babywearing

An Enchant(ress)ing Visitor

A couple of months ago, my favourite wrap company, Firespiral, announced that they were looking for new testers – basically, people who would ‘host’ a wrap from among their new releases and share photos and thoughts about it with other wrappers. I promptly sent a very gushing email volunteering myself for this onerous (!) task. Shortly after Christmas, I received a message asking whether I would host Enchantress Mercury Gossamer for a week. The catch – I was going to be abroad for two weeks, visiting the Little Weaver’s grandparents and great-grandma in the States. The tour co-ordinator kindly agreed to let me have the wrap for a bit longer than usual, so off it went with us across the Atlantic.

Enchantress Mercury Gossamer (bottom) with Kokiri Mercury Birch Trees, woven on the same weft.

Enchantress is woven on the difficult-to-define olive/gray Mercury weft, the same as Kokiri Mercury Birch Trees, which I own and talked about in a previous post. But where Kokiri is a heavyweight, 325gsm 30% linen blend, Enchantress is a much lighter 270gsm, and an intriguing blend of 74% cotton, 18% linen, and 8% merino wool. I found this a fascinating proposition: for me, linen is a smooth, somewhat ‘hard’ fibre (it’s often a fibre that wrappers report their shoulders taking a dislike to), whilst wool is fluffy and soft. I wondered what this sweet-and-savoury combination, at least in wrapping terms, would feel like.

First, however, a word on looks. Enchantress is neither the pattern nor the colour that I would choose for myself: I’m not a big fan of muted pink or red shades, and the Firespiral designs that I really love are those which have some sort of variation across the height of the pattern (the Winter Hill design is a great example of this, with the different layers of the underground, with the sky above, helping to differentiate the strands as you wrap). That said, Gossamer is a wonderfully organic, subtle example of a smaller-scale, repeating pattern, and the alternating weft threads makes for a wonderful richness of colour which changes depending upon the light, sometimes seeming a more muted, dusky pink, and sometimes almost coppery.

For me, Enchantress felt very solid, and rewarding of careful strand-by-strand tightening. In terms of wrapping qualities I feel that it was the linen content that really had the greatest impact on the wrap’s overall character: it reminded me a lot of wrapping with my Zora Twilight Tourbillon, which is 25% linen, and no wool. Once you got baby where you wanted them to be, they were not going anywhere! However, I was struck that in terms of the haptic experience of the wrap – basically, what it felt like to run my hands over my baby’s bottom in a front wrap cross carry! – it was the small percentage of wool that really ‘spoke’. Enchantress has a delightful, gentle fuzziness (but not prickle) to it which made it a pleasure to handle. It’s also the first wrap I’ve tried which I noticed having a distinctive sound. Perhaps due to the weft fibres, or the pattern, or a combination of both, passes seemed to let out a tschh, sort of like the sound of dragging your feet through dried leaves.

Whilst hosting Enchantress, I tried a whole variety of carries – kangaroo, front wrap cross carry with spread passes, semi pocket wrap cross carry, a simple ruck, Autumn’s ruck – and found it equally supportive in all, even the single-layer carries. I also had the trying experience, halfway across the world from home, of my baby coming down with flu and giving it to the entire household (talk about an extended family bonding experience). Throughout, I was reminded yet again of how valuable wrapping is to me as a parenting tool: it helped me rock my baby when I felt too tired and ill to hold her in arms, it helped her nap in a strange new place, and it brought us both comfort. Enchantress, with its solidity and fuzziness, was a wonderful wrap to have supporting us, and I’m very grateful to Firespiral for the opportunity to try it!

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