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: )

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: They carry other brands too!

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