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.

 

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!

 

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

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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PinkNova Polaris Morning Coffee

AT A GLANCE

Brand / weave:
PinkNova  /  Polaris
Fibre:
53% bio cotton, 29% superfine wool, 18% cashmere
Measurements:
497cm long,  65cm wide, 299 gsm
Key words:
Thick, cosy, supportive


For many babywearers, autumn is when wool wraps really come into their own – so I was excited to try out Polaris Morning Coffee just as the colder weather was arriving. A holiday from a lovely friend, this was also my first experience of Pink Nova.

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My first impression of Morning Coffee was that it’s a lovely colour. It’s a true neutral brown: neither really warm nor really cool. The constrasting colour is somewhere inbetween cream and white, cool enough to form a nice, crisp contrast with the brown. The geometric design seems fairly plain when the wrap is flat or folded but becomes dynamic when wrapped; the strong lines become more fluid.

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Despite only being slightly broken in when it first arrived, Morning Coffee was not at all itchy (and I can be quite wool sensitive). During the course of its visit with me, it became much softer and floppier. I’m not sure this will ever be soft in a silky/smooth way, but it is very pleasantly snuggly. It has a lovely drape – I found I wanted to use carries which gave me long tails just so I could enjoy the drape properly! Morning Coffee wasn’t notably mouldable at first, but as it became more broken in this started to emerge as more of a highlight of the wrap, making it lovely to work with. A slightly unusual feature of the wrap is wider than usual seams – I actually really liked this; they were very comfortable and felt nice in hand when tightening.

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The Polaris weave is sturdy and solid. In this wool/cashmere blend, there was a nice bit of bounce and movement. I suspect that in other blends, the weave might be a little too solid for me. I found it to be pretty pull resistant. The weave gives a little grip, but that’s not a dominant feature – tightening, whilst not super smooth, was not difficult. It’s a fairly dense weave (not airy or breathable) and Morning Coffee is thick, so although I don’t have direct experience of this in the heat, I feel it’s better suited to the cooler months of the year.

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The thickness and solidity of Morning Coffee may not make it your first choice in warm weather, but as a trade-off you do get an excellent amount of support. I liked this with my big 4 month old, but it really shone with my toddler (who is fast approaching 3 years old). Carrying in a Double Hammock was superbly comfortable, for both him and I. The thickness of the wrap meant it felt nicely cushioned on my shoulders, and the wooly bounce acted as a great shock absorber. I even used Morning Coffee in a Front Cross Carry with my toddler a few times, and found it as comfy as any wrap I’ve tried (the wrap hugged my back particularly nicely). Morning Coffee wouldn’t personally be my choice for a newborn, but as long as it was well broken in you could make it work.

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I really enjoyed Morning Coffee, much more than I expected to. If you’re happy handling a thicker wool wrap in the warmer months, this could easily be a one-and-done wrap for you. If you’re hefting around a bigger baby or toddler, you’ll particularly appreciate the support of this wrap (I didn’t try a single layer carry with the toddler but my instinct is that the wrap could handle it). Morning Coffee is impressive, beautifully made, and has made me keen to try other Pink Nova wraps.

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