Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and Winter Hill – Sister wraps

Slinging twins with the Cloudburst Cascade sister wraps!

I came here today to write about our Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and Winterhill wraps, but before I started I read the review that The Wrapping Years have written about Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and I really don’t think that there is anything that I could add to tell you any more than she has written so beautifully already, so I’ll be brief and share lots of lovely photos.

In hand, Cloudburst feels fairly light, and very floppy. When I took it out of the package, Cloudburst virtually flowed out, pooling on the floor in a puddle of delicious fabric. There’s a contrast between the silky smooth soft Cascade warp face and the fine, slightly rougher, texture created by the two different threads in the weft. 

What are sister wraps? Firespiral Sister wraps share the same warp and weft, but with different designs. Previous examples are Solstice Obsidian Starmap and Kaleidoscope, CMYK Obsidian Charters Moss and Gossamer, and SETI Cascade Starmap and Harvest (to be released as our Winter Wovenland exclusive).

Twin nap time in the the Cloudburst Cascade sister wraps

The Cloudburst wraps are both tri-blends of 59% cotton, 33% linen 8% viscose. They are medium weight wraps at around 250gsm, making them great all-season all-rounders. The multi-tonal turquoise Cascade cotton warp face is velvety soft, the indigo Cloudburst weft face a little rougher, but providing some brilliant grippiness to keep any wrap job solid! They are soft from the first wash but will soften further with use. They are thin enough to be suitable from birth but sturdy (and supportive) enough to use with a heavy preschooler. (that’s me in the last photo with my 4-year-old!)

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam

Cloudburst Cascade Winterhill

Cloudburst Cascade Winterhill

Carrying a hefty child in Cloudburst Cascade Winterhill

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and Winterhill will be available from our online shop from 10am (BST) on Saturday 28th October. There will also be a small number of matching scarves available.

 

Orion Aqua Starmap: boy or girl wrap?

The pastel pink weft and baby blue warp of Orion Aqua Starmap combine two colours that are usually very separate in modern western society.  

 

Orion Aqua Starmap on a frosty pebbled beach

 

Cultural norms tell us that we must either choose pink or blue, and that choice depends on our gender, or more likely the gender of our child.

An article from the Smithsonian tells us about the history of this (it is worth a read in full).

This wasn’t always the case though, up until the early 1800s, both sexes wore easily bleached white dresses up to age 6, meaning that gender neutral clothing was the norm. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out. For example, a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department wrote, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.

In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.

Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way,” Paoletti says.

I have a daughter and two sons, and have always really disliked this labelling of babies and children. I have worked hard to buy gender neutral clothes in bright and cheerful colours, my favourites from companies like Swing and Rock and Tiny Vikings, but society got to my little girl and she went all pink on me at around the age of 5 (I guess school probably had something to do with that!). I encourage my children not to refer to things (toys, books, TV programs) as gender specific too – it doesn’t always work and I often get told that I am wrong, but hey, I’m just trying, and hopefully they will appreciate that some day!

Tamsin and her family walking in the Lake District, UK.

Back to Orion Aqua Starmap – I really like this wrap. I don’t usually pick pastel colours for myself, but this warm pink and aqua together are really flattering.  I am glad that I ‘had’ to get to know it, as I have discovered something new about myself in the process. Orion is an elements weave wrap, meaning it is tighter and denser. From new it is fairly stiff, with a rough weft , and not-quite-as-smooth-as-alchemy-wraps warp face. It is a pretty heavy wrap, at around 320 gsm, and in loom state feels like it is going to need a lot of work to soften up. The low wool content (around 15%) and the elements weave mean that this wrap is easy to care for. I machine washed mine twice (on a wool setting) to remove any processing oils from the wool. It was still pretty stiff and rough when dry, so I washed again and then, very bravely, put it in the tumble dryer on gentle. That really made a difference, and although the weft is still very textured is isn’t rough anymore. The wrap has gone from flat to very articulated- the weft face puffing through the warp face, forming tiny islands of colour and texture. 

 

Orion in loom state on the left, and after three washes and a tumble dry on the right.

To wrap with, it is strong and supportive. Passes lock into place and don’t budge. It doesn’t sag. The thickness makes it forgiving of sloppier wrap jobs too. I have carried my 3 year old a lot in this wrap recently, as it is so very easy to get a comfortable carry (and it looks good with my winter coat!).

To finish with , and to get back to the original point of this post, this is not a wrap for baby boys or girls, depending on which way it is worn, this is a wrap for people who like pretty wraps.

Orion Aqua Starmap will be available from our online shop from 31st January 2017.

Fledgling Scheme for first time buyers: Updated

“Buy your first ever woven wrap and receive half of the purchase price back to spend on whatever you like in our shop!”

The Fledgling scheme gives first time buyers 50% of the price of your first wrap back as gift card credit for you to spend in our shop, whenever and however you like. There is no time limit for using the credit, you can use it over multiple smaller purchases or put it towards the cost of the wrap.

That first wrap also counts towards our loyalty scheme, as do any other purchases over £80, even if you pay using your credit.

 

Why was it set up?

We know that woven wraps can seem expensive at first, especially if you aren’t 100% sure that wrapping will be ‘right’ for you and your family. We also know that people who receive good early support and advice, and who use a woven wrap that functions really well will have far more positive experiences of wrapping and grow to love it!

We wanted to reduce the hurdle of price by offering a generous incentive, and address issues around the initial learning curve by encouraging babywearers to seek support from local babywearing services and by offering them excellent materials to work with. It has been said that our wraps “wrap themselves” which is quite handy for a beginner!

The fledgling scheme was intended to encourage new wrappers to seek out well functioning wraps and expert support from libraries in order to give them the best start and not be unnecessarily deterred.

How has the scheme changed since it was set up?

Originally, Fledglings were given a 55% refund in cash. We found that in many instances, the scheme was being used as a hardship fund, which was never its intended purpose and left the system open to abuse. Our wraps are high quality and woven in the UK, which naturally makes them very expensive to produce. Despite this cost, we are still one of the most affordable UK woven brands on the market, meaning that the fledgling scheme runs at a loss for us. It was never designed to run as a charitable enterprise such as the “Up Project”, is a business promotion, albeit one with wider benefits (and we engage in charity work in other forms). So now, we are giving people that same amount of cash back, but effectively stipulating that it can only be spent on our own products. We feel that this is an excellent deal and a great way to be welcomed into the Firespiral family!

Who is eligible?

Anyone who is new to woven wraps, who doesn’t currently own one within their household and who would like to use wraps as one of their main methods of baby carrying.

How do people access the scheme?

The scheme is only delivered through libraries and babywearing educators. They will offer you support, advice and education regarding woven wraps, then fill in an application form on your behalf  and give you a code to use on your purchase. Your credit will appear in the ‘gift card’ section of your account within 7 days of purchase and us receiving the completed form.

 

5 Tips for autumn wrapping and an introduction to Bowland Octarine Birch Trees

Autumn is a season of extremes, and working out what to wear, which woven wrap to choose and how to dress your baby from one day to the next can be a challenge! Here are some tips from the Firespiral team on how we wrap in autumn.

  1. At the start of autumn, layer up! – Remember that each layer of cloth in a carry acts like a layer of clothing too, so you can use a single layer carry in hotter weather, and add passes as it cools down. Pack a large cardigan that will fit over both you and your wrappee if the day starts out warm, as it may cool down quickly once the sun goes in.
    bowland-octarine-birch-trees_09-min

    Bowland Octarine Birch Trees in a back carry

  2. Choose a fibre blend that will work well for you in different temperatures. Merino blends are great for this. Due to its natural qualities and benefits, including breathability and insulating capacity, Merino wool has historically been used across different seasons. It has the unique ability to keep the wearer warm in cold temperatures and cool and fresh in the hottest climates. Merino is also hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for babies. Read more amazing facts about merino on this blog on merino.com, and find out about washing our easycare merino.
    bowland-octarine-birch-trees_04-min

    Bowland Octarine Birch trees, folded, weft face showing.

  3. Prepare for a shower or two! As a sling librarian I often get asked about how to sling in the rain. My first recommendation is a good umbrella. I use a clear Fulton Birdcage umbrella – the shape means that it doesn’t blow inside out if it is windy, and it fits really nicely over the both of us. My second recommendation is a waterproof  poncho which packs down nice and small. I have two of these, both cheap pac-a-mac ponchos which I have modified with a pair of scissors – in one case I have chopped off the hood and made a V shape to  accommodate my wrappee’s head when I am back carrying (it was a 5 minute job but it works really well). The other is a pac-a-mac that is meant for hikers to wear over a large rucksack. I have modified that section into a space for my toddler, and think we would both survive a monsoon in it!
    moss twilight winter hill

    Moss Twilight Winter Hill

  4. In the middle of autumn dress warmly under your wrap. I like to wear a thick polo neck jumper and a scarf or cowl, and I dress my toddler in a warm jumper,  woolly hat, and trousers which don’t ride up. We love Swing and Rock’s extra long babywearing cuffs on their leggings and dungarees.
    14705876_10154464591961083_5965557381993188712_n

    Bowland Octarine Birch Trees in a ruck tied Tibetan, over a thick jumper.

  5. Towards the end of autumn and through the coldest months, nothing beats a purpose made babywearing coat. I have tried a few, and my all time favourite is the Mam babywearing poncho. I love how it looks good even without a baby, and how it is both warm and shower proof. The only downside about wearing a babywearing coat is that no one can see your beautiful wrap underneath! Don’t be tempted to wrap a small baby who is wearing a snowsuit –  this great article by Rosie Knowles from Sheffield Sling Surgery explains why.
    bowland-octarine-birch-trees_12-min

    Bowland Octarine Birch Trees

    Bowland Octarine Birch Trees will be available in our website shop from Sunday 16 October at 6pm BST.
    You’ve discovered the extra special code for Valencia Twilight Festival!!
    We only have a couple of these wraps left on our shelf, so we want to help them on their way to new homes. Enter the code at checkout  in our shop for a very exciting discount!

valenciadiscount-min

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our blog. We’d love you to sign up to our newsletter where you will receive a monthly treasure trove of wrappy information!

Copper Glasto Harvest

The image of a bare-branched tree is something that has always resonated strongly with me (you’d only need to take a quick look at my art collection to come to that conclusion yourself!). I love the metamorphosis that autumn brings, the once verdant leaves turning red and copper and gold, dropping to the ground and revealing the stark beauty of the branches beneath.

Midwinter was our first woven wrap which featured this tree. At that point I thought of it as an apple tree, as that is what I see from the window when I am working. This changed when working on the development from Midwinter to our autumnal Harvest tree, and experimenting with various leaf types. The oak leaf worked best, so it became an oak, and along with the oak leaf came acorns, and you can’t have acorns without a few squirrels…

copper-glasto-harvest_01-dark-2-min

 

Copper Glasto Harvest uses the same shimmery terracotta hemp and teal green combed cotton warp which we used for our Copper Glasto Murmuration wraps. The hemp is our standard hemp which we have used in many of our previous designs. See our video to hear a bit more about our hemp weft.

Copper Glasto Harvest is a medium weight woven wrap at around 245 gsm, it is woven using our Alchemy weave, making it soft and mouldable and needing very little breaking in. This is a true birth to toddler wrap, it is soft and thin enough for a newborn yet strong and supportive enough for a toddler, even in a single layer carry.

 

copper-glasto-harvest_03-sq-min copper-glasto-harvest_10-min copper-glasto-harvest_12-min copper-glasto-harvest_22-min

Copper Glasto Harvest will be available to buy from our website on 10th September 2016, from 10am BST

 

If you’ve enjoyed this post why not sign up to our monthly newsletter.