Monday, November 24, 2014

11 months

Baby Nae will be a year old in a couple of weeks. As always, it seems like the time just flies by. Two years ago I never would have imagined my life as it is today. We thought we were done having babies; that we had left the baby and toddler stage, not to return until our kids were grown and we either became foster parents and/or became grandparents.

It's much different having a baby this time around. Last time I had a baby my oldest was 4. After that first hair-raising attempt, I never even took a shower without locking all three kids in the bathroom with me if I was home by myself with them. Home alone with three little ones while DH was at work, I couldn't nap if any of them were awake. I could never let my guard down for a moment.

I worried a lot as a young mom . . . worried about all the "shoulds" and "must nots"--worried that I would spoil my baby by holding her too much and picking her up when she cried; worried that I would somehow accidentally permanently damage my children by making some minor unknowing mistake in the way we did bedtime or meals or whatever; worried that my kids would never learn to sleep at night or learn socially appropriate behavior; worried that my 5-year-old stealing a toy would, if I didn't respond exactly right, grow up to be a shoplifter. I knew that gentle discipline was the right choice for our family, but I worried about whether it would really "work" to raise kids without spanking or other punitive punishments. I also worried way too much about what other people thought.

Now, my older three kids are 13, 12, and 9. And, while they're not perfect, of course; they are utterly awesome, amazing, wonderful young people. They're not spoiled brats. They're generally polite and respectful, happy, and relatively responsible. They have age-appropriate struggles and behaviors, but they also seem to have skipped a lot of the problematic issues that many kids their age seem to struggle with. We're constantly working on relationship and communication skills, but overall I think we have a great family with generally good relationships. We like each other, and we generally interact gently and respectfully with each other. We are usually able to talk through and solve problems while helping everyone to feel heard, and that's important. Oh, and they aren't picky eaters, can even cook a meal, and sleep through the night. ;)

Our kids are living proof that you don't have to do everything perfectly right as a parent to end up with really great kids that are a joy to be around. :)

With Baby Nae, in many ways I feel like I was given a "do-over" with parenting a baby. I'm so much more relaxed this time around. I no longer worry about spoiling my baby; I can just enjoy her.

There are several other differences this time around. All four kids are healthy and doing well, and our current school, extracurricular activities and lifestyle are generally a good fit for us. I have so much more help and support, between DH and the older kids who are usually glad to volunteer their help with the baby so I can shower, take a nap or just catch my breath for a few minutes. DH and I are in a better place in our marriage, and have better communication and relationship skills than we did 10 years ago. Both of us are physically and emotionally healthier than we have been in the past. That makes a big difference. Even seemingly small things like getting my milk supply regulated and discovering more comfortable and efficient babywearing methods make a big difference.

The clinical study I participated in early in 2009 was life-changing for me, and I'm still seeing a significant improvement in my health issues and neurological symptoms since removing excitotoxins from my diet. I still struggle, but it's much more manageable when I'm careful what I eat as well as doing my best to get enough rest and keep a reasonable pace to avoid adrenaline surges. Getting the EDS diagnosis has helped me to take caring for my body more seriously, knowing that any kind of physical overexertion can have permanent negative effects, since my connective tissues won't heal properly after being overextended.

I'm sure many of the above factors have contributed to the fact that I did not have postpartum depression this time around, as I did after my first two children were born. Having a healthy baby with no postpartum depression to cope with makes the whole experience of having a baby ever so much more enjoyable.

I still struggle a lot with health issues. What this means, basically, is that I have little to no time or energy for anything beyond the necessities of daily life. It takes all my reserves just to get through the day with things like meals, diaper changes, ferrying kids to and from activities, and resting between things. I do have a couple of regular social activities that I attend on a regular basis . . . a faith-based couple's home group, and a babywearing support group. Each meets every other week or twice a month; and that's about all I can handle. With that, I'm usually able to add in one or two other outings or social interactions in a week. Some weeks I can't even handle one extra activity, and other weeks I might sometimes be able to handle three or possibly (rarely) even more.

At this point in my life, though, I'm getting a little better at accepting and working within my limitations.

And all of that together means that in general I'm really, genuinely enjoying life. I'm loving this season and enjoying it for all I'm worth.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tips for Selling on the Babywearing Swaps

I used to buy and sell a lot of items, mostly clothing and accessories, in various online and offline venues; and was successful enough at it that I attained eBay Powerseller status, back in the day. :) 

The basic tips for writing a good ad and selling things effectively are pretty much the same no matter what or where you are selling: Provide lots of information, be honest, and include clear, excellent photos and all relevant details about the item. Be responsive to questions and provide good customer service, make sure your descriptions are accurate, and protect yourself by doing things like shipping only to the confirmed PayPal address and keeping screenshots and good records of all ads and interactions.

When listing on the babywearing swaps:

First, read the rules! If a feedback link is required, set one up and have the link ready before posting. If there is a limit on how many pictures you can post, whether you have to list a price, etc.  make sure you understand and meet those requirements.

When selling, don't put in one dark picture and virtually no info. and expect it to actually sell. "I have this wrap, I don't know what it's called, and I think it might be a size 6 but I'm not really sure" isn't going to generate much interest.
 

Try to include as much of the following information as possible:
 
Photos:
Post at least 3 or 4 really good pictures (one in the OP and three in the comments allowed in the first 15 minutes after posting without counting toward your two bump a day limit, if you're selling on certain babywearing swap Facebook pages). Try to include a flat photo of the wrap, an action shot, a close-up of the weave/pattern and a pic of the most significant flaw if any (with a note that you can PM pics of any others, or will add them to your listing later). Bring in extra lamps if you need better lighting, or take pictures in daylight. Pay attention to what's in the background of your photos . . . clutter in the background can detract from the photo and may turn people off from your listing.

Details about the item: Try to include the brand and pattern name, color and name of colorway, fiber content (i.e. 100% cotton,  a  70/30 cotton/hemp blend,  etc. ) and any other relevant information. If you know or can find out the weight in g/m2, that is information that will be very helpful to potential buyers.
 

Size, measurements: 

Include the size in whatever system the wrap or carrier manufacturer uses, standard number sizes if applicable, AND meters. Always measure the wrap and give actual measurements in case it was sold to you as the wrong size, shrunk when washed, or whatever. It doesn't hurt to add the size in inches too, just to cover all your bases. 

The width of a wrap is measured straight across the grain from one rail to the other, not along the tapers.  

Measure length with soft tape in hand along the rail, like this video shows. Since most wraps with tapers are shaped like a parallelogram /======/ with both rails slanting the same direction, the length should be the same on both rails. If your wrap has atypical tapers, be sure to note this and give the measurements of both rails.

I've seen more than one wrap listed as a size 3 from a manufacturer that doesn't make size 3 wraps, because people didn't measure and double-check what a size XS in that brand was the equivalent of in meters. And then it sat unsold because people know XYZ company doesn't make size 3 wraps and the ad doesn't disclose whether it was chopped from a longer wrap or not.

Laundering/storage details and condition. Is the item unwashed and unworn, in excellent used condition,  or what? Buyers will be interested in knowing if you are a smoke- free home, if you have pets that might get dander or hair in the environment (this really only impacts people with severe allergies),  what type of laundry detergent  has been used on the wrap,  whether wool shows any signs of felting, and any flaws or signs of wear on the wrap.

Obviously, disclose any significant issues/flaws. Better to overdisclose minor or non-issues and give buyers confidence in your honesty than to not disclose something you think is a minor issue but the buyer things is significant.

 Weaver's knots,  pulls, stains and broken threads, slight thread shifting, etc. are all things that should be disclosed although they are usually minor issues (or in the case of nubs/slubs/weaver's knots,  usually non -issues but still a good idea to disclose). Actual holes in the fabric, significant thread shifting or signs of wear, fabric that has been bleached or a wool wrap that has started to felt are safety issues that can make a wrap unsafe to use. Depending on the issue it may be necessary to sell the wrap or carrier for scrap if it's not safe to use for carrying a baby any more. You don't want an injury to someone else's baby on your conscience. Also check to make sure it's not a recalled or unsafe type of carrier,  such as a bag sling or a ring sling made with the wrong type of fabric or rings to be safe for babywearing. (Here's a quick guide to safe and unsafe materials for babywearing.)

 If the item has been altered in any way,  be sure to disclose what was done and who did it. This includes dyeing and chopping. If it's dyed, state the type of dye used and/or the company that dyed it. If it's chopped,  be  sure to include information about whether it was done with blunt or tapered ends,  if/how it was hemmed,  and whether tags and middle markers have been moved. If it's a wrap conversion carrier or ring sling,  state who converted it if you know the converter. If you did it yourself or it was done by someone not well known in the babywearing community,  be  sure to include information relevant to the safety and quality of the work,  such as the brand of hardware such as sling rings or buckles used,  type of  fabric,  type of thread, and method of stitching (for example,  a ring sling sewn with three rows of stitching with Guttermann all-purpose thread at the shoulder;  or whether shoulder straps are sewn with X-boxes,  bar-tacked, or what).

Don't try to be cutesy and say something like, "I don't allow my dog to smoke in the wrap" unless you want people to think that you smoke in the house and let your dog sleep on the wrap. :)

Price. MMARO (make me a reasonable offer) without a starting price makes many buyers want to run the other direction. Even if you're wanting trades only, many forums require that you post the approximate trade value of the item. 

It's a good idea to check around and see what other similar items are selling for in the current market. Start by googling the name of your item and checking the swaps to see if any others are for sale or have sold recently. If the same item is currently available at clearance prices from several retailers,  you're unlikely to be able to sell it on the swaps for full retail price even if that's what you paid for it. Nobody is going to pay $35 plus shipping for your used Infantino mei tai when they can go to their neighborhood big-box store and pick one up for $16 and have it instantly, unless it's customized a special way or something. If it's an item that is in high demand, takes some breaking in,  or ships from outside the country some people may be willing to pay a few dollars more to get it faster without having to worry about customs and international transaction fees,  or to have the breaking-in work already done for them.

Make sure you include common search keywords for the item in your listing, including all possible terms for the item and the brand name fully spelled out as well as the nickname or acronym (like Didy for Didymos) if there is one, but try to weave them subtly into your listing so it doesn't look like just a list of keywords.

Also be sure to post in the correct album or forum. Not only does this help the sale groups run more smoothly;  it also makes it easier for people to find your item if they're looking for something specific.


Post as much info as you can in the original post -- brand, colorway, fabric content, actual measurements of length and width, weight in g/m2 if you know it, any flaws, laundering methods and whether you're a smoke/pet free
home, etc.
Including lots of info in the OP cuts way down on the amount of questions, and makes your listing more appealing to buyers by making it easy to find the information you want.


Then if you don't like having to constantly worry about your listing,  you can just let it sit until it sells, knowing it's where people who are looking for it can find it. Just make sure to respond promptly to any questions/inquiries. When/if you bump, try to do it by adding another pic or some bit of relevant information about the item. Again, be aware of the forum's rules about frequency and type of bumping, and abide by them. 

 
If it sits there for several days or weeks unsold, take a look at whether your price is reasonable for the item in the current market, look to see whether there's anything that might turn off buyers in your photographs or listing, and consider lowering the price. So far, using this method I've rarely had a wrap I've listed on the main swap pages go more than a day or so before selling.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

IBW 2014, day 2: Size 4 Woven Wrap

International BabyWearing week day 2: This is a rucksack carry tied in a knotless Tibetan finish with a size 4 Little Frog woven wrap in Pyrope.

This carry is great for quick ups where I need Nae up out of the way so I can do something like chopping vegetables for dinner without having to worry about her grabbing the knife or getting underfoot in the kitchen.

A size 4 (3.6 meter) wrap is short enough that I can get it wrapped without dragging it on the ground if I'm out somewhere and it isn't too bulky to carry around or unwieldy to wrap, but is still long enough that I can do an extra pass or more involved tie-off for my comfort or run a pass under/over her legs to securely reinforce the carry so she can't push out of it by seat -popping/leg- straightening/excessive leaning.

This particular carry is one that I use only for relatively short periods of time because it puts more strain on my shoulders than some other carries I do with a longer wrap. But it's quick and convenient, keeps little hands out of whatever I'm doing, and Nae loves it because it puts her up high where she can see over my shoulder and feel like she's involved in what I'm doing.

This size wrap also works great for a number of quick hip and front carries that are fast to tie and easy to pop baby in and out of for quick errands, when she needs to nurse, when we're out somewhere and I know she's going to be in and out of the wrap a lot, when she just wants a quick cuddle, or I need her contained for a few minutes; but I'm not planning to have her up for long periods of time.

Someone with less sensitive shoulders would likely be able to use this size of wrap for longer - term carries as well. The thickness, weave and fiber content will also affect how comfortable a given wrap is for particular carries or lengths of time for different people.

I've been on the search for a size 4 wrap that I can wear in a single-layer carry for more than about 3 minutes at a time before it starts hurting my shoulders so much that I have to take it down quickly. The thinner Little Frog wraps at 190-210 g/m2 aren't going to be that wrap for me, but they aren't really intended to be. These lighter-weight Little Frog wraps are designed more for younger babies and will shine best in a multi-pass carry with a wee one. I do really love the colorways they have, and they are great low-budget wraps for people with younger babies,  although some people like them with older babies too.
 
The thicker Little Frog colorways such as Agate, Opal and Flourite are slightly more substantial and have a bit more cush at 240 g/m2, and the heavier cotton lines as well as the linen and wool blends will be more toddler-worthy (although the linen blends take a long time to break in well). The lightest-weight Little Frog line and the wool blends are the softest feeling of the Little Frog wraps I've had the opportunity to play with.

I had a linen-blend Little Frog Choco Agate II for a while. It was easily my favorite rainbow in appearance, but it felt somewhat harsh and unyielding in shoulder feel to me even after several weeks of breaking in. I didn't find it nearly as comfortable as some of my other wraps to wear. The new owner loves how supportive it is with her larger toddler, though, and reports that it continues to soften and break in with continued washing and use.

Both weights of the 100% cotton Little Frog wraps I've tried were pretty soft and easy to wrap with right off the bat, and I felt they were significantly faster and easier to break in enough to enjoy using than several other types of wraps I've tried.

I feel that Little Frog's broken twill is a bit denser and lays a tad bit flatter than Lenny Lamb's similarly priced basic broken twill line, so some people may prefer the feel and wrapping qualities of one over the other. (See this post for more on Lenny Lamb wraps and another comparison shot of the Little Frog and Lenny Lamb broken twill weaves: http://purplekangaroopuzzle.blogspot.com/2014/10/international-babywearing-week-2014-day.html )



If you look closely at the weaves, Little Frog almost seems to have a bit more interconnectedness between stitches, which gives me an impression of the fabric seeming very sturdy for its weight,  and makes it feel flatter and denser to me.  The Lenny Lamb weave is fluffier and a bit airier, with straighter lines in the pattern. The Little Frog stitches look like alternating S-shapes to me, rather than Vs or straight lines.

To me personally,  Little Frog's all - cotton broken twill is not quite as comfortable as Lenny Lamb's.  I prefer wraps with some fluff and cush to them over thinner,  denser wraps. But someone else may prefer the way Little Frog broken twill wraps and feels. The Little Frog wool blend, on the other hand, is one of my favorites--I have a wool blend ring sling and it is so comfy, with the cushy shoulder feel that I like.

Little Frog has also recently come out with a new jacquard-weave line that are in the 250-260 g/m2 weight range. I haven't seen any reviews on these yet, but am looking forward to hearing about and hopefully getting to play with these sometime. (Edit: So far the reviews on these have been good! One person compared the feel and wrapping qualities to the fabric of the mahogany tablecloths beloved by many in the wrapping community, but available in much longer lengths.)

One thing I really like about Little Frog is the colors, and the fact that some of their striped patterns (such as the agates) have different colored top and bottom rails. Wraps that have either different colored rails, a directional print or the front and back different colors are good for learning wrappers because they can help you tell more easily if you've unintentionally gotten the wrap twisted. Stripes also help you know which part of the wrap to pull on if you need to tighten out some slack. Little Frog also has middle markers on both the top and bottom rails, which I find very helpful; and their tails are tapered.

Wrap tastes are very much a matter of personal preference, so what you like or dislike may vary from what I or someone else thinks.  If you can go to a babywearing meetup and try things in person that's always ideal. :)

Little Frog is a great low-budget basic wrap brand that will work well for many people. They are made in Poland, but their website has the option to show text and pricing in English and US dollars as well as Polish and Russian, as well as showing the currency in these and in Euros, depending on what you select in the drop-down menu on the top right corner of the web page.

I also love that we have a Little Frog vendor here in the USA who is someone I met through the local babywearing community here. Her prices are pretty comparable to what you would pay directly from Little Frog after shipping and currency conversion/foreign transaction fees, and with free shipping in the USA you'll have it faster, with no worries about customs fees or clearance delays:  http://www.simplycarried.com/ They carry other brands too!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

International Babywearing Week 2014, Day 1: Hands-Free Comfort


To celebrate International Babywearing Week, and to get back into the habit of posting on my blog, I plan to make a series of posts about various aspects of babywearing. I started off doing this on Facebook, but I thought why not post on the blog too? So this is Sunday's post, with some additional fleshing-out. :)

Having EDS (and the other health issues that go along with it) makes holding and carrying Baby Nae for any length of time difficult and often painful for me. I'm so thankful for the wraps and other babywearing devices that allow me to hold her as needed without undue strain and damage to my back, shoulders and other joints. It's taken some trial and error to figure out which carriers and methods of wrapping work well for me and distribute the weight without causing pressure points or extra pain, but they make life so much more manageable.

Tonight babywearing worked to get a sick, fussy, restless baby finally soothed to sleep by being wrapped up. She's cutting multiple teeth and has a cold, poor thing. And was wide awake for several hours after a brief nap in the car on the way home this evening. Often being wrapped will soothe Nae and get her to sleep when nothing else will. I think being comfortably and gently restrained with even body pressure from the wrap is calming for babies and helps them relax and fall asleep.

In the above photo I'm wearing the wrap in a carry called the Kangaroo carry, which is my favorite front carry because it's easy for me to get snug and secure, it is a fairly simple carry to tie (once you get the shoulder flip down), you don't have to put the baby down to tie it, it's not too hot with only one layer of fabric over baby, and it's relatively easy to get a sleeping baby in and out of without waking her. I can't find a video that shows how to do it in the way I personally find easiest, so I might have to make one. :)

This wrap is a size Medium (4.6 meter, equivalent to size 6) Lenny Lamb jacquard woven wrap in the colorway (name for the color and pattern) called Eclipse Black & Yellow. This is a substantial, 100% cotton wrap that is on the heavier side at about 280 g/m2 . . . it's workable new, but would definitely benefit from some breaking in. I'm not finding it too hard to wrap and tie with after a wash, line dry and steam iron, but I think it will soften and improve more from where it is now, as I haven't used it much yet.

It feels very substantial and supportive, and is a fairly dense and tapestry-like weave. If you prefer a more dense and solid feel without too much "give" or bounce in a wrap and like solid support, this may be the wrap for you. I really love the look of it, and it looks lovely in a carry that shows the pattern in reverse colors on the back side. (This was my very first attempt at a Jordan's back carry with a ring finish, so please excuse the sloppy wrap job.) Eclipse seems about midrange to me as far as how long it seems to be taking to break in compared to the other brands such as Didymos and Natibaby wraps I've bought new. I can definitely tell it's getting softer with each use.

The Eclipse pattern seems to be mostly sold out, but as of this writing they do still have it at a discount in the outlet in both black and yellow, and also in a turquoise and white version.


Lenny Lamb is a newer brand, and they have gorgeous wraps that for the most part fall into the budget category--you can get a LL wrap in their basic broken twill weave with shipping from Poland included for well under $100, and at approximately 220 g/m2 their basic twill weave wraps are a nice weight, with a bit more beefiness and cush than similarly-priced broken twill wraps I've tried from other companies.
 

Their patterns are absolutely gorgeous and I've been impressed with the quality and feel of even the "grade B" discounted items I've purchased from their outlet (which have some sort of cosmetic flaw such as a weaver's knot or small pull that doesn't affect the safety or use of the wrap at all). 

They regularly have a coupon code for up to a 15% discount, linked from the Discount Area of their website (look for the "special coupon" link at the top of the page). And, once you make a purchase you automatically get an affiliate link (for instance, my affiliate link to their homepage would be http://en.lennylamb.com?rid=19435 ) that gives you a credit toward a future purchase for a percentage of purchases made through your link. As of this writing, they even give you a percentage of your current purchase as an automatic credit you can use on your next purchase.

Do note that the prices are in Polish Zloty (PLN) rather than dollars. You can find out what the equivalent to US currency is at today's conversion rates by typing "convert PLN to USD" into Google. A little conversion widget will pop up, accompanied by a graph showing the conversion rate over the past several years. Just put the amount you want to convert in and it will tell you that, for instance, today 200 Polish Zloty equals approximately $60.47 in U.S. Dollars.

I found my Lenny Lamb Autumn 100% cotton broken twill wrap soft and easy to break in (it was pretty soft and easy to wrap with after the initial wash/dry/iron), with decent cush for the weight. I felt it had a good balance of density and texture--grippy enough to hold a knot well without being difficult to pull passes across, and was easy to wrap without being as diggy as thinner wraps can be. It was still a bit lighter-weight than I prefer (I like really thick marshmallowy wraps), but I would recommend it as a basic budget wrap and an excellent beginner wrap.



I've tried several Little Frog wraps for comparison, and in general I personally prefer Lenny Lamb's broken twill over Little Frog's at a similar price point.

Lenny Lamb's basic twill is thicker and beefier than Little Frog's thinnest line, and feels a bit softer and more comfortable to me than LF's heavier 100% cotton broken twill wraps while having fairly comparable substance. Little Frog's lowest price tier wraps are geared more toward younger babies, and are excellent for that--soft, beautiful, easy to break in and easy to tie. But at 190-210 g/m2 the thinner LFs are not as toddler-worthy as a slightly heavier wrap would be, and tend to be more diggy with an older baby. (For more of my take on Little Frog wraps, see here: http://purplekangaroopuzzle.blogspot.com/2014/10/ibw-2014-day-2-size-4-woven-wrap.html

The photo below shows Lenny Lamb's basic broken twill on the left,  and Little Frog's heavier weight broken twill on the right. There's another close-up of the weaves from a different angle in my Little Frog post.



There's generally a bit of a tradeoff in finding the balance between factors like cush and moldability, support and softness, firmess and bounce, grippiness and ease of wrapping. Different people will find their own sweet spot in different wraps, with much variation even within a brand in how a given wrap combines the various characteristics that determine how it feels, looks and wraps. One person's favorite wrap may be one someone else doesn't like at all, so going to a babywearing meetup to try them out for yourself is always helpful. :)

One thing I do like better about Little Frog is that their wraps have middle markers on both top and bottom rails, whereas at least some of Lenny Lamb's designs have a middle marker on only one rail. However, Lenny Lamb does have excellent customer service and said they could send me an extra middle marker to sew on along with my next order. 

Another thing to take note of is that, as of this writing, many of the Lenny Lamb striped wraps are the same color on both rails, as are some of the Little Frog colorways. While the stripes still help learning wrappers in knowing which part to pull on to tighten out slack, many beginners will find it helpful to have either different colored rails, or a pattern which is a different color on the back of the wrap than the front. 

So that's something to watch for when choosing a wrap from any company.  Both Little Frog and Lenny Lamb have some colorways that have different color rails, directional prints, and/or different colors on the front and back of the wrap, and I find this immensely helpful in knowing whether I have the rails twisted or not. :) 

Both brands have tapered tails, which I also find helpful.

I think Lenny Lamb Autumn feels similar to the approximately 240 g/m2 all-cotton Little Frog Flourite, but slightly softer and less dense. Although it's supposedly lighter weight than Flourite, Lenny Lamb's Autumn just looks and feels somehow a little fluffier to me. I have a size 7 Autumn and find it decently comfortable for 30 minutes or more with my 10-month-old in a double hammock, though my thicker cotton wraps (Inda Jani Binni Rayado and Lenny Lamb Galleons, both in the 290-300 g/m2 range) and my size 7 hemp-blend Natibaby  pink Reflection wrap (which I  usually wear in a double hammock) are my favorites for the most long-term comfort with my picky shoulders.

Their all-cotton wraps are generally going to be best for bigger babies and toddlers, but Lenny Lamb also makes bamboo blend wraps which I hear are amazingly soft and buttery and cuddly for a newborn. I have one of those on my "want" list if we ever have another baby. :) I hear very good things also about their ergonomic carriers, which seem to be very popular.

Lenny Lamb's limited-edition jacquard wraps are heavier and more detailed in the weave, but still fall into a very moderately priced range. They range from fairly thin and dense, such as the Twisted Leaves patterns, to at least as thick as 290-300 g/m2, such as Galleons. 




In a jacquard weave, the patterns are not printed on the fabric, but rather created by weaving threads of different colors together to make a pattern that is visible on both sides of the fabric (though the colors are reversed on the back). Lenny Lamb has taken this technique to a whole new level with the amazingly detailed artistry of their patterns. They have even started reproducing works of art such as this beautiful Rennaisance painting, Man of War Between Two Galleys by Pieter Breugel the Elder, on wraps. 


I got the opportunity to try someone else's Lenny Lamb Galleons wrap that had only been through its first wash and worn maybe a couple of times. Even though it's on the heavier side, with its slightly looser weave I found it quite comfy and easy to wrap with right off the bat. The cushy shoulder feel and ease of wrapping were quite surprising in a wrap that new in a more substantial weight range like that--the owner said she was impressed with how it wrapped without much breaking in, too. 

I ended up buying a Galleons of my own, and after using it for a while I'm blown away by the way it feels and wraps. I like my other Lenny Lamb wraps too but I like Galleons the best of nearly any 100% cotton wrap in any brand that I've had the opportunity to try . . . it is just such a nice balance of supportive and cushy, not too hard to wrap or terribly pull-prone without being super dense. It's one of the cushiest all-cotton wraps I've felt, and it is surprisingly moldable and easy to wrap and tie for its weight of
290-300g/m2


To me Galleons seems less dense than Eclipse, with longer stitches and thicker thread with more airiness in the weave, which makes it feel softer and gives it more flexibility and a spongier texture even before breaking in. As I use it more, it is definitely softening and getting floppier and even better--I am looking forward to seeing what it's like when it's totally broken in.
 

I admittedly have very little experience and am somewhat of a wrapping newbie, but Galleons reminds me in feel and wrapping quality a bit of the handwoven wraps I've had the opportunity to try, more than any of the other machine-woven wraps I've tried so far. It has almost as much cush and shoulder comfort as my budget handwoven Inda Jani Binni Rayado which is about the same weight in g/m2, but without so much bulk and grip, which in combination with the tapered tails makes it easier to wrap and tie.

I am able to tolerate single-layer and one-shoulder carries in Galleons for much longer than most other wraps I've tried, and I can actually wear it in usually-problematic-for-me carries such as a ruck tied knotless Tibetan and Poppins for about as long if not longer as my softest hemp-blend Natibaby wrap, and definitely longer than some of my other hemp blends that aren't yet as broken in. I usually have trouble with one-layer and one-shoulder carries for any length of time, so this is pretty significant for me.

My Galleons is turquoise and navy in a size XS (size 4, which is 3.6 meters) and it's really more of a sky blue or bright turquoise as opposed to the deeper teal color I was expecting, but it's really beautiful and the fabric has a sheen that makes it almost luminous when the light hits it. Here's a comparison photo of the Galleons Navy Blue & Ecru next to Galleons Navy Blue & Turquoise in indoor light without camera flash.



It's a directional wrap, with a definite right-side-up way to wear it, but the colors and textures still look neat even on the reverse side and if you accidentally wrap it upside-down, as I'm sure to do occasionally:
 



Lenny Lamb has also recently released another new wrap based on a piece of artwork, called Horizon's Verge. Since it's close to the same weight at 280 g/m2, is the same type of artistic piece, and the same price as the Galleons wraps, my best guess would be that it might be similar in type and wrapping qualities. I talked to someone who bought one, and she said that it was so soft and floppy even in loom state that she literally gasped when she took it out of the bag.

Here's where I found the weight and also some more closeup photos of the fabric: en.lennylamb.com/products/show/2031_horizons-verge-jacquard-weave-fabric-100-cotton-width-140-cm-weight-280-gm²?rid=19435

Having a wrap that is beautiful and collectible as well as practical isn't necessary to carry your baby, but it's sure enjoyable. :) And with a wrap like Galleons, the wrapping quality for the price is in my opinion very good.


Disclosure: I was not asked or paid to write about Lenny Lamb products on my blog; I just chose to do so because I like them. I do get a credit toward a future purchase if someone uses the links here to buy something. :)

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Ten Minutes

These last few weeks have been grueling physically and emotionally. We've had so much going with illness, camps, the fair, family gatherings, birthday parties and a death in the family. The kids are tired and grumpy and I'm fighting a flare -up.

I wanted to make sure I spent some time connecting with each of my kids today, but I knew it was a rough day physically and my energy would be very limited, so I set a goal of 10 minutes of focused individual time with each kid.

The first one took me for a walk out to the other end of the property to show me her secret place, the second one opted to do a craft together, and the third didn't like any of the ideas I suggested and couldn't come up with any ideas of her own that didn't involve screen time, so reluctantly sat with me and had a bit of conversation for 10 minutes.

I'm not sure if I should hold firm to my "doing something together that allows for interaction and doesn't involve screen time" rule for next time, or if doing something like playing Minecraft together would be more positively relationship - building than forcing a conversation with a kid who doesn't really want to be there.

It took us about an hour to accomplish 10 minutes of focused time together with each of the three older kids by the time we figured out what to do and whose turn it was to watch the baby with each one.

By the time it was done I was exhausted, hobbling painfully, and needed a nap (perfect timing since the baby was ready for some quiet time too). But I'm glad we did it. I'm hoping to work it into our routine on at least a semi -regular basis.

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