which I enjoyed. These were not only fun, but also helpful for breaking the ice, so to speak – they gave me direction and something to do when I was feeling shy and awkward. Although I was unusually child free, it was great to see what a friendly place Magic Summer was for kids. Everyone was happy and accommodating of the tiny humans’ needs, and there was some awesome-looking entertainment provided for them. Ah yes, and there was face-painting. Which was totally only for the children. I definitely did not get my face painted.

tl;dr

Magic Summer was absolutely brilliant and I really hope it happens again. It was relaxed, and fun, and different in the best of ways. A babywearing party/festival in the city? I don’t know why no-one thought of it before…

Didymos Crepelino Azur

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Didymos / crêpe

Fibre:
100% linen

Measurements:
451cm long, 67cm wide, 236gsm

Key words:
Thin, firm, solid, supportive

 

 

An open apology to all babywearers in sunny, hot climes: I’m sorry, but I just didn’t realise. I didn’t know that a baby could stick quite so disgustingly thoroughly to your back. I didn’t appreciate just how suffocating swathing yourself in a base size wrap for a Double Hammock could feel.

You see, the UK is…not exactly renowned for its summers. I mean, most years we do get one. Sort of. The temperature definitely rises, and we even get the odd week (or two in a row, in a lucky year) of blazing sunshine, cloudless-blue sky days. This year is different. This year the grass has turned to straw and the paddling pool is getting properly used. I’ve even had to buy a second bottle of suncream.

And of course, I’m still wrapping. But gosh, it’s hot. And STICKY. Although this is the best summer the UK’s had in years, it’s still not the hot humidity many of you experience on a daily basis. But, finally, I have a little taste of what it’s like for you. So I’m starting to understand just what a difference a wrap can make.

Luckily, Didymos has your back. This summer they’re bringing out a new line of 100% linen wraps. Previewed a while ago on Instagram, these have been generating a lot of chatter and interest. Linen has a reputation for being cool in warm weather, and supportive – but also for being diggy. So how does an all-linen wrap measure up?

 

 

Let’s start with the most important area, the wrapping qualities. I’ll say straight up that I really, really like Crepelino Azur. It’s got a ton of support, yet is thin and breathable. The linen is predictably firm and solid, but holds up surprisingly well to a sloppy wrap job. In fact, the only time I’ve found it diggy is when I’ve over tightened (something I can fall foul of, as I like very snug wrap jobs). I imagine a really sloppy wrap job would probably dig too, but as long as you’ve put some effort into tightening it’s surprisingly forgiving.

 

 

My toddler is 2 now, and fairly average for his age. I’ve been blown away by the sheer comfort of this wrap. From the in-hand feel (slightly rough and definitely thin) I expected to need precision wrapping, but this is such a supportive and surprisingly easygoing wrap that I’m being a little more careless in my wrapping. The crêpe weave is airy enough to be nicely breathable and the linen is wonderfully cool – in our hot summer, I’m wrapping with very little other than Azur. I rate this in any size for a baby. For a toddler, I’d prefer multilayer carries but if you don’t mind paying some attention to your tightening single layer carries are do-able.

 

 

I haven’t found it difficult to make second passes, but there’s enough grip that I notice it when making a knot. Slipknots in particular really stay put once tightened. It’s also nicely grippy through rings in a no sew RS; in fact I think it would be a really spectacular summer RS (provided you don’t mind a firm shoulder feel). Straight out of the wash Azur has quite a rough texture; this diminishes somewhat with a steam iron, and I expect it to lessen further once it’s fully broken in.

 

 

And speaking of breaking in, I’m sure you want to know how Azur is faring. Linen is, after all, generally acknowledged to be one of the harder fibres to break in, and these Crepelinos don’t even have any cotton to help them on their way. Well, it’s a tale of two halves. Azur is not quick to break in. It’s much softer that when I first got my hands on it, but it’s still not fully broken in. I think it will be just LOVELY when I get there with it…but it’s not there yet. That said, Azur is not a beast and it’s not at all difficult to wrap with or unpleasant to handle. Even in loom state Azur was easy to work with – I’d even use it with a small baby! So, don’t expect Crepelinos to break in quickly, but don’t be put off either – they’re nice to use straight away, and are only going to get more lovely the longer you use them. The all-linen blend also makes them feel reassuringly sturdy, and the Crepelino weave doesn’t seem pull prone.

 

 

Finally, of course, there’s Azur’s aesthetic. The Crepelino weave has a subtle pattern, but I really like it. Up close, it produces almost a speckled effect – very gentle and pretty. The linen has great shine, even after washing (I love looking at it in the sun). Being linen it does, of course, crease up easily – if you want to avoid permacreasing you’ll need to iron a little more regularly. You needn’t fear the lighter colours, either – it’s easy to wash and care for.

 

 

Crepelino Azur isn’t at all what I expected from the Instagram previews – it’s so much better. It’s pretty, and supportive, and sturdy, and so breathable. If you love thick and cushy or stretchy then this may not be for you, but otherwise it’s a near ideal summer wrap.

Didymos has released Crepelino in a range of deliciously enticing colours (some are still available here), and there are more all-linen weaves to come – so hot-climate babywearing friends, keep an eye on their site!

 

 

Girasol Nightfall Cuervo

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Girasol / double weft toddler twill

Fibre:
100% cotton

Measurements:
485cm long, 72cm wide, 291gsm

Key words:
Robust, supportive, comfy, vibrant

 

 

Let’s talk about friends.

Friends, like wraps, come in all different kinds. There’s the been-around-forever, reliable, call on them first in an emergency ones (Firespiral Barnacle Seafoam RS in my stash).

There’s the ones you don’t hang out with often, but whenever you do, you have a great time (this one’s my light blue wool Prima).

Then there’s the ones which are a less perfect fit for you than they were originally, but your shared history keeps you together (first wrap, anyone?).

And there’s the kind of friend who is just…instantly comfortable. They slot into your life as though they’ve been there all along.

This is Nightfall Cuervo.

 

 

Nightfall had an unceremonious introduction to my life: washed and chucked in the dryer the day before our family vacation, remembered at the last moment and stuffed around other luggage. Its first outing wasn’t special either – a quick and sloppy wrap job borne of necessity.

And yet, I barely remembered it was a new wrap. Nightfall didn’t demand my attention or require lots of effort – it just did the job, uncomplainingly, like it had been helping me soothe my toddler for months.

 

 

Straight of the box, Nightfall was a little stiff (although not intimidating). It softened up very nicely indeed with the first wash and tumble dry – it was immediately appealing to hold, with a nice heft and movement to the fabric. That’s not to say that Nightfall requires no breaking in, but it doesn’t need much, and the breaking in is pretty quick.

My immediate experience of this wrap was that it’s just so darn COMFY. It’s got great support for all-cotton, the thickness lends it a little cush, and it’s got enough mouldability to encourage good wrap jobs. It’s got that cosy, somehow comforting feel you get with some cotton wraps.

 

 

Nightfall has more grip than I expected to encounter from the feel of the weave, but it’s by no means a member of the velcro club. Second passes take a little work (I needed an elbow for the first few Double Hammocks, but it had more glide once broken in) but the grip does a great job at keeping wrap jobs snug once you’ve tied off. It’s not the airiest wrap and I wouldn’t reach for it on really hot days, but it’s fine in warm weather.

 

 

This is a fairly solid wrap, with only a little bit of give to the weave. On the whole it doesn’t feel too flat on the shoulders, saved by the cush afforded it by the thickness. The solidity did mean that before Nightfall was broken in it could occasionally be a little uncomfortable if I didn’t tighten evenly. However, once broken in I didn’t experience this any more (and during the breaking in process tightening evenly isn’t a battle).

 

 

 

Nightfall’s passes are just a little too thick and bulky to be ideal for a newborn. You can work around this with a Lexi twist, but if you don’t want to do this I’d suggest waiting until your baby is a few months old (perhaps 3 months, unless your little one is particularly small), so the passes don’t overwhelm their legs. Once you’re past these early days though – well, the world’s your oyster, so to speak. Nightfall has handled both my 22 month old and my 4 year old with absolutely no problems (in fact my toddler slept on my front in Nightfall through a 90 minute cliff walk!) – I’m always impressed when an all-cotton wrap can do this. My 4 year old was as comfy on my back as he ever is in a wrap, and he declared Nightfall to be very comfy and “definitely good for 4 year olds”(!). I found the width nicely generous for covering his tall, preschooler back.

 

 

It’s also extremely robust and sturdy. Need a picnic blanket? Nightfall has you covered. Forced to wrap in a muddy field or by thornbushes? Nightfall can handle it. I don’t baby my wraps, but do tend to be a little cautious with them at times. I felt no need to do that with Nightfall. If I was running from the zombie apocalypse, this is the sort of wrap I’d want with me.

 

 

But of course, those are the wrapping qualities.

Nightfall’s aesthetic…well, in terms of this, Nightfall isn’t comfortably familiar. No, Nightfall is like the friend whose style you always admire, the friend who’s cool without trying.

Just look at this colour grad. Think it looks good? It’s better in person. The colours are stunning: opulent and rich with wonderful depth. I love the way the colours play off against each other as they mix in different wrap jobs. I’ve also loved being able to choose a different look depending on which rail I choose to be my top rail (I’m pretty firmly #teamyellow, although I have ventured to the dark side a few times).

 

 

This grad is excellent for new wrappers learning to tighten, or more experienced wrappers learning new carries. Although the colours all compliment each other very nicely, they’re also distinct – it’s so quick to figure out where you need to tug to remove that pocket of slack. And despite the vibrancy of the colours, Nightfall actually hides mud and dirt pretty effectively. You’ll find a few small nubs and irregularities here and there, as with all Girasols: I think these give the wrap some extra character, and are a nice reminder that Giras are handwoven.

 

 

Comfy, hardwearing and hardworking and just plain joyful to look at: Nightfall has a lot to recommend it…and I think we’ll rather miss it.

Nightfall Cuervo is an exclusive for the Baby Carrier Boutique in Canada (but luckily for you, they ship worldwide). You can get your hands on your own zombie-apocalypse-defying wrap here. And if you think Nightfall Cuervo just won’t flatter your skintone as you run for shelter, check out the different wefts available.

 

Didymos Prima Monochrome Hemp

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Didymos / Prima

Fibre:
75% cotton, 25% hemp

Measurements:
438cm long, 67cm wide, 232 gsm

Key words:
Classy, airy, tough, mouldable

 

 

How can I break thee in? Let me count the ways…

That’s an appropriate beginning really – for, though it may not sound like it, this is the start of a love story.

 

 

When Monochrome first arrived, that’s not what I thought I’d be saying. It was nice enough to look at, but as soon as I touched it – wow, you know it’s a hemp blend. It was stiff and rough – oh, so rough. After a wash, tumble dry and steam iron, Monochrome was ready to wrap with – but nowhere near broken in.

Before you click away or write off this wrap as something you’d never want – hang in there! Remember, this is a love story…

Monochrome isn’t unpleasant to wrap with when it’s not broken in – it’s pliable enough and you can certainly get a comfy wrap job. It’s just…not special, not inspiring. But the key with hemp, I’ve learned is time. It’s patience.

 

 

Monochrome lost its stiffness reasonably quickly, becoming decently mouldable within a week, and nicely drape-y within 2 weeks. Where this wrap is stubborn is in its softness. If you’ve ever owned a really broken in hemp wrap, you know that they can be just wonderful – buttery soft and delicious. It’s a good job I knew this, because Monochrome hangs on to its hemp roughness like it’s a liferaft.

 

 

But you know what? I’m stubborn too. I wasn’t about to let a wrap beat me. So, I wrapped with it. I slept with it. I played tug o’ war with it. I tumbled it on cold. And finally, one day, I grabbed it to throw my son onto my back for the nursery run – and there it was. The softness. And right then, I started to fall for this wrap.

 

 

The hemp buttery-ness is worth waiting for. It’s soft, and delightful to handle. The drape is wonderful and the mouldability is, too – snug wrap jobs are a breeze with Monochrome.

 

 

And talking of a breeze, Monochrome is so nicely airy. This is really an inherent characteristic of the Prima weave, and I love it. Combined with its 232 gsm, I think Monochrome is going to be superb through the warmer spring and summer months.

 

 

The 25% hemp in this blend is just what’s needed to give that 232gsm weight an extra ‘oomph’ of support. Whilst I wouldn’t reach for it with my preschooler, I enjoyed this in both single and multilayer carries with my toddler. The support is of the firmer, flatter variety, but at no point did I find Monochrome diggy (even before it was properly broken in). It’s got plenty of glide, so – believe it or not – once it’s broken in, this is an easygoing wrap which doesn’t make you work for a decent wrap job. It also feels tough, hardwearing. I haven’t been afraid to work Monochrome hard or drag it through the mud, and it’s stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it. It’s just so dependable and reliable (I’ve yet to get a bad or uncomfortable wrap job with it).

 

 

 

And finally, there’s Monochrome’s aesthetic. True black, crisp white – this high contrast Prima manages to be both striking and classy. It’s easy to feel elegant in Monochrome and it would be a great black-tie event option. Yet it also goes with everything in my wardrobe and doesn’t look out of place with a tee and leggings (my standard daily look).

Monochrome, as it turns out, is a darn good wrap.

 

 

And so, as my frustration with Monochrome (why won’t you BREAK IN??) turned to love, it feels appropriate to end with lines from another love poem. This one, by E.E.Cummings, has always seemed rather appropriate for babywearing.

 

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear…)

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life:which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

Prima Monochrome Hemp is available to purchase here: https://www.didymos.com/en/Babywearing/DIDYMOS-Baby-Wrap-Sling/Prima/Baby-Wrap-Sling-Prima-Monochrome-Hemp.html

 

Didymos DidyGo Onbuhimo Zephyr

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / carrier / weave:
Didymos / DidyGo Onbuhimo / Zephyr

Fibre:
Straps and panel, 100% cotton

Measurements:
N/A

Key words:
Light, compact, easy to use, convenient

 

I’m a wrapper. I knew it from the moment I tried my first stretchy wrap. I loved it. I never even considered an alternative; I knew wrapping was for me. Wraps were all I touched for the first 7 months of my baby’s life.

When I ventured into the world of soft structured carriers (SSCs), it was to find a carrier for my husband. I tried it too, of course, but it was never as comfortable for me as my wraps. I could see the appeal and the convenience of it: but no, it wasn’t enough to win me over.

So when Didymos asked me to review their new DidyGo Onbuhimo, I was curious and excited. You see, an onbuhimo feels very different to a SSC when worn. I wondered: could this win me over, as SSCs never have?

 

 

When the onbuhimo arrived, I opened it impatiently. The first up was not quite disastrous…but it really wasn’t good. The straps dragged on my shoulders, my back ached within minutes. I was thoroughly disheartened. Then I remembered: I’m a beginner. I can grab a wrap and evaluate it quickly, because I’m experienced. But an onbuhimo? This was my first time.

I went back to basics: I watched tutorials, joined a great Facebook group recommended by a friend and read up on tips. My biggest mistake, I quickly learned, was that I’d had the carrier too low. I thought my toddler was high enough, but he wasn’t. So I tried again. And – thank goodness – it was better!

 

 

My toddler adored being so high up! He felt very secure, and this time both of us were comfortable. I enjoyed the lack of pressure around my stomach (I often ruck tied tibetan for this reason), and I can see how useful the lack of waistbelt would be when pregnant. The straps were pleasantly padded and squishy. Although we don’t need it, I love the cinchable base (which makes this adjustable for babies), and my preschooler commented on how much he liked the padding underneath his knees. I like a very snug wrap job and the onbuhimo achieved a similar feel (it’s not unlike a ruck TAS).

 

 

That said, the way the weight of my toddler loaded through the shoulder straps was still different to my woven wraps, and I did find I couldn’t carry for as long as I would in a ruck. Similarly, my husband found the weight distribution very different to his normal SSC and felt he would choose the onbuhimo for short, quick trips rather than long walks. From reading around, I gather that an onbuhimo requires you to use a different set of muscles and most wearers find their stamina builds up gradually.

 

 

Even without building up my stamina, I’ve enjoyed Didymos’ onbuhimo more than I expected. It’s so light and compact – it doesn’t take up much space in my bag, and barely adds any weight. I found it really helpful for running errands, when short ups are often required. I’d normally stash a ring sling in my bag for these occasions, but it’s actually more useful to have my toddler on my back – so the DidyGo is a great alternative. It’s so easy to put on, I found it just as fast as using a ring sling. And even better than a ring sling: my toddler couldn’t pop his seat in the onbuhimo.

 

 

So that’s the carrier: how about the wrap fabric? I’d seen photos of Zephyr and thought it looked lovely, but my word, they didn’t do it justice! This is an absolutely stunning design. I love how the segmented star design adds the impression of depth, and the way in which the stars interlock is fascinating to look at. The colours are just amazing – they’re not a traditional, primary set of rainbow colours, but neither are they pastel. Rather, they’re just ever so slightly soft or muted, with a hint of vintage colouring. I absolutely adore it.

 

 

I have been pleasantly surprised by Didymos’ onbuhimo. Although I wouldn’t currently choose it for a long hike, it’s wonderful for quick ups around the house and running errands. It’s incredibly compact and convenient, and wonderfully fast to put on. If you’re curious, I absolutely recommend giving it a go – maybe you’ll be surprised, too!

 

I’ll wrap up with a few tips for those new to onbuhimos (like me!):

  • When people say onbuhimos are designed to be worn high, they’re not kidding. Aim for your child’s shoulders to be level with your own. If you’re used to SSCs or low back carries like a Double Hammock, this will feel ridiculously high. Go with it anyway: it’ll be more comfortable that way.
  • When you put your child on your back, boost them up high and then remove their weight from the straps before tightening. This will allow you to get the straps very snug (as they need to be). I found leaning over and supporting my child’s bottom with my hand to be the easiest way to do this.
  • Join a good Facebook group and read up on tips and techniques (I highly recommend this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/onbulove/). Learn how an onbuhimo should look when it’s positioned and tightened correctly – then, next time you use yours, look in the mirror to see if you need to change anything.

 

You can find the range of Didymos onbuhimos available to purchase here: https://www.didymos.com/en/Babywearing/Didy-Onbuhimo/

 

Marisso Caver Sky Blue

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Marisso / Caver

Fibre:
59% Egyptian cotton, 41% combed cotton

Measurements:
478cm long , 65.5cm wide, 322gsm

Key words:
Soft, supportive, workhorse

 

 

I’m thinking of a spring day. The air still isn’t all that warm, but the sun is warm enough that you can lie on the grass outside. You put your head down on the grass, and as you breathe in its fresh scent, you look straight up at the sky. It’s not the brilliant blue of summer – no, it’s that light, slightly hazy springtime blue. Fluffy, insubstantial clouds are gently drifting around, and contrails are fuzzing out to soft edges. Are you with me? Can you see it too?

 

 

 

Because that’s what this wrap looks like. That spring-fresh blue, with soft white mixed in. Sky Blue isn’t just a name for this wrap – it’s an entirely appropriate description. The soothing colourway is well paired with the design – gently curving lines make up a large design reminiscent of leaves or feathers. The design feels deliberately nebulous, leaving you space to interpret the lines for yourself (much like spotting shapes in clouds).

 

 

With its soft aesthetic, you might expect Caver Sky Blue’s wrapping qualities to follow suit. Certainly, it’s gorgeously soft – so soft, in fact, that it has an almost silky quality to it. However, that’s where the similarity ends. Because Sky Blue is a wonderfully unexpected workhorse.

 

 

 

Heavy in hand, with lovely drape, Caver Sky Blue has a moderately dense weave. It doesn’t feel like it will acquire pulls easily – it’s sturdy, robust. This does mean it’s not the most breathable wrap (I doubt I’d use it on hot days), but the trade off for this is a brilliant level of support. My toddler was so comfortable in Sky Blue. Front, back, single layer, multi-layer – every variation I tried, my toddler’s weight was well handled and my shoulders were happy.

 

 

Sky Blue has a nice little bit of stretch which made it very comfortable to wear. If I wasn’t careful when tightening my preschooler it could sometimes slip over from stretch into sag, but not many wrappers will be challenging Sky Blue with a 4 year old! Despite the silky softness of the cotton, the pattern provided a good bit of grip – overall, I found this to be very nicely balanced on the midpoint of glide/grip.

 

 

Caver Sky Blue is a really lovely wrap. If you’re looking for a bigger baby/toddler toting workhorse which still pulls off a gentle aesthetic, this could just be the all-rounder you’re looking for.

 

Didymos Silva

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Didymos / Silva

Fibre:
78% cotton, 12% linen, 10% silk

Measurements:
488cm long , 67cm wide, 324gsm

Key words:
Cushy, supportive

 

 

EEEEE!

You’ll have to forgive me. I know, opening a review with a squeal is not ideal. But I have been so excited to get the chance to review this wrap! Didymos has previewed/teased Silva a number of times, and each time I have been intrigued by it. So, let’s find out: has Silva lived up to my expectations?

 

 

When you first handle this wrap, you don’t think of it as heavyweight. It has a gauzy texture and feels bouncy, full of air – voluminous, but not heavy. So I was surprised to find that this weighs in at a pretty hefty 324gsm. The secret behind this magic trick? Double weave, a technique which creates two independent layers of fabric regularly joined together via the pattern.

 

 

Double weave can, if desired, produce a completely different colourway on each side (or ‘face’) of the wrap (Didymos’ Fiorentino is a good example of this). With Silva, Didymos have opted for a more subtle approach. At first glance, you might assume that this wrap has just two colours – cream and green. However, a closer examination reveals that there are actually two different shades of green. One face of the wrap has warm-toned green silk, and the other has slightly darker, cooler-toned green linen. Both shades are stunning, and compliment each other wonderfully well. Rather than competing with each other, the two greens work harmoniously together to add depth to the overall colourway. I have to say, I like it very much indeed.

 

 

This leaf design is new for Didymos, and the wrap’s name – Silva – is inspired by it (Silva is Latin for ‘forest’ or ‘woodland’). The design, particularly in this gentle colourway, isn’t bold or attention-grabbing. Rather, it’s elegant. It’s refined. If wraps were used by the characters of Jane Austen novels, they might look something like this. I can imagine Jane Bingley fashioning it into a classic FWCC as she heads out to make her afternoon social calls.

 

 

Even in loom state Silva is smooshy in hand, and after a wash it fluffs up even more. As you might expect from this description, Silva is a cushy wrap. A very cushy wrap. The shoulder-feel is delightfully comfy. There’s a little bit of bounce and movement in the weave too, and this adds to the pleasantly cushioned feel – there’s nothing flat or hard about Silva. As it breaks in I also expect it to get deliciously soft!

 

 

The gauze-like weave feels quite textured in hand, so I wondered whether it might be very grippy. However, Silva actually has wonderful glide and is very easy to tighten. So often, heavy-weight wraps can be a little intimidating for new wrappers. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Silva to beginners – it’s lovely to work with. Along with the glide, Silva is surprisingly mouldable, easily giving me a very snug chest pass in a Double Hammock. This is a quality which I love, but tend to associate with thinner wraps, so finding it in a thick wrap is wonderful.

 

 

These qualities all make Silva a wonderfully comfortable and supportive wrap to use. I tried it in a Front Cross Carry, ruck, Double Hammock and no-sew ring sling with both my 20 month old toddler and 4 year preschooler – and it was comfortable every single time. Yes, every single time. This makes Silva one of the most versatile wraps I’ve ever tried.

 

 

In multilayer carries I barely noticed my toddler’s weight, but I would have no hesitation using Silva in single layer carries with him. When wrapping my preschooler I (unsurprisingly) preferred multi-layer carries, but I was also very impressed with the level of comfort achieved in single layer carries. Shorty or base size – this is a wrap which really will shine in every length. Silva’s combination of cush and mouldability even make it a great ring sling.

 

 

Though it may not feel heavy, Silva is still a thick wrap and produces a fairly bulky knot. This didn’t bother me but is something to keep in mind, particularly if you’re used to thinner wraps. I do feel that the overall bulk is not quite ideal for a newborn, as the bunched passes may overwhelm very tiny legs. Unlike other thick wraps, however, the mouldability is so good that I think Silva would be a good option for a small baby, as well as a superb choice for toddlers and preschoolers.

 

 

Here in the UK we’ve been waiting and waiting for spring to arrive, and I’m still not sure we’re quite there yet. But Silva’s gentle colouring makes me think of the first fresh leaves on the trees, and its fluffy lightness has a delicacy which reminds me of the apple blossom we pass on the way to my son’s nursery. Yes, it’s still chilly here, and it snowed this past weekend. But with Silva, I feel like I’m already holding my own little piece of spring.

 

Didymos Tranquility

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Didymos / Tranquility

Fibre:
50% cotton, 50% linen

Measurements:
457cm long , 66cm wide, 379gsm

Key words:
Thick, supportive, shine

 

 

I’ve been babywearing for 4 years now. It’s a decent stint of time; a little over 12% of my life! In that time I’ve tried many wraps. Thick wraps, thin wraps, easy care and luxury blends, no pattern and highly patterned. I’ve been around the wrapping block, you might say.

 

 

Having tried such a variety of wraps, these days not many of them seem unusual. But this wrap. Ah, this wrap. I knew Tranquility was a bit special from the moment I opened the box.

 

Tranquility has truly amazingly thick linen threads. Take a good look at the close-up photos. Those cotton threads may seem oddly delicate, but they’re a normal size. It’s the linen which is different: generous, substantial, super-sized! And in loom state, that linen has the most incredible shine. It’s like liquid gold, shimmering and almost glowing. It’s captivating.

 

Loom state shine

 

Loom state shine

 

This same linen is also stiff, rough and not a little intimidating in loom state. So, how does a wash, dry and iron change it? Well, Tranquility’s linen continues to behave unusually in that it becomes very fluffy and starts to pill immediately. I found the pilling (and shedding of the pilling) continued for around a week as I broke it in. The pilling diminished the shine considerably, but as the linen broke in (with the fibres smoothing out) it regained most of its shimmer.

 

 

The linen softened a little after Tranquility’s first wash and iron, but was still pretty rough. I expected breaking in this wrap to be quite a challenge and was somewhat daunted – but was then pleasantly surprised to find that it actually look much less work than expected. And once broken in, the linen transformed! Where it was initially stiff and rough, Tranquility became soft, floppy and malleable – lovely to handle and enjoyable to wrap with.

 

 

So what about the rest of the wrapping qualities? Well, let’s start with the grip. Tranquility is fascinating: it’s fairly textured, but not because the weave is inherently textured. Instead, it’s because of the difference between the thinner cotton threads and the super thick linen threads. It brought to mind topographical relief maps – if those had texture, I think they would feel like Tranquility, with ‘high’ and ‘low’ sections. Because of this unique type of texture Tranquility isn’t actually all that grippy (I’d rate the grip as medium). Particularly with the linen broken in, it’s got decent glide – the second pass of a DH was absolutely no problem.

 

 

There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a thick, thick wrap. Some people will love that, some will loathe it. However, for all the wrappers out there who run a mile from thick (and I’m normally one of them), I’ll say this: it doesn’t wrap like its gsm. Once broken in, the bunched passes (although still sizeable) are not the treetrunks I’d expected. And you don’t need to warm-up in preparation for a wrapping workout; Tranquility is malleable and really very nice to use. In return for braving the 379gsm linen, you get fantastic support. Tranquility handled my preschooler with consummate ease.

 

 

The linen is solid, but the weave is pretty airy and has some nice movement. Overall I wouldn’t call this a wrap with stretch or bounce, but it has enough give to avoid feeling rock solid on your shoulders. I half expected Tranquility to be pull-prone, but dragging it around a field with little caution generated only 2 small, easily fixed pulls. This sturdy wrap isn’t one you need to baby: throw your worst at it, Tranquility can take it.

 

 

Having started with Tranquility’s beautiful shine, it’s now time to return for a final overview of its design. The colour is one of those fascinating combinations which changes with distance: up close you can see the lovely gold of the linen juxtaposed against black and white cotton, but from further away these colours all blend to a denim-blue tone. The pattern is organic and full of movement. To some people it’s a little like snakeskin, but it reminded me of ripples on water.

 

 

So, final recommendations. Do you have a small baby? You’ll probably want to wait a few months before taking the plunge. Older baby? You might find Tranquility a little bulky on their legs, but not too bad. Toddler or preschooler? GO GET THIS WRAP. Honestly, it’s lovely to use, beautiful to look at, an easy-care blend and just so, so supportive. I think this would make a wonderful RS and I’m terribly tempted to get one for myself. It was also wonderful in base size, and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it as a shorty. Whatever size you go for, try it if you can. I rather suspect wrappers will be talking about Tranquility for some time to come.

 

Miloves Slings Rosette Midnight Pearl

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Miloves Slings / Rosette

Fibre:
100% combed cotton

Measurements:
490cm long , 67cm wide, approx. 293gsm

Key words:
Glide, soft, classy

For years I’ve admired the style of Audrey Hepburn. Classy, elegant and stylish – and yet still a little bit bold, not playing it too safe. In my opinion, it’s a winning combination, but one which it’s hard to capture.

Yet that’s what Miloves Slings seems to have done with Rosette Midnight Pearl. The colour choice is bold: a true white with only the slightest cool, greyish cast added by the black weft. The white side catches any natural light really nicely, and towards the end of the day you can get some lovely colours showing on it, reflected from the sun. The monochrome palette produces a striking look for both sides of the wrap. Yet the design – swooping dots forming a large stylized flower – softens the look, adding that Hepburn sense of elegance. To me the design is reminiscent of drapes of pearls. It is, without doubt, a very classy sling.

In case you were worrying that Midnight Pearl is only about the looks – fear not, the classiness is carried through into its wrapping qualities. It’s a luxuriously soft wrap (the white side particularly so; it almost has a nap to it and invites you to stroke it). As you handle it, you’ll likely notice its beautiful drape – that wonderful balance of thickness and mouldability which seems to make Midnight Pearl fall nicely however it’s placed.

I know (through my own, frustrated experience!) that elegance isn’t always an easy thing to achieve, but thankfully Midnight Pearl won’t make you fight for a nice wrap job. This wrap has a whole heap of glide, making second passes absolutely no issue whatsoever. I was delighted to find I could get pretty much a perfect chest pass in a DH with no effort. This much glide means I did find I had to pin Midnight Pearl’s tails tightly between my legs when wrapping to avoid slippage – however, once tied off, it stayed put. The glide makes it simple to get tight, precise, second-skin type wrap jobs. It also makes it easy to tie off with a tight, comfortable knot (this may seem like a small thing, but no-one likes battling with a knot when they’ve finally finished their wrap job!).

Midnight Pearl has a little bit of give but isn’t notably stretchy. It’s comfortable on the shoulders, but not markedly cushy. If you like a very stretchy or cushy wrap, this probably isn’t the one for you. However, Midnight Pearl is a great all rounder. The weave is quite tight and doesn’t seem particularly prone to pulls. As mentioned above, it’s got lovely drape, and is malleable and mouldable – and this makes it really easy to work with.

At 293gsm, Midnight Pearl has enough heft and support to comfortably carry my toddler. I found I preferred multi-layer carries with his weight, but single layer carries weren’t uncomfortable. Yet despite tipping the scales at the heavier end of medium weight, I wouldn’t have any hesitation over using this wrap with a small baby. Its glide and mouldability are characteristics which lend themselves well to squish wrapping. And of course, there’s the comforting, reassuring softness, which makes Midnight Pearl very appealing as a wrap to use with a smaller baby.

Rosette Midnight Pearl really is a lovely wrap. A good all-rounder, it can carry both your baby and your toddler. It can travel with you through your everyday life, but then be dressed up for a smart event. And it does it all with class. Did I swoosh around pretending to be Audrey Hepburn in this wrap? I couldn’t possibly comment. But the fact that I’d even consider doing so – in my pyjamas and just-out-of-bed rumpled hair – says a lot.

At the time of writing, Rosette Midnight Pearl is still in stock! If you fancy grabbing one for yourself, you can find it in the Miloves Slings online shop.

Happy Fluffy Anna

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
HappyFluffy / handwoven

Fibre:
100% cotton

Measurements:
370cm long (plus 6cm fringes), 69.5cm wide, approx. 226gsm

Key words:
Thin, airy, mouldable, vibrant

 

 

You may recall that I recently tested another of HappyFluffy’s wraps, Diamond Coal. Proving that HappyFluffy can boast variety in its wrap offerings, Anna is substantially different to Coal – always a nice experience!

 

 

Anna is a handwoven, with a very pretty weave – pleasantly detailed and intricate. The weave pattern provides nice visual texture and is a good counterpoint to the simple stripe colour pattern. The striking black fringing adds extra elegance and I found myself opting for carries to show this off! Anna’s colours are perfect for this time of year – a rich plum and royal blue, with the black warp adding extra tonal depth. It’s a strong, beautifully vibrant set of colours.

 

 

 

By contrast, the wrapping qualities are very gentle, well suited to newborns and smaller babies. Anna is nicely soft, moderately thin, and mouldable. The weave is very airy, something which I think is a real benefit when wrapping newborns who can overheat so easily. It’s got a fair amount of stretch (although I didn’t notice much bounce). Despite the textured look of the weave, Anna is actually pretty smooth and has a lot of glide.

 

 

 

The drawbacks? Well, Anna is definitely more of a baby than a toddler wrap. I could get away with my young toddler’s weight in multi-layer carries, but it wouldn’t be my first choice, and in a few months more I suspect it might feel a little diggy. The glide translated into slipperiness at times for me, and I found this also meant Anna was also somewhat pull prone (I tended to be cautious wrapping with it outside).

 

 

 

But not every wrap is going to walk that delicate line which makes them suitable for toddlers and babies alike – and Anna is a great wrap for small babies. My lovely model adored using this wrap with her tiny little one, finding it soft, comfortable and easy to use. If you’re in the market for a beautiful, soft squish wrap, Anna is worth considering!