Friday, 30 August 2013

Review: Warped & Wonderful Jade Strom

Brand: Warped & Wonderful (handwoven)
Type: Jade Storm
Blend: 100% cotton
Size: 2.3m rebozo piece

Another beautiful handwoven arrived at my door this morning. I originally bought this piece from a friend intending to convert it into a ring sling. I've decided to keep it as a rebozo piece, so that when our babywearing days are over I can use it as a beautiful blanket! I can also wear it as a scarf, and then use it to carry Joey if I need to quickly sling him!
I have admired Warped & Wonderful wraps for such a long time, and I've been on her waiting list for some time, but my slot still isn't until May 2014!! 
After such a lot of anticipation to try one of these beautiful wraps for real, I have not been disappointed! This wrap is so soft and snuggley, and is thick enough to be beautifully cushy, without being too thick to knot comfortably. I have read that the different patterns have different wrapping qualities, but I can confirm that this one is amazing! The weave is fairly textured and the wrap has a fair amount of diagonal stretch. The jade colour is really pretty and the weave is absolutely flawless. I could easily carry Joey in this for a while as it supports his weight brilliantly. I've never really tried a rebozo carry before, but have to admit I'm finding it slightly more comfortable than a ring sling, although the slip knot doesn't adjust as easily as rings.
I'm so pleased with this little wrap! Its totally unique, and feels so different to all my other wraps. I can see us getting a lot of use out of it!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bank holiday babywearing

We've had a lovely bank holiday weekend here in the UK. I've been quite busy getting some work done whilst my husband was at home to play with Joey, but I've still found time for a bit of babywearing.  Here are the slings I've used this weekend. What have you been wearing this weekend??

Joey has had naps in three Oschas this weekend. One of our old favourites, Nouveau Ember, and two newer wraps Starry Night Shona and Starry Night Nebula (silk). I'm preparing a new Starry Night review in the next week or so (I just need to try them out a bit more first!)

I've used our new handwoven ring sling a few times this weekend, whilst out and about in shops, etc. Its really comfortable and easy to use, and I'm liking the pleated shoulder we made for it.
I also used Pavo Sylvan for a hill walk this afternoon. Its such a pretty wrap and is softening up with every use. It is incredibly supportive and comfortable, and is quickly becoming one of my favourites!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Review: Woven Products Dark Rainbow

Brand: Woven Products (sold through etsy)
Type: Dark Rainbow, designed by a friend.
Blend: Cotton warp, Cottolin Weft
Size: 2.1m piece, converted into a ring sling by me (pleated shoulder).
Woven Products are very new to the babywearing scene, and I am under the impression that she has only woven a handful of wraps so far. When a lovely friend of mine shared a picture of her wrap design, I was very lucky that she said she would share her warp with me and another friend. As I'm using ring slings a lot at the moment, I chose to have a ring sling piece, which I would convert myself. We didn't have to wait very long, and the wrap was soon woven and on its way to us from Finland.
The wrap is totally different to anything I have felt before! The diamond pattern makes it very textured, and the open weave makes it very soft and mouldable. I was intrigued as to whether such an open weave would hold my son's weight comfortably, and I'm delighted to say that it does!
My Mum and I set to work converting it into a pleated shoulder ring sling, which despite a few problem getting the fabric to go through the sewing machine, it turned out well in the end.
The wrap has a good amount of diagonal stretch, and adjusts through the ring slings well, although I'm being very careful, as the open weave feels slightly delicate. However, it moulds amazingly around my son, and holds him very firmly, and I found it very comfortable whilst trying it out earlier today.
The overall look of the wrap is stunning! The colours and pattern are beautiful, and my friend's design is perfect. I am really thrilled with this beautiful, unique, ring sling!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Photo Shoot with Ali Dover

Whilst at Big Camp at the weekend, I was lucky enough to have a little photoshoot with the lovely Ali Dover, an amazing babywearing photographer, whose pictures I have admired for a while.  It was great fun working with Ali and very relaxed, and our pictures were sent to us really quickly. We are totally thrilled with the pictures, I thought I would share a few of my favourites here. I am using my Uppymama wrap in these pictures.

For more information about Ali, have a look:

Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: Barbara's Weave and Wear Handwoven

Brand: Barbara's Weave and Wear
Type: Handwoven in a twill weave
Blend: 100% cotton
Size: 2 metre ring sling piece, converted by me.

I was lucky to buy this beautiful handwoven ring sling piece through etsy, from the very talented Barbara's Weave and Wear in the USA. Having already heard good things about them, I couldn't wait to try one out for myself.
As soon as it arrived, I was thrilled to find that it was already beautifully soft, and I set to work converting it into a ring sling (with my Mum's help). It is a slightly thicker wrap, but being so beautifully soft, it is very cushy and soft, and works perfectly as a ring sling.  It has a slight stretch, making it quite mouldable, but it is also very supportive, even with my heavy son in a one-shouldered, one-layered carry.
The wrap is beautifully woven - it is absolutely perfect. The colours are gorgeous, and I love the fact that the weft is done using a pink and green variegated cotton giving a real depth and detail to the design.
I am really impressed with this ring sling, and I used it a lot over the weekend whilst camping.  It is slightly thicker than my Uppymama (also handwoven), but its just as soft and supportive. I would highly recommend Barbara's Weave and Wear to anyone keen to try a handwoven wrap, although I would say that this particular one would only be for those who like slightly thicker wraps (like me!). Keep an eye on Barbara's etsy shop, as she occasionally adds wraps for sale, and even with customs fees, they are priced very reasonably for such a good quality handwoven wrap.


There was a little competition recently on one of the babywearing groups, where you had to send 'something' which demonstrated why you loved babywearing. The three winning entries were wonderful! Even though I didn't win, I thought I'd share the poem I wrote as my entry.

A Fabric Hug

Years of waiting and heartache, 
Wondering, will it be this time?
Years passed, hope dwindled,
Still no baby that was mine.

Then a miracle happened,
A new life had begun,
The years of waiting were over,
We were going to have a son.

I kept him safe inside me,
And watched my belly grow.
We talked to him every day
So our voices he would know.

Forty weeks passed quickly,
It was time to see his face.
But he was clearly too comfortable
To leave his warm, safe place.

Two more weeks of waiting,
Still our baby was not here.
And then early on a Sunday morn,
At last his cry I did hear.

My beautiful baby was here at last,
My relief I couldn't hide.
But my little boy just wasn't content
I think he wanted back inside!

I loved being a Mummy,
But my baby, he would cry!
Rocking, singing, cuddling, feeding,
What else could I possibly try?

We'd been given a turquoise stretchy wrap,
A big long piece of cloth.
I was desperate for a rest,
But my son just wouldn't drop-off!

I wrapped the fabric around me,
Tied it nice and snug.
Popped my son inside the folds,
A great big fabric hug!

Suddenly my life had changed,
My son was a happy chap.
I could actually get a few jobs done,
Whilst my son enjoyed a nap.

That stretchy wrap was wonderful,
It helped me find my feet.
But soon he got too big for it
So off I went to the sling meet!

Well that was how it all started,
And now my son is almost two.
And as my son has grown in size
My sling stash has expanded too!

Slings have taken us everywhere,
From weddings to the Olympic park.
I wouldn't be without them now,
I really love this baby wearing lark!

My son has watched the world go by,
Held close to his mummy's heart,
We've talked, we've sung and learnt a lot,
We've rarely been apart.

I've heard all the great 'advice',
Like "a rod for your own back".
But I'll carry on wearing my precious son
In our fabric piggyback.

This passion for wearing my little boy,
Has also found me friends.
Both locally and worldwide online,
The fun just never ends!

I have to admit slight sadness,
Now my son is so grown-up.
That our baby wearing days are numbered,
I'm not ready for this closeness to stop!

Now I know my story isn't unique,
Dramatic, special or crazy.
As I know we as Mums are united in cherishing
The time we have wearing our baby.

Now I savour it every time I wrap
This precious son of mine.
And cherish every sleepy cuddle,
As one day it will be the last time.

I know that when I'm old and grey,
My heartstrings it will tug,
As I recall the magic of
That great big fabric hug.

Natural Mama's Big Camp 2013

We have returned home from a wonderful, busy, tiring, inspiring, fun weekend at the Natural Mama's Big Camp. Natural Mama's is an online natural parenting forum, based in the UK, and this was the third Big Camp they have organised, but the first one I have ever been to.
I haven't been camping in over a decade, and of course I've never taken a toddler camping, so I was really intrigued to see how we got on. I'm pleased to say that we had a lovely time, and Joey absolutely loved it.  There were over 200 families in attendance, meaning over 400 children in one field! It was amazing to walk around and see so many people babywearing! It was lovely to see both Mums and Dads, plus grandparents and older children using slings of all kinds.
We spent some time in our tent, as Joey seemed to enjoy playing with his toys in a new environment, plus some time joining in with activities. We went to a camp fire and sing-a-long on one evening, a babywearing quiz (which was great fun!), nursery rhymes, workshops and visited the marketplace, plus the fact that there was a digger and some tractors near the car park meant that Joey's weekend was complete! We were also lucky enough to have a photoshoot with Ali Dover, who is a wonderful babywearing photographer, and such a lovely lady. I can't wait to see the pictures she captured!
One of the workshops I took part in was about using a JPMBB stretchy wrap, as it is constructed differently from other stretchy wraps and can be used comfortably and safely with bigger children. It was a really interesting, practical workshop, and I learnt a lot. I'll hopefully share some of what I learnt on my blog in the near future.
We had such a lovely time at Big Camp, and really hope to go back next year, as Joey will be at a better age to be able to join in with more of the children's activities. We were slightly sad to leave such a lovely, friendly community, where babywearing was seen as the norm, although I have to admit it was nice to get back to my own warm shower and comfy bed!

Asleep before the engine started!

Beautiful wrap scraps from the Connecta stand. I can't wait to get sewing!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Torso Carry

I had a little go at a torso carry this evening. I've never really seen the advantage of a torso carry before, but with the prospect of pitching a tent at the same time as looking after Joey this coming weekend, I thought it would be handy to have him attached to me, whilst having my arms completely free. 
I started the carry in the same way as a ruck, creating a really good deep seat, and then brought the wrap around me under my arms, keeping it as high as possible on Joey's back. I pulled the top rail particularly tight to keep him secure, and then did a lexi-twist in the front, and took the tails around under Joey's bottom, and then back around and tied at my waist (I can do a quick photo tutorial if this isn't clear enough - just let me know!). I spread the fabric over my chest as much as possible, and it was actually pretty comfortable! I wouldn't keep him like this for too long, but it would definitely allow me to pitch a tent without having to worry about Joey running off! 
The wrap I used is Artipoppe Two Birds Akka in a size 5. If you're using a shorter wrap, you could tie under your child's bottom. 

I thought I'd also share one of my favourite pictures of traditional torso carries in action, which has been shared on Facebook recently. It's such a beautiful photograph, demonstrating how babywearing allows people all over the world to carry on their day-to-day lives whilst also keeping their babies and children close.