babywearing

In praise of the short, thin wrap

It’s hard to write anything right now – even a wrap review – without reference to the overarching situation of the coronavirus lockdown. My husband and I are lucky in that our incomes are not under any threat, at least right now, due to the lockdown, and since it all started I’ve been conscious of the importance of taking advantage of our good fortune to support small businesses where we can. As is probably obvious from previous reviews on this blog, one of my favourite small wrapping businesses is Firespiral Slings. I’m not going to say I wouldn’t have purchased a wrap from their new ‘Blood Moon and Pink Moon’ warp collection anyway, but the lockdown made me even more keen to support this fantastic two-woman venture right now.

Which wrap, however, to choose? The new series is a ‘split warp’, meaning that it features four different designs / blends, but each in two different colourways: Blood Moon or Pink Moon. One of the first details Firespiral dropped about the new collection, even before they released photos of the warp, was that there would be one wrap with a 40% viscose, 60% cotton blend. The last time Firespiral did something like this was Vega Birch Trees, which I believe was one of their most lightweight wraps ever released. I was intrigued by this from the start.

If you’re fairly new to wrapping, you may have come across the concept of ‘toddlerworthiness’: the idea that some wraps are only really good for small babies. Generally, wraps that are deemed ‘toddlerworthy’ tend to weigh in at the mid- to high-end of the spectrum (say, 280gsm and up). I certainly started off wrapping thinking it was best to get a heavy wrap from the outset, so that it would last me ‘all the way through’. However, the longer I’ve been wrapping, the more I find myself reaching for thinner wraps – despite the fact that my massive nearly-10-month-old weighs the same as many toddlers. I find that having less bulky fabric to work with when strand-by-strand tightening results in a neater wrap job that more than makes up for any lack of ‘cush’.

So, I chose the lightest-weight wrap of the new Firespiral collection: the Astral Curves of Pursuit. This is woven using their ‘Elements’ weave, rather than their classic, looser, ‘Alchemy’ weave, and due to this weighs in as more of a midweight wrap at 245gsm. I ordered a size 3, which is my base-3, because with the Little Weaver getting more and more active I can see a very near future in which I’ll want something I can wear as a scarf in between up-and-down wrapping outings. I initially ordered the ‘Blood Moon’ colourway, a red to orange grad, but changed my mind after more photos of the ‘Pink Moon’ were released, and the ever-helpful Tamsin at Firespiral patiently changed my order in the face of my indecisiveness! In terms of wrapping qualities, however, the two are essentially the same wrap, so if you’re interested in the Blood Moon then everything below, apart from the discussion of the colour, also applies to it.

This is a really special wrap. The blend, weave, and pattern all work together to produce what is, for me, the ideal short-and-thin wrap. The ‘Curves of Pursuit’ pattern (who else spent their school years doodling that gradually-rotating series of squares in the margins of exercise books?) is pleasingly grippy, whilst the viscose gives the wrap a lot of diagonal stretch. Together, these two characteristics mean I’ve found it possible to eke out base-2 as well as base-3 carries; not only does it wrap a little ‘long’ for its size, but the grippy pattern means I personally feel comfortable tying off on shorter tails than I might with a more glidy wrap. Meanwhile, the tighter Elements weave prevents the viscose from giving the wrap too much stretch. This is not a ‘saggy’ wrap: tightened well, wrap jobs feel very solid. The wrap is very thin in hand, and makes for neat, narrow ruck straps. It isn’t a wrap that requires any work to break in (unlike Kokiri Mercury Birch Trees, which took a bit of loving!).

And yes, we are extraordinarily lucky to be on lockdown in a very beautiful place!

So far I have enjoyed wearing it in a ruck tied in front, a ruck with a candy-cane chest belt, a Half Jordan’s Back Carry, and semi-pocket wrap cross carry. It sounds like a cliche but it felt like the fabric made it so easy for me to wrap and to wrap well; I had been struggling with Half Jordan’s and with Astral it just suddenly seemed to ‘click’. I have also tried wearing it as a scarf and the thinness of the wrap means that even looping it twice round my neck it doesn’t look like a excess of material; it just looks like a (very very) nice, normal scarf. I think this is going to be fantastic for nursery drop-offs and pick-ups (once nurseries are open again!).

Ok… so about the colour choice. I spent most of my childhood, once I was able to express an opinion on my clothes, furiously resisting my mother’s efforts to dress me in the sort of soft lilac that forms the cooler end of the Pink moon grad. At first glance the strong red tones of the Blood Moon seemed much more ‘me’. But the more photos and videos the Firespiral ladies released, the more I found myself really drawn to that pink grad, and now it’s arrived I’m so glad I chose it. (I’ll say it quietly: Mum, maybe you were right that the colour does suit me…). The silvery-grey viscose weft just harmonises beautifully with the pink and purple warp, and the grad, whilst quite gentle, offers sufficient contrast to make identifying what strand you need to tighten a breeze.

Anyway, that’s a very long blog post about a pretty short wrap. But I really hope it helps if you’re considering getting either of the Astral Curves, whether now or once lockdown and all the associated uncertainties are over. Stay safe and enjoy the wrap cuddles!

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