Jacq and Rose are a new British wrap brand, created by Katie Meakin, and despite being in it's relative infancy, the brand is already causing quite the stir in the babywearing community. With eye catching wraps made from ethically sourced materials, there is lots to like. I had the pleasure of having the Ribbons prototype tester here for a play - so of course Molly and I took it out for a twirl!
Weighing in at 310gsm, with a 100% cotton blend, this wrap in hand feels quite reminiscent of the American Quilt range by Woven Wings (this is a good thing!). On first glance, I wasn't wholly convinced by the pattern, but as quite often happens, it looks far better when wrapped than on the shelf. The mix of colours - white, blue and green - again weren't to my taste but combined with the pattern, gave a three dimensional quality to the design.
The tester came in a size 5. Because it still requires a bit of breaking in at this stage, I found it wrapped a little short. The wrap is quite wide, and with the thick cotton blend, it was perfectly suited to my 26lb 21 month old, who makes it her mission to try and escape from wrap jobs if she's not in the mood! That said, I would prefer the wrap slightly narrower as it was just a touch too wide for me and my wrappee. I tried a number of carries with it - front wrap cross carry tied under bum, semi front wrap cross carry, simple ruck and ruck variations. I never felt the need to try any double layer carries with it, because it provides so much support in a single layer carry - if you get it tied off tightly, there's no budging it. Molly doesn't have a huge amount of patience for longer wrap jobs at the moment, so the fact we could be comfortable for a decent length of time in a ruck was a huge bonus, With it's substantial weight, it's quite forgiving in the face of sloppy wrap jobs, and doesn't mind being wrapped round wriggly toddlers.
The slipknot in my semi-fwcc was solid, with no slippage. The wrap finished with a large knot in most carries, but this will continue to reduce in size while the wrap softens up some more.
Katie asked if we would like to see this wrap in any other colourways or blends. I may have dropped a small mono hint with my photo at the top there (looks good in black and white I'd say!). I actually think this pattern would do well sticking to a 100% cotton blend, with some experimentation in different colourways.
Having nabbed the newest Jacq and Rose release in the past week, along with having this tester here, I am really excited by what's to come in the future - while aesthetics are definitely a priority, there seems to be a serious focus on wrap qualities. When woven wraps are now so widely accessible, with hundreds of brands to choose from, it is this focus that will keep brand fans loyal. Thanks so much for the opportunity to test this wrap Katie, and I can't wait to see how Jacq and Rose develops in 2017
I met Natasha Stoller, creator and owner of Liora Rae Wovens at Sling Show Scotland, and her Flow collection caught my eye straight away. Natasha was so friendly, open and willing to chat about her beautiful wraps, and didn't mind the slightly strange lady (me) coming past every 5 minutes to ooh, aah and umm over them!
I didn't make a purchase that day (why, oh why, totally kicking myself) so was absolutely delighted to find myself on the tester list for Aida, from the new Spin Collection.
Aida is a 100% cotton wrap, thin in hand, weighing 250gsm. I was instantly intruiged by the geometric pattern, inspired by a Japanese design. A few people have passed comment on its mathematical feel, including those who have no interest in wraps or babywearing, which is always a good sign (including my husband, who sees so many wraps it takes something different for him to pass comment!) Liora Rae Wovens come in a canvas tote bag, with a beautifully designed instruction booklet, with chat and insight from Natasha within. I love getting to know the faces behind the wrap brands, and this, along with her busy chatter Facebook group are a great way of doing that (and watch out on her instragram for cheeky sneak peeks!)
From a distance, Aida can appear almost monochrome, but she has a whole lot more going on than that! Intricately weaved throughout the design are threads of red, green and blue, which all work together to create a three dimensional effect. While Aida is thin in hand, with a light, airy quality, she is actually relatively tightly weaved, so it doesn't feel like it would pull a thread easily
My wrappee is 19 months, 26lbs and in size 18 to 24 month clothes. A thin cotton wrap wouldn't be my first choice for her, so I was interested to see how Aida performed against a wriggly and determined toddler. In multilayer carries, she really shined - the passes slid in to place easily, and the wrap was easy to manipulate and tie off. The intricate weave provided just the right amount of grip to hold carries in place, and we discovered a new favourite back carry (Shepherds Back Carry). Aida was perfect for quick ups on front, and despite her best efforts, Molly couldn't escape a front wrap cross carry, even with unspread passes. My shoulders are a touch picky, and we didn't feel quite as comfortable in a single layer back carry, but that wasn't an huge issue for us. Aida is so easy to wrap with that more complicated carries were easy to complete in no time at all.
Aida is super soft, and would be a great choice for a squish - she's soft, floppy and mouldable, perfect for snuggling a tiny close to you. It surpassed my expectations for how it would hold up with a toddler, so while it is thinner than wraps from the Flow Collection, it wouldn't be impossible to happily use it for an older baby with multilayer carries. It's delightfully easy to wrap with, suiting both beginners and more experienced wrappers alike
It was a pleasure hosting Aida and I have no doubt that there are lots of exciting things to come from Liora Rae Wovens - they are definitely one to watch! Thank you Natasha for allowing to test out one of your beautiful wraps.
4 years ago, I was on maternity leave, excitedly anticipating the arrival of my first baby. After hours of research online, I had found my way to purchasing a Manduca baby carrier, an Oscha ring sling and a Didymos woven wrap. Once Toby was here, the ring sling was quickly moved on as I just could not get to grips with it AT ALL. The Manduca was wholly more successful, and my first foray in to wrapping ignited a little spark that was to grow...and grow...and grow!
I wanted to 'babywear' for a few reasons. On a practical level, I was all about being able to eat and cuddle my baby at the same time, and as a non driver, it made buses much easier to negotiate. I also had a very romantic notion in my head that I would transform in to an earth mother goddess, wrapped in beautiful fabric, wind blowing in my hair every time I carried him.
The reality was slightly more mundane - a massive oversized fleeced cocooning me and the baby, a big red backpack holding everything we could possibly need, and hair that had seen more dry shampoo than was healthy. But I *felt* like superwoman. I could carry my baby, everything we needed, get places we wanted to go, do what we needed to do, and home again, all whilst keeping him close and content. Letting everything pass us by, we were a little unit - me protecting him from the world, and to some extent, him protecting me, during that transitional period where I went from 'me' to 'mum'. Breastfeeding was hard, the sleep deprivation was hard, trying (and failing) to do housework/remember things/do simple tasks like showering alone were hard, but carrying was easy, comforting, enjoyable and gave me the confidence to get us out the door. Without it, I would have struggled to meet people, get to groups and do things even just in the village - and I'm always grateful that I found my way with slings early on.
The local babywearing community at that time was enthusiastic but small - we had no sling library, sporadic meets, and you rarely met a babywearer out and about, but the Facebook group was growing in popularity.
I happily carried Toby till he was 18 months (despite many 'is that not hurting your back?' comments) both in the Manduca and in an Oscha wrap, and it was only when a tough bout of morning sickness hit, that I hung up the slings. 4 months later when I was feeling better, he was happy to get around on his own steam, so I started to plan how I wanted to carry baby number 2.
Stretchy wrap in hand, and a week or so post c section, we gave it a whirl, With a boisterous toddler, and my husbands paternity leave soon over, the wrap gave me the ability to have those precious newborn snuggles, inhaling the heady scent of milky hair, whilst having two hands free for my toddler. I could pop Molly in to the wrap, take T up to playgroup and come home again, all with her snuggled happily asleep against my chest.
And snuggled on my chest she has stayed. Regardless of the type of carrier (and there have been, and continue to be many!) we have walked through forests, navigated playgroups, restaurants, shopping centres, numerous national trust properties, parks, exhibitions, buses and trains, volunteered at sling meets, parties and sling exhibitions, and had many an evening meal saved by being able to pop her up in a sling. The pain of teething, colds and illness have all been soothed, and nap times conquered by wrapping her on to me, heart to heart, her upset soon being forgotten.
The local babywearing scene is now buzzing and huge - over the past 2 years, it has grown at a tremendous rate, and you don't have to look far to find a babywearer, no matter where you are. We are so lucky to have such a lovely community with numerous sling meets and libraries to allow as many parents as possible to access slings. No longer are they seen as the 'hippy' option, but as a baby essential, which is an encouraging shift in attitude, and the community is truly diverse in the parents it attracts.
I have found so many wonderful friends from something as simple as using a sling, all brought together through a love of carrying our babies, sharing wraps and experiences as our children grow. All of us have had our sanity saved at various points because of a sling - sometimes when there doesn't seem to be an answer, the sling will always make everything right in the world again
Being able to help families find the right sling for them is one of my most favourite things to do, and with the late summer/autumn baby boom in full swing, I have seen so many gorgeous newborns of late. It makes me so happy to know that new parents are getting to experience all the benefits of babywearing, right from the very start. But it's never too late to try a sling - even if your child is well in to toddlerhood (or beyond!) - so don't think you have missed the boat by not starting when they are small. A recent client hired two carriers for her 3 year old twins, and being able to pop them up in the sling when legs got tired, or the busy festival atmosphere got too much, meant their holiday was much more enjoyable.
I titled this blog post 'Why I Carry My Children', and bar the obvious, I just couldn't imagine not doing it. The act, the art even, of wrapping and carrying them has become a part of me. Not so much something I do, but who I am, as a mother and as a sling educator, and even when they are both big and their legs never tire enough to be physically carried, they will be carried in my heart
Wherever you are in your parenting journey, (or geographically), there will be a sling meet/library/consultant and a community of welcoming parents ready to help you. Have a look on www.slingpages.co.uk to find out more
Being a sling consultant has its perks, and getting the opportunity to try out testers from new woven wrap companies is one of them. I was very excited to receive the SUPU tester in the post, and didn't wait long to get Molly wrapped up and see how it performed.
Firstly though, I should tell you a little bit more about the brand. SUPU Woven Wraps is the creation of Jess Anderson, a New Zealander living in England, who decided to combine together her two greatest passions - textiles and motherhood - and SUPU was born. With a launch date imminent for her first release, there is an ever growing buzz about her wraps, and you might want to get in on the action now in their Facebook group!
So the wrap to look at, is stunning. I love the peacock/feather inspired pattern, which is simultaneously elegant yet modern. The colour seems to be ever changing, with the turquoise blue shimmering green as the light moves - particularly gorgeous if you choose a carry which leaves you with swishy tails with which to catch the light. The turquoise will be combined with blue (Storm) and red (Fire) for the first releases in the Flight collection, and you can see a preview of these colourways over on the facebook page. I took the tester to Sling Show Scotland with me and it was being very much admired, which is always a good sign!
At 292gsm, it's a relatively thick wrap, but after spending time with a few mamas/consultants before me, it is beautifully soft and easy to handle. The ribbed, herringbone design creates a little bit of grip - it's still soft enough for passes to glide over one another, but with just the right amount texture to hold them in place.
Molly is 18 months and is around the 26lb mark, and for me, I love to see how a wrap holds up in a simple front wrap cross carry first before attempting anything else. For this photo session, it was as far as we got, as she fell asleep in minutes!
In a FWCC, it was supportive and strong, but easy to tighten and tie off. Despite sleepy protestations that she didn't want to be wrapped, it held a wriggly toddler well, and didn't move despite some excessive pressure being exerted against my wrap job! I carried Molly comfortably for well over an hour whilst she dozed, and the SUPU wrap ensured we were both still feeling comfortable by the end.
It performed admirably in a simple ruck carry, with enough cush over the shoulders to prevent any aches and pains. This wrap is also perfect for multi layered back carries, being easy to tighten and tie off but making the carry feel super snug and secure when you are finished.
Overall, SUPU Woven Wraps are a really exciting new addition to the woven wrap market in the UK. With her strong background in textiles, and open willingness to listen to parents, Jess is destined for big things if this first tester wrap is anything to go by!