Glossary of frequently used terms
**more words to be added. Please comment with any words you think could be added.
warp – the yarn that goes onto the loom
weft– the yarn that is put into the shuttle and thrown across the warp
selvedges – the edge of the fabric
epi – ends per inch (or ends per cm) used to work out how many threads will be needed in the warp
ppi – picks per inch used to work how may threads will be used in the weft
shuttle – a pirin with yarn wound onto it will go into the shuttle to be thrown across the warp
pirin – a small cylinder (can be made of card, plastic, wood) shape where yarn is wound onto it
New to Hand Woven Baby Wraps?
A hand woven wrap is a piece of cloth made on a loom by a weaver. The threads that come together to make each wrap will have been handled several times from the measuring to the threading to the tying on and then to the part where a shuttle is thrown through across the warp and the treadles pressed. It is a long process and takes many hours to make.
How is a Hand Woven Baby Wrap different?
Before owning a hand woven wrap you are likely to have owned other types of baby carriers. The closest type of carrier would be a machine woven baby wrap (where a machine powers a large loom to make the fabric), woven wraps are great for their flexibility in use (you can try different ways of carrying), support and can 'grow' with you as your baby gets bigger and heavier. You can change the type of carry rather than the baby wrap. This is the same with a hand woven baby wrap.
Hand woven baby wraps are a piece of art, they are made in low volumes and take many hours to make. They often have lovely wrapping qualities due to a weaver using great quality fibres, slightly looser more flexible weaves and what I believe is the effect of the handling and 'hands on' approach to hand weaving.
Finding out about hand woven baby wraps is akin to walking into a very large sweet store! There are warp yarn choices, weft yarn choices (fibre, colour, order density and so on...), weave choices, middle marker choices, finishes to your wrap and more. It can be daunting but exciting too. Every weaver will be different so it is worth getting to know their style. For example F&H wraps tend to be on the thinner side (although not always!), I beat quite hard when I weave and often use the same Cotton in the warp. Remember the same weave & fibre may turn out differently with a each weaver. It is great to get information from places like Loom to Wrap as there are a lot of baby wearers and baby wrap weavers to guide you in your choices in the end I think it is most important to like your weaver's style.
How do I get a hand woven baby wrap?
Following social media is a good way to know when baby wraps become available. As mentioned before, they tend to be made as limited editions so only a few will ever be available. F&H currently have a few online as I have been weaving an extra wrap or two whilst weaving custom wraps. Check out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & the Online Shop.
What if I want my own design?
You can get slots for custom or semi-custom baby wraps. They are offered via the mailing list and/or Facebook usually a few times a year. Currently there are a few 'mini' custom slots available - find out more here.
A semi-custom: the design is already on the loom (Social Media will keep you up to date with the latest designs)but you get to choose the fibre & colour of weft yarn, sometimes a variation in the weave, the length and finish of the wrap.
A custom: this is where a design fee is paid to bring together your ideas from the very beginning - you can choose warp colour & fibre, weft colour & fibre, weave pattern, the length and finish of the wrap.
What if I want a baby wrap but don't know where to start?
No problem, I am pretty patient and actually love talking about weaving so I am very happy to discuss requirements, guide you with sketches, samples and IT mock ups. A great place to start is by trying a tester wrap and/or being part of the Tester & Chat group on Facebook.
Are hand woven baby wraps hard to look after?
a Hand woven baby wrap does not need to be any more difficult to look after than a machine woven wrap. Both types can be made of fibres that will need to be washed in different ways. For example a wool wrap, whether it is machine or hand woven will often need to be hand washed. The weave of the wrap can make them more likely to pull but I try not to have wraps that have more than 4-5 floats (depending on other factors) which helps prevent pulling issues.
Finding it difficult to understand some of the words used? Take a look at this glossary.
Just remember if you're not sure - get in touch!
Ready to own one? Or fancy a peak at baby wraps available now? Let's Go.
Want to know more about bespoke baby wraps? Let's Go.
Want to try a 'Mini' custom slot? Let's Go.
Questions & Answers
There are often little (or big!) questions that go unanswered as we browse baby wrap sites and Facebook Pages. I remember trying to learn the ins and outs of what to choose for my children and it can be a scary place. Lots of people seem to know an awful lot and asking might bring feelings of incompetence or fear of being misunderstood in our questioning.
Hand Woven wraps can be seen as the ‘Royalty’ of baby wraps (well I would say that wouldn’t I?) but this means they can create feelings of exclusivity and elusiveness. The main purpose of this post is to gather information – take away the mystery to help you make informed decisions.
Feather & Hay hand woven wraps
This place will be a collection of Questions & Answers from the Feather & Hay Tester & Chat group. Adding questions and answers from you as the arise.
Here’s a good place to start:
A fab article by ‘manic pixie dream mama’ on considerations for choosing a woven wrap. The main point being every mama (or papa, grandma…) will like something different.
More questions and answers to come…..
What do you want to know? Join the discussion.
Feather & Hay Fibre Talk: Camel Hair
One of the biggest attractions when starting weaving was the ability to ‘play’ with different fibres. I am fascinated with how different fibres affect my senses. Camel Hair was certainly a fibre I wanted to try and discover more about. When you weave you interact with the yarn all the time; you touch it, run it through your fingers, watch it and see how it can be manipulated into a new ‘thing’. Before choosing a yarn/fibre the weaver needs to make choices about how it can be used.
How are these choices made?
You need to choose where the yarn can be used. A warp (vertical yarn that is put onto the loom, threaded and tied on) has to be strong enough to cope with the pressure of being wound and tightened on the loom. The weft (the horizontal yarn that will be thrown with a shuttle across the warp) can be chosen from a wider range as it doesn’t need to be as strong.
You can choose how dense you want to make the end fabric. When putting the yarns onto the loom I call it EPI (Ends Per Inch). I will test the yarn and make a decision about how the fabric at the end needs to be used. With baby wraps you want it thick enough to be comfortable and strong but not too dense that the fabric doesn’t bend and flex when you wrap with it. That is the basics of it – there are many other characteristics of fabric – drapability, stretch, cush etc.
You don’t normally mix fibres within either the warp or the weft. For example I wouldn’t mix wool with cotton when putting the warp onto the loom as those fibres behave differently when ‘finishing’ them and differently on the loom. Wool is likely to shrink more. On the loom I can tighten cotton more to get tension than I would wool. I started with ‘normally’ because you may want to create those effects of two different fibres, in fact yarns can be purposely put together in one yarn to allow the weaver of knitter to create these anomalies in the end product but not usually with baby wraps.
There are more considerations when weaving and choosing fibres but I think this is a good starting point and well, I have been at it for over two years and still feel like a huge novice – there is so much to learn.
*photo of dyed purple camel hair on a bobbin in a shuttle*
I am pretty new to camel hair. Interested in it for a long while I had read about it and liked the eco-sustainability it has. It doesn’t harm the animal, the fibres are collected by hand during molting seasons when the animals naturally shed their hairs. Fallen clumps of hair are still collected by traditional hand-gathering methods. As far as Carbon Footprints – I don’t know a lot. We won’t be finding camels roaming in Britain so it does mean getting fibres/yarns from further afield – significant supplier countries are: China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, New Zealand, Tibet and Australia. I am finding out more now specifically about the yarn I use – I’ll let you know once I know more!
Often collected from the two-humped Bactrian camel. The camel hair consists of two parts: the fine, soft undercoat or underlayer of hair that is in the yarn I have used. The straighter and coarser outer coat is called guard hair – this can be used in weaving but not in baby wraps. The yarn I have used comes from the adult camel but fibres are also taken from baby camels which is even softer and finer. It can be mixed with o
their fibres and I am interested in sourcing a yarn like this.
If you would like to read in more detail about Camel Hair – where it comes from, how it is collected etc. This is a good article. **
How have I found it?
I have now made scarves and a baby wrap with this fibre. I found it soft and warm with a slight fuzz to the end garment. I have a high tolerance to wool so I find it hard to give an objective opinion on whether it has the common ‘itchy’ feel that can accompany fibres like this. I found there was a slight feel of wool but didn’t find it itchy. I have sent Awhaer the size 3 baby wrap with a Camel Hair weft to Ella Galtrey over at Wrap the Rainbow to tell us what she thinks.
It is a perfect winter wrap as it gives a perfect warmth without weight. It makes a light, cushy wrap when mixed with the cotton warp. I like it because not only is it an unusual fibre due to its quality and scarcity, therefore being a luxury yarn, it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that the animals aren’t harmed or even impacted by the use of their fibre.
What else would you like to know? We will be discussing this in the Tester & Chat group so pop over and join us!
**Camel picture from www.ecosalon.com
Pop over to the Facebook page to join in!
Next up on the Loom! & Semi-Custom slots….
Sagrada Familia Inspiration Warp
Laura’s inspiration starting point was the Sagrada Familia. The warp is a soft 8/2 Cotton with bands of natural and colour across the width (2,4,6,6,6,4,2 inch bands) blending into each other. The colours blend from pinks to light lilac and a deeper purple to gorgeous greens. They are all work so well together.
If you choose to have a semi-custom for this warp you can choose any of the weave patterns below or a mixture of them, choose colour and fibre of the weft (horizontal) yarn and the wrap’s length & finish. They are all twills with varying treadling (pressing of pedals) to create the different patterns.
Please follow the Facebook page for ongoing process photos as the warp is put onto the Loom,
Please fill in this form if you’d like a slot:
I will make sure any slots are allocated by 20.09.16
This is one of the weaves I am hoping to turn into baby wraps. It is one of Bonnie Inouye’s – her designs are amazing but it takes a bit more work than many other weaves I have been working on as it involves two shuttles; one weaves a plain weave and one creates the pattern. I think it will give a cushier, slightly thicker wrap for the Autumn and Winter.
Another plan for the loom is not decided yet as the winner of the current competition on Facebook will be letting me use their inspiration to create a warp. The winner will get a minimum 68cm x 68cm piece or they can upgrade to a baby wrap or scarf. Pop over to Facebook to join in!
I am still mulling over the Autumn/Winter ideas and will pop some more ideas into my August Newsletter – make sure you are on the mailing list to get that in the next couple of weeks.
It’s just around the corner: Spring! With that in mind my thoughts turned to Spring time around the farm I lived on during my childhood. I spent many hours playing in woodlands as the sun’s warmth grew and the days got longer. One of my favourite Spring time blooms is the lovely Bluebell. The bluey-purple carpet that merges into one with the accompanying strong greens and the perfume – ooh I love it!
The inspiration this time is simply ‘Bluebells’ although it has been mentioned in the group that the version with the darker of the two purples is reminiscent of the aurora borealis with its greens & purples.
The weave draft is a simple straight twill, used because it created a lovely floppy baby wrap and because it doesn’t detract from the beautiful colours which are the main focus. The weft cotton is the Egyptian Combed Cotton again so expect gorgeously soft baby wraps!