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.

 

Lovaloom Petalon Elin

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Lovaloom / Petalon

Fibre:
61% Pima cotton, 33% bourette silk, 6% seacell

Measurements:
491cm long, 66cm wide, 341gsm

Key words:
Thick, supportive, grippy

 

 

Trying a new wrap brand is always exciting. I’ve been watching Lovaloom’s releases for a while now, and enjoying their aesthetic – so I jumped at the opportunity to experience one of their wraps in person.

 

 

The Petalon weave is a stylized flower petal pattern with plenty of movement in it. To me, it’s also slightly reminiscent of baroque patterns. The scale is nicely considered: small enough that the pattern is beautifully on show, but large enough not to overwhelm with detail. It’s a really elegant design, and easy to wear with almost any outfit. I enjoy the detailing of “Lovaloom” being written along the hemmed rails – the font is elegant and it’s a lovely touch. Elin does have the giant care tags which so many wraps are required to have now, but you can easily roll it up and stitch it discreetly out of the way if it bothers you.

 

 

The colour of Elin is truly gorgeous. The natty colour is just the right creamy shade to offset the wonderfully fresh and vibrant purple. There are beautiful little blue-purple and magenta slubby nubs in the purple, creating a stunning speckled effect. The nubs add a lot of texture, but even without them Elin is a textured wrap. You can trace the petal patterns with your fingers, feeling the bumps and indentations. Overall, it really is a beautiful wrap – I’ve had a number of people comment on its striking looks whilst I was wearing it.

 

 

Elin doesn’t disappoint when it comes to its wrapping qualities, matching its beauty with solid support and softness. The blend of Pima cotton (softer than standard cotton thanks to its extra long staples), silk and seacell is deliciously strokeable. It’s one of the best wraps I’ve tried in terms of support – it’s got no issues hauling heavy loads (I’ve carried my 3 year old on my front with wonderful ease in Elin). The wrap’s support is complemented by some great cush, particularly noticeable on the shoulders in back carries.

 

 

The trade-off for this level of support is a thick wrap with a tight weave, making it fairly dense. This isn’t inherently a bad thing (although I tend to prefer thinner wraps myself), but does mean it’s not terribly breathable. I imagine this might be a warm wrap to wear in hot weather, leaving you reaching for an alternative in the summer months.

 

 

Elin is a moderately grippy wrap. Making a second pass in a Double Hammock takes a little work (as does tying a knot), but once completed, carries stay put. I generally dislike grippy wraps but wasn’t too put off by Elin, and if grip is a quality you like I think you’ll really enjoy this wrap. Elin is fairly solid but has a little stretch when wrapping, which translates to a little bit of movement once you tie off. This extra give-and-take is definitely a nice touch to balance out the solidity, and contributes to Elin’s nice cush. Despite its grip and solidity, Elin is a fairly easy wrap to work with – and it makes lovely shoulder pleats!

 

 

Overall, Petalon Elin is a great wrap. Due to its thickness, solidity and grip, I think it works best for older babies, and really shines with toddlers. If you like Elin’s wrapping qualities then you could use it with a younger baby, although I’d recommend waiting a few months to ensure the bulk of the wrap doesn’t overwhelm tiny legs. Combining comfort and practicality with striking, head-turning looks, Elin is a thoroughly enjoyable wrap.

 

Have you tried any Lovaloom wraps? How to they compare to Elin’s wrapping qualities? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Didymos Ada Natur

 

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Didymos / Ada

Fibre:
68% cotton, 25% hemp, 7% tussah silk

Measurements:
479cm long, 67cm wide, 275gsm

Key words:
Supportive, textured, elegant, sheen, soft

 

 

Natties! Ah, possibly one of the most divisive colourways in the babywearing world. Some love them, some are terrified of them. I used to fall in the latter camp (the mud! The tomato sauce! The horror!) but having taking the plunge with a Natural Silk Prima, I have happily decamped to join the natty lovers. I adore the subtle elegance, the effortless goes-with-all-outfits style (and it turns out they’re not the stain attracting nightmares I envisaged).

 

 

Ada Natur embodies many of the qualities I love most about natties. The light cream colour is warm and flattering. The weave brings wonderful texture and elegant detail. And it has such wonderful, beautiful lustre. Natur really glows in sunlight – particularly in the late afternoon sun, when it seems to reflect the golden rose tones of the sky.

 

 

This is a new blend for Didymos, and I have to say I think it’s very successful. It’s not a high silk content, but is nevertheless enough to add an extra softness and sheen to the initially coarse hemp. It helps Ada Natur to feel more luxurious even in loom state. I find hemp can be quite variable in quality, but I love this hemp – the yarn is consistent in width with very, very few nubs. The hemp also complements the silk really well; they are similar in tone and both have wonderful lustre.

 

 

In loom state, although beautiful (with the sheen immediately evident) Ada Natur is somewhat rough and stiff. I believe this down to a combination of the hemp, and the fairly textured nature of the Ada weave. After handwashing and ironing the wrap had softened only a little. However, with use (and some ring dragging – I’m impatient with the breaking in process!) Ada Natur has quickly started to transform. It feels almost as though the hemp wants to break in. At the time of writing, the wrap is already nicely soft and floppy, but I can feel it has even further to go. Once this is fully broken in, I expect it to be gloriously soft!

 

 

 

Compared to the original Ada, Natur is thicker and more solid – I definitely notice less stretch and give when wrapping. It initially also felt much more textured and grippy, but this is easing as the hemp breaks in. Once fully broken in I expect Natur to be comparable to the original Ada in both texture and grip.

 

 

 

The hemp and the silk both make this a wonderfully supportive wrap. I’ve worn my 3 year old in a Double Hammock for over an hour in complete comfort. I think this would make a fabulous shorty for bigger babies and young toddlers (I’d probably stick to multi-layer carries for older toddlers and pre-schoolers and I like a longer wrap for this). In a longer length, the world’s your oyster – I think it will be a fabulous all-rounder. If you’re thinking of using it with a very young baby/newborn, I’d recommend making sure it is well broken in first. I feel it’s too stiff and rough when new to be an ideal wrap for really tiny babies.

 

 

 

Natur will handle most weather pretty well. Weighing in at 275gsm, it isn’t going to be the coolest wrap for truly hot weather, but the airiness of the Ada weave will help to bring some breathability in those circumstances. In any other weather, I think Natur will perform very nicely.

 

 

If you’re willing to take the natty plunge (and honestly, you should), Ada Natur is a wonderful wrap. Sturdy, supportive, yet beautifully elegant with luxurious lustre – Natur is an everyday, special occasion, little baby snuggling, toddler hauling workhorse.

 

Woven Wings Northern Line

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Woven Wings  /  Metro Tiles
Fibre:
84% Egyptian cotton / 16% bourette silk
Measurements:
533cm long, 61cm wide, 312 gsm
Key words:
Blankety, grippy, supportive

 

The first word which came to mind when I pulled Northern Line out of its bag was “blankety”. As I hefted its weight in my hands I could feel it was a substantial, thick wrap, but it was also wonderfully soft and floppy. It was close textured and felt fairly smooth in hand. It was a pleasure to handle!

 

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The aesthetic of the wrap is simple, understated but strong. The shapes are not at all complicated but the varying colours introduce life and movement. The little silky nubs are wonderful; they produce a lovely, subtle speckled effect.

 

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My first wrap job with Northern Line brought a big surprise: grip! Oh, the grippiness! From the in-hand feel this was not something I was expecting at all. When tightening, I found I had to work harder than with many of my wraps to achieve the snug wrap jobs I prefer. This was particularly true when executing a Double Hammock. I’m slightly out of practice with grippy wraps, and found I needed to use a number of different tightening techniques to work out all the slack from the second DH pass. I also sometimes found myself re-tightening, as I thought I had worked out the slack, but hadn’t quite got it all.

 

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That being said, once I finished wrapping, everything just stayed put. Even with my enthusiastic nearly-3-year-old bouncing, leaning and outright dancing on my back, Northern Line did not budge an inch. This is not a wrap with much stretch/movement, but it produces bomb-proof carries! Because there isn’t much stretch to the wrap, I did feel the narrowness of the width with my toddler. It’s not narrow enough to cause any real problems (I just adjusted my seat securing method a little to ensure it was pinned), but it’s worth noting that it may feel different if you’re used to Woven Wings weaves with more stretch.

 

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Northern Line felt fantastically comfy with both my 4 month old and my toddler. The feel on my shoulders was firm and solid, but supportive (no digging here). The support was particularly wonderful with my toddler – in a multi-layer carry it carried his weight very nicely indeed. The wrap I tested was well broken in and beautifully soft, in a gorgeous, blankety way. It was floppy, draped nicely and was fairly mouldable.

 

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Because Northern Line has a close weave, I actually feel this would in many ways make a great beater. It’s not going to acquire pulls easily, and its sturdy nature inspires confidence when wrapping outdoors. The close weave and thickness means it wouldn’t be my first choice in summer, particularly in multi-layer carries. I’d also hesitate to recommend this to a beginner, due to both the grip and the design (which is similar on both faces of the wrap, making it harder for new wrappers to distinguish between them and ensure they haven’t twisted a pass). These reservations aside, this is a genuinely wonderful wrap. It was mouldable and floppy enough to hug my 4 month old. But it truly shone with my toddler, creating solid, supportive carries which just stayed put. It’s lovely as a long wrap (provided you don’t mind working around the grip), but personally I’d go for this in a shorty – I think it would be fantastic. Thanks to the grip and support, I also reckon it would do really well as a ring sling.

 

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Classy enough to take you around town, but sturdy and strong enough to take on on adventures into the wild – ooh, Northern Line is lovely.

 

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Didymos Cashmere Silk Ellipsen

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
Didymos / Ellipsen
Fibre:
50% cotton, 30% silk, 20% cashmere
Measurements:
396cm long, 68.5 cm wide, 135 gsm
Key words:
Thin, soft, glide, sheen

 

Cashmere Silk Ellipsen (CSE) is perhaps the least well known of Didymos’ mulberry silk blend natty wraps, but is still HSA and difficult to track down.

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CSE is 50% cotton, 30% silk and 20% cashmere. And yes, this blend feels just as luxurious as it sounds. Like NSN (Natural Silk Nino), NSM (Natural Silk Mille) and NSI (Natural Silk Indio), CSE is unusual in that it is woven with all of its fibres in both the warp *and* the weft. This gives CSE an incredible softness. Picking up this wrap is like handling spun air; it is soft, bouncy clouds of near-weightless elegance.

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Once you’ve stopped stroking it, the next thing you’re likely to notice about CSE is the weight. This is a seriously thin wrap, weighing in at a nearly unbelievable 135 GSM. Whatever you do, don’t hold it up to the light. CSE is like gauze and will terrify you. You’ll think that this fabric can’t support a fieldmouse, let alone your baby. And you’ll be wrong.

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CSE is thin, it’s true, and is definitely a wrap for a small baby (older babies and toddlers need not apply). But within this category, CSE is a superb wrap. The silk and cashmere add support and strength to a wrap which, in just cotton, would be way (way!) too thin. In this blend, the weight of CSE is lovely, particularly if you’re having a summer squish. The thinness of the wrap makes it incredibly mouldable; you can achieve such wonderfully snug, precise wrap jobs with it. Wrapping with it is a unique experience – it almost wafts around you.

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Didymos’ Ellipsen weave is fairly smooth and flat, and combined with the silk content this gives CSE lots of glide. This makes it oh-so-easy to tighten, but verges on the edge of slipperiness – I found I needed to tie off firmly with very tight knots. I found that this tendency towards slipperiness also made CSE somewhat pull prone. CSE has a little bounce from its cashmere, but not much – it sits fairly flat and firm on the shoulders.

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In terms of its looks, CSE is effortlessly classy and elegant. It made me feel put together on days when, juggling a new squish and a toddler, just presentable would have been a big win. CSE’s Ellipsen pattern is very subtle. It’s cream rather than white – a lovely warm toned natty. The mulberry silk gives it a beautiful sheen, adding extra depth to the natty colouring (the sheen does not photograph well but is lovely in person).

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Overall, CSE would be wonderful for special occasions, but is so soft you may well want to use it everyday with your tiny, delicate squish. It’s not a wrap you’re likely to use beyond the first few months, and even for newborns it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. But if smooth, thin, moldable, supersoft wraps are your thing, you might just want to try to track down CSE for your squish and experience this stunning wrap for yourself.

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