Liora Rae Wovens Bloom

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Liora Rae Wovens / Bloom

Fibre:
24% Egyptian cotton, 76% combed cotton

Measurements:
396cm long, 67cm wide, 289gsm

Key words:
Stretch, bounce, recoil, cush, supportive

 

I should start off with a warning. If you’re looking for a measured review, with staid language and a modest description of this wrap’s qualities, step away now. This review is not that.

Because I’m a tiny bit in love with Bloom.

 

 

I knew this was something special as soon as I pulled the wrap from its bag. Bloom has a texture unlike anything I’ve felt before. I spent a few days puzzling over its unplaceable familiarity before I realised that it reminds me of expensive tea towels…! That may not sound like a good thing, but trust me, it is. The texture is like a micro waffle, and is not rough but somehow a little coarse. It’s surprisingly pleasant in hand (I’m texture sensitive and loathe highly textured wraps), feeling reassuringly sturdy.

 

 

The other dominant in-hand feel is pure, glorious SMOOSH. I could squish Bloom in my hands all day long. In fact, I loved carries with some extra tail, because it allowed me to walk around squishing and testing the satisfyingly springy smoosh factor again and again. Did I look somewhat odd, as though I was trying to juice fabric? Probably, but I enjoyed it so much I just couldn’t help myself.

 

 

Once I’d assessed Bloom’s in-hand feel, I shook it out so I could take in the design. I normally hate large, frothy florals – they’re about as far away as you can get from my preferred geometric designs, and they almost make my skin crawl. I’m aware that’s something of an extreme reaction (!) but I’m owning up to it so you can understand why it’s unusual that I fell for Bloom. I expected the floral element of this wrap to feel pretty chintzy, but it really doesn’t. It’s oversized, and the detailing this allows for makes it look almost like a botanical illustration (which I just adore). The juxtaposition against, and interplay with the large diamond/chevron background is fascinating.

 

 

These colours are some of my favourites, so there was no chance I wasn’t going to love them. The light sage/mint and heather grey are soft, cool and complement each other beautifully. The colours have a tendency to look a little washed out in photos, rather than conveying the subtle, refined softness you experience in person. The touch of white picks out detailing, adding extra tonal depth and interest. As a finishing flourish to this lovely colourway, I found that in sunlight it has a slightly luminous quality. It’s truly, truly lovely.

 

 

Let’s step back into my journey to total adoration with Bloom. Thus far, this wrap had intrigued and then beguiled me with its in-hand feel, and seduced me with its looks. I was already feeling enthusiastic, but Bloom was about to seal the deal.

I wrapped with it.

Guys, this wrap is the stuff of my dreams. It’s got incredible stretch and recoil. I’ve previously described the bounce of thick Didymos Liscas as being like shock absorbers. Bloom is like Liscas on steroids. It really hugs you; the recovery from its stretch lends it wonderful movement without the wrap sagging one bit. If you’re ever wondering what true bounce with great recoil is, try this wrap. It exemplifies those qualities so perfectly that I could almost explode with excitement as I try to explain it to you. As I wore it, I kept picturing my son’s ball on an elastic string, which boingingings back perfectly each time it’s bounced. The bounce/recoil of Bloom is so good that it almost feels engineered.

 

 

 

The support of Bloom is pretty darn fantastic, too. I found it perfectly comfy in single layer carries, and in multi layer carries my toddler became blissfully weightless. That smoosh I couldn’t stop squishing makes for a wonderful shoulder feel. Never once did I feel a hint of digginess. In fact, the combination of support, smoosh and bounce make Bloom a fabulously forgiving wrap which handles sloppy wrap jobs gracefully.

 

 

Despite its slightly coarse texture, Bloom isn’t an overly grippy wrap. It walks the line between grip and glide rather expertly, finding a sweet spot between the two which makes second passes no worry, but holds wrap jobs and slipknots nicely in place.

 

 

To top it all off, Bloom is wonderful, easy-care cotton. As it’s not the tightest of weaves (it did acquire a few pulls during my week with it), I perhaps wouldn’t quite class it as a beater – but it’s great to know that any stains acquired will be easy to launder.

 

 

Now I’ve waxed lyrical, you probably want to hear about Bloom’s downsides. Well, whilst not dense, it’s not a thin or notably airy wrap – you might not reach for it immediately in hot weather. It’s a little pull prone. But its biggest drawback is that it might just make any other wraps you own seem redundant.

One and done? Shockingly, for this wrap collector, that suddenly seems possible…

 

Wrapping Qualities Explained

 

Last weekend I had the privilege of helping to run a workshop with Tina Hoffman at at The Wrap Show. Together, we explored the language the babywearing community commonly uses to describe wrapping qualities, defining terms and discussing what they really mean.

 

Handling a variety of wraps which exemplified the different qualities was something the workshop attendees found very helpful. I’d love to offer that to everyone reading this post, but sadly, we can’t feel wraps through the internet…! So instead, here’s my best take on terms commonly used to describe wrapping qualities. I hope it’s helpful. If you have questions, or comments, please do let me know – the discussion during the workshop was so interesting and engaging. As a community, I feel it benefits both seasoned and new babywearers to think about the language we use to help us understand the wraps we use.

 

Tina also shared some really interesting insights into wrap fibres and fibre care, and how this can also impact on wrapping qualities – but I won’t attempt to summarise that here, as her expertise far outstrips mine!

 

Thick
Opposite of thin

Mainly used to describe the in-hand feel of a wrap. Feels substantial and heavyweight when holding it. Will produce a large knot. Often (but not always) has a high gsm.

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos November’s Mist, Natibaby Indigo Indivisibility Cloak

 

Thin
Opposite of thick

Mainly used to describe the in-hand feel of a wrap. Feels lightweight, sometimes even delicate when holding it. Will produce a small knot. Often (but not always) has a low gsm.

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Cashmere Silk Ellipsen, Oscha Paradise Erraid, Didymos Kupfer Graphit Prima

 

Airy
Opposite of dense

Loose, open weave which allows air to move easily through it. When held up to a light source, the openness of an airy weave is particularly obvious. Often (but not always) a thinner wrap, lightweight in hand.

Other words often used: breathable, cool

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Ada Ocean, Didymos Acqua Waves

 

Dense
Opposite of airy

A close, tight weave. Dense wraps tend to feel warmer when wearing.

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Carmin Fische, Natibaby Indigo Indivisibility Cloak

 

Smooth
Opposite of textured

This typically describes the in-hand feel and look of a wrap. When you run your hand along a smooth wrap, you don’t notice much variation in texture. Smooth wraps even sometimes feel silky in hand. A smooth wrap is often smooth due to its weave, but can also be smooth because of the fibres used. Certain types of silk are very smooth, as is bamboo and tencel.

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Tinge Garden Ivy, Didymos Natural Silk Nino (mulberry), Didymos Natural Silk Millefiori, Didymos Agave

 

Textured
Opposite of smooth

This typically describes the in-hand feel and look of a wrap. When you run your hand along a textured wrap, it will feel bumpy. This is often because the weave has large variations in its thickness, as part of the pattern, but can also be because of the type of fibres used. A wrap which has not yet been broken in is also more likely to feel textured (and this may change as the wrap is broken in).

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Bebe Sachi Khadi, Didymos November’s Mist, Woven Wings Spearmint Tea Lace, Firespiral Barnacle Aqua Seafoam

 

Grip
Opposite of glide

This is a quality experienced when wrapping, best described as resistance when tightening. It is particularly noticeable when the wrap is moving across itself (e.g. in the second pass of a Double Hammock). Grippy wraps can be harder to knot. High texture wraps are often grippy.

Other words often used: velcro-like

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos November’s Mist, Bebe Sachi Khadi

 

Glide
Opposite of grip

This is a quality experienced when wrapping, best described as low resistance/friction when tightening. As with grip, it is particularly noticeable when the wrap is moving across itself. Smooth, low-texture wraps often have good glide.

Other words often used: smooth, slippery

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Natural Silk Nino (mulberry), Didymos Agave, Didymos Natural Silk Millefiori

(Slippery: so much glide that passes do not hold easily in place, and very firm knots are required to prevent the wrap from moving and slackening. Often a slippery wrap will not hold a slipknot well [or even at all].)


Stretch
Opposite of solid

Stretch is the elasticity of a wrap – how it stretches out as you are pulling to tighten it. This quality can often be noticed from the in-hand feel of a wrap, but is most experienced whilst wrapping.

Other words often used: elasticity

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Liscas

 

Bounce
Opposite of solid

Bounce is related to stretch. They key difference is that when stretched, a bouncy wrap will ‘recover’ or spring back (to varying degrees). This is often most noticed once you have completed your wrap job and tied off. A bouncy wrap will move with you, and allow your child to move up and down a little with your movement (even if you have tightened very well). It can feel a little like the wrap is hugging you, or like shock absorbers.

Other words often used: movement, springiness, stretch, elasticity

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Flamingo Lisca, Didymos Light Blue Wool Prima

 

Solid
Opposite of bounce and stretch

A solid wrap does not have much bounce/stretch. When wearing, it feels firm and often sturdy. A tight wrap job will hold your child very closely to you, almost making it feel as though they are glued to you when you move.

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Carmin Fische, Didymos Agave

 

Mouldability
A mouldable wrap holds closely to your own and your baby’s bodies, following the shapes and curves. It is supple, malleable and has a fluid drape. Broken in wraps are more like to be mouldable (and a wrap which is not initially mouldable may become so after breaking in).

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos original Ada, Woven Wings Blue Sapphire Geo, Didymos Natural Silk Nino, Didymos Lisca Minos

 

Cush
Cush is a particularly difficult term to define – it’s used widely, often with slightly different meanings depending on who is using it. It’s worth bearing this in mind when you see it used. Cush is commonly used to describe the feeling of a wrap on your shoulders – a cushy wrap will feel a little cushioned, or spongey. It will be comfortable, and will not feel flat/hard. It will not dig into your shoulders.

Wrap(s) which exemplify this: Didymos Flamingo Lisca