Feb 27, 2015

Toddler Tula - Stitch Pattern

Both of my children have been on the large size their whole lives (generally above 95% for both height and weight). When my youngest was passing the 25lb mark and still 98% for height, I started to think about options for toddler wearing. I read a lot of reviews and ended up looking for a Toddler Tula, based on the great feedback from our local group.

I found a Toddler Tula in a print I liked on the Canadian Babywearing Swap and received it quickly from another lovely mama. I've already reviewed a standard size Tula (http://wrappedupwithyou.blogspot.com/2015/01/tula-standard-size.html), and the attributes for wearing were pretty well the same for the Toddler size, with one notable exception... This carrier was gigantic.

My giant baby was swallowed in the material of this carrier. It was so wide that he didn't come close to fitting in it properly (I know he was too young for it now), and the slightly longer panel did not help with the issues I had previously in making a seat. My 95% two and a half year old fit very comfortably in this carrier, but had no interest in being worn a the time.

I have no action shots of this carrier, because although it was lovely, we did not use it enough to keep it around for long.
Adorable kissing babies in lieu of action shot

The Verdict:
Pros: Affordable, fits larger children, easily obtainable from Canadian shops
Cons: So large - definitely for larger toddlers and preschoolers rather than big babies.
Recommendation: I would recommend this as a SSC for people looking to carry children 15 months +. I now have another carrier with the same dimensions that comfortably fits a huge 19 month old, with room to grow.

Feb 13, 2015

UppyMama Frosted Rainbow Cake Ring Sling

When I first found out about the world of wrapping, the mythical wrap of legend that was sought after by nearly every wrapper was the UppyMama handwoven. Woven in Alberta, Canada, these wraps are handwoven by a small group of artists who have dedicated their passion to educating families about the benefits of babywearing to both the parents and baby.

At my very first babywearing meet-up through our local group, a mama brought her UppyMama wrap that she had been lucky to win a draw to purchase through UppyMama at retail. That's right, these things were (and are) so popular that they cannot keep up with demand and you must enter for a chance to buy one. Though the market value has come down substantially due to the introduction of a whole slew of amazing new weavers to the handwoven scene, these still often sell at or above retail price on the swaps. At the time I received my first UppyMama these beauties were selling second hand for nearly double the retail price.

I was fortunate to win my first UppyMama in a Dip (a whole other topic - basically a raffle). I was so excited, and drove to pick it up the same day the Dip closed. I won a UppyMama Frosted Rainbow Cake 20% linen blend ring sling with an original UppyMama floating shoulder. This ring sling was made from un-dyed cotton and linen, with a rainbow of pinstripes added on the tail only.

Us so excited for our Dip win - excuse the sloppy wrap job
When I picked it up, I could not believe how soft this piece of cloth was. As I've mentioned several times, I don't generally like linen. This linen was like nothing I had ever felt, you could not even tell there was linen in the blend by touching it. I wore my 24lb son in it right away, and could not believe how supportive and comfortable this was. The floating shoulder kept the fabric nicely spread, and the linen added the perfect support to this amazingly soft and thin fabric. 

We began using this as our main ring sling, wearing it through Church services and while shopping with baby happily napping for up to an hour at a time in nothing but comfort. This ring sling remains in my collection to this day, and it still the most comfortable ring sling I have ever tried.

My terrible photos do not do these beautiful pinstripes justice
The Verdict:
Pros: Soft, supportive, beautiful, Canadian
Cons: Expensive (though prices have come down substantially), some colourways are hard to find.
Recommendation: If you are looking for a luxurious, Canadian, handwoven masterpiece (and money is no object) that you can wear your baby in, this is your ring sling. 

Feb 7, 2015

Oscha Sea Breeze 100% Linen (Size 3)

As a part of a package I purchased off the Canadian Babywearing Swap (R.I.P.) from a lovely mama in British Columbia, I received my first short wrap, an Oscha Sea Breeze 100% linen size 3.

This was also my first experience with an Oscha, and first no-cotton wrap. The grad colours on this wrap were absolutely beautiful. The blues looked exactly like the ocean, which I believe was the intent of this wrap. This wrap was soft and shimmery, as it arrived very well broken in already.

I tried my two and a half year old in a ruck carry, and it was absolutely rock solid. In a sloppy ruck, this felt diggy on my shoulders, but when I took the time to carefully sandwich my shoulders I was able to wear him for 30 minutes with no discomfort.

Blurry selfies
As you've heard, linen isn't really for me, but I did appreciate this beautiful wrap for the time it was here. My only gripe about the 100% linen is that it wrinkled SO EASILY. When I went to sell it, it was the only time I've ever ironed a wrap on an ironing board. Once ironed, this beauty literally shimmered. I wish I had a photo, because the difference between the freshly ironed wrap and the wrinkly wrap was so dramatic.

All the smiles
The Verdict:
Pros: Supportive, Beautiful colours, Shimmery
Cons: Diggy unless wrapped very carefully, so wrinkly
Recommendations: I would recommend this as a great summer shorty for someone looking for something breathable and supportive. You must be ok with wrinkles, and must have the patience to wrap carefully.

Feb 1, 2015

Heartiness Ethno Red Linen Blend (Size 6)

One of my favourite mindless activities is browsing Facebook babywearing swaps to see what is out there. On one such occasion I came upon a fantastic deal on a package that included a size 6 Heartiness machine woven Ethno print red linen blend wrap. I jumped on the deal and was happy when it arrived from the lovely mama in British Columbia quickly.

This wrap had a beautiful pattern of red, black, white, and cream colours. We received this wrap right around Christmas time, and I was happy to have it as a festive pattern over the holidays.

This wrap was my first experience with Heartiness, and I found it quite comfortable. The tag stated the blend as 50% cotton and 50% linen, but Sling-O-Fest lists it as 100% linen. I am not certain which is correct, as it certainly felt like a lot of linen to me.

The texture was a bit rough and grippy, but not in an unpleasant way. It came to me very well loved and broken in, so it wrapped very floppy and mouldable right away. I found it very supportive for both my two year old and 8 month old (at the time).

In general, I have found that I am not a fan of linen for longer periods of wrapping, as I need something with a bit more bounce and cush. The loose weave of this wrap made up for the lack of bounce by providing a bit of cush on the shoulders (as cushy as linen can be in a machine woven anyway...).

I could see how this blend would be prone to pulls, although I did not experience any myself while using it.
The fuzzy-headed boy in Ethno
The Verdict:
Pros: Affordable, weave structure offsets rigidity of the linen, beautiful pattern, sturdy, supportive
Cons: Loose weave prone to pulls, hard to find now
Recommendation: This was a great work-horse wrap. I enjoyed this as one of my first comfortable forays into linen. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a great all-around supportive wrap.