Despite being an experienced wrapper, and self confessed babywearing addict, until now, I had avoided handwoven wraps. I had long since fallen down the expensive baby carrying rabbit hole, and so didn’t need to spend EVEN more money on beautiful handwoven pieces.
So it was somewhat fortunate that I was able to try this beautiful Feather and Hay wrap for the simple price of a review and some feedback. It is perhaps less fortunate for my bank account that I can say that this may have been the first, but will not be the last handwoven wrap to pass through this house.
My first thought, as I opened the package, was how remarkably floppy this wrap was, despite the texture. As someone new to handwovens, I’m not sure whether this is something you should always expect, or if it was the combination of weave, blend and skill that made it fall through your hands. I also surprised myself by loving the natty colour. I usually stick to dark coloured wraps (indeed, most of my wardrobe is black/grey too), and I had never even considered buying a natty wrap before. However – this arrived and I decided that actually I could be converted to lighter coloured wraps – this was so organic, yet classy in colour that it would work with almost any outfit. I actually wore this on Christmas day as it matched my dress, and it was much admired! Although it has been described as nutty, I feel that adds very much to the charm.
At the time of testing I had a 17 month old, 25lb toddler and a 13lb 2 month old. As you can imagine, I spent most of my time wrapping the youngest, but actually, this wrap was well suited to a range of ages. My first carry was a rebozo with my youngest – being my go to carry with a size 2 wrap (this tester was approximately 2.6m, and much shorter than anything I had used before), and it was lovely to use. Supportive, and comfortable, the fabric cupped my shoulder wonderfully. Due to the texture of the wrap, and the grip of the weave and the silk content (50% Bourette Silk and 50% Cotton) I did find it hard to tighten and adjust the slipknot, particularly with such a small baby. I also found due to the floppiness of the wrap and the fact that this was unhemmed it was difficult to provide as much neck support as a newborn needed in a simple rebozo carry. Despite this, it was enjoyable to use, comfortable, and I feel would be the perfect carry/wrap combination with an older baby – of perhaps 6 months old or so.
The next carry I tried out was a ruck – something I attempted with both of my children, and it was fantastic in both cases. With my toddler, I did a ruck TUB so that I could give my youngest a bath one day – and despite her wiggling and kicking and leg-straightening, and me having only tied a single knot, it held her fast. I’ve never used a wrap as grippy as this before, and it shone in a ruck because of it.
With my youngest, due to her age, it was imperative that I get her high in a ruck, so that she would be close enough for me to hear/feel her breathing. I successfully managed to eke out a ruck tied at front with a ring finish, although I found this difficult to achieve with the tassels. Personally, although the tassels look pretty, in a shortie wrap like this, I would prefer to have a teeny bit of extra length in the wrap, and blunt or tapered ends – simply because it is easier to get a secure finish on tippy tails than it is on tassels. It was fantastically comfortable again, in a ruck with my little one, and I could barely feel her weight. She fell asleep straight away and we were both very content.
I finally tried a tandem carry, with the Natural Hearts wrap tied around and through the straps of my Connecta. I only attempted it for a short while, but actually found it incredibly comfortable. Again, the grip was useful here, and the floppiness made it easy to tighten the wrap perfectly around my little one’s body. I think that this would be fantastic in a long wrap of 5m + and would make a great tandem wrap in a longer length.
This wasn’t a cushy wrap, nor was it particularly bouncy, but that suited me just fine as neither of those characteristics are ones I favour in wraps. I like thin. It was very comfortable, and so floppy that it was easy to get a good wrap job in it. One of my favourite wraps – a very broken in Oscha Slings linen blend, is similar in terms of wrap qualities, but without the grip and texture provided by the heart weave and silk in this Natural Hearts tester. I have no idea how wide this was, but it was a good width for me. I do tend to prefer narrower wraps though.
One minor niggle I had was that I found the middle marker slightly annoying. Not only was it quite large, it also seemed like it would irritate the back of my babies necks if I wrapped with it at the top, centred on their back, due to the material and the way it was stitched on. A small issue, but I would love to see a smaller middle marker and perhaps this ‘label’ could go on a tail?
All in all, this wrap provided the perfect introduction to handwovens. It was different enough to my usual style to test my boundaries, yet I found lots of similarities in wrapping qualities with some of the best aspects of my machine woven wraps. I would love to host another Feather and Hay wrap here sometime, and since I know that Georgina is working on some bright, bold colours at the moment, I’ll definitely consider adding one to my stash in the future!