Hand woven baby wrap?
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 shuttle throwing across the warp whilst the treadles are pressed (shafts raised/lowered).
How is a hand woven 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 bespoke baby wraps. They are offered via the mailing list and/or Facebook usually a few times a year. If you would like to see the hand weaving process then follow Feather & Hay on Instagram.
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.