Artipoppe – Two Birds Havana – Review

Artipoppe

Artipoppe is a Netherlands based high end machine woven wrap company who have been around for a couple of short years. In that time the company, through its use of distinctive designs and unusual blends, has taken the wrapping market by storm. The incredibly small “wrap lab” releases are highly sought after and attract an avid fan base. 

I’ve always been curious to try one since I fell in love with two designs that were released on Smallest’s birth day. Two Birds Romjul and Argus Bison remain my two favourites despite scores of releases after. I remember sitting at the table with my mother, scoffing at the use of yarns such as bison and baby camel and the seemingly bonkers costs such highly sought after wraps commanded. I am learning to eat my words. 

flat shot of havana

Flat shot of Havana by Artipoppe

The wrap

I was incredibly blessed to make wrapping friends with a lovely lady in Romania. Like many “hobbies” that are expressed via the Internet, the wrapping world is no different with many of its participants being absolutely lovely people. I had bought a Mokosh from her and we got to chatting about wraps in general. She offered to send me one of her AP’s on holiday. Holidaying a wrap is basically sending a relatively new one to someone else for them to do some of the hard work of breaking it in so it gets soft and easy to work with much quicker. Sometimes it might be a wrap that’s not worn so much and just deserves a little trip away. In any case, a fair bit of trust is required so I felt very honoured to be holidaying her Two Birds Havana. 

It arrived about a week later and the package was opened in excitement. First of all I was quite shocked at the weight; being a size 6 I had expected it to be heavier but crikey, this was blanket-like. I later looked it up to see that it comes in at about 340g/sq.m so it’s by far the heaviest wrap I’ve tried. Not surprising as its blend is 38% Egyptian cotton 35% cashmere 19% linen 8% mulberry silk; this quad blend is woven very tightly hence its weight and blanket like feel. 

The design is an AP classic; Two Birds (2B) is a licensed Escher design of contrasting birds in a constant pattern of flight where the eye tends to land on the birds going in one direction before realising the gaps are birds flying opposite. It’s a design that translates very well to a wrap and Havana uses the larger birds size. These birds are huge. 

Woven on a black cotton warp the birds are a vibrant teal green with details – and the opposite birds – in purple. The shimmer suggests that the linen and silk are the teals and the cashmere is the purple. The reverse side is almost wholly purple. It’s a very striking combination. 

smallest in a fwcc

Smallest in the first attemped FWCC

Working with Two Birds Havana

The birds came to me having had a bath, iron and a little wearing though I suspect not much. I was warned that the wrap was still beastly, and it was. I upped Smallest into a front wrap cross carry and gave up trying to tie a double knot, leaving the long tails gripping themselves and hanging forlornly. My wrapping was sloppy (sloppier than usual) with passes gaping all over the place and yet she was weightless. Smallest had gone from being a sturdy 11m old to feeling like a newborn and not a single pass budged. Ok, so the birds were a beast, but a very supportive beast. I promised myself that instead of picking her up from the childminder’s using our converted Madama GooGoo soft structured carrier that I’d be good and use the birds each time. I had a job to do and I was going to do it well, damn it. 

As the birds are a size six I have been mostly working with multi pass carries, either a FWCC or recently a double hammock. The birds have been a challenge to wrap with, the cashmere and cotton stiff and the give of the wrap sometimes unyielding. That said, the texture of the weave has meant that though my tightening has lacked uniformity the passes really haven’t moved. Over time it clearly has been softening up as I’ve managed double knots that are not comically large and tightening has been easier. 

Wearing

Each evening I’d pick the girls up for the walk home, Smallest in a FWCC and holding my elder daughter’s hand. The weather has been mostly shocking; sluicing rain and very windy. Smallest has been tired, consumed by the hard work of growing teeth and generally being her engaged and charismatic self. She’s clearly enjoyed being in Havana as against the weather she has either been snuggled in or peering over the rails. 

I’m stunned by how small she feels in the birds, and stupid that I don’t wrap more walking home (wrapping has mostly been a weekend thing since returning to work). In the wrap conversion carrier I was starting to feel her weight in a front carry. Not so with the birds as, if anything, she disappears into the width and support of the fabric. 

In contrast to the challenge of working with a baby and an unwieldy wrap (babies are less good at keeping still), Havana has come into its own with my 3 1/2 year old. I haven’t really carried her since Smallest came along and I have missed her wrapping company a lot as her conversation is so engaging. 

back shot of a double hammock

Easy ups with a preschooler in a double hammock

She took great interest in the birds when they arrived and one morning asked to for a back carry. Ok thought I, why not, it’s a beast and if anything will help with breaking it in, some sessions with my eldest are just the ticket. In short, this wrap was made for toddlers and preschoolers, it’s brilliant. I attempted a simple ruck with her and even in a single layer carry her lean but leggy weight was easy to carry. During our time I’ve finally played with getting a double hammock carry right and think I’ve cracked it. Using a DH with my eldest has been perfect. She hasn’t wanted to get down and we have so enjoyed the carrying, even if it’s just been around the house whilst watching the forever popular Octonauts.  

double hammock to the side

My eldest in a double hammock, probably making notes about my shoddy wrapping skills

This afternoon it was beautifully crisp but windy so I went delivering Christmas cards with the girls. Smallest was buggled up high on my back in a DH. It had taken a bit of work to get her there accompanied by the occasional internalised swear word and ended in a slightly sweaty puce face (mine) as she piddled about, but we got there. She really was weightless and very happily ensconced; no hint of the birds being a toddler prison but just a nice secure carry. For the first time the passes had worked more easily, and though the chest pass wasn’t perfect, the little shifting the birds did as we walked just tightened it up nicely without her heading south down my back. I’d even managed a good double knot. 

smallest in a double hammock

Smallest, mid teething, about to go Christmas card delivering

I personally wouldn’t recommend Two Bird Havana for little babies. It’s density and lack of give wouldn’t lend well to a squish. It’s good for babies around Smallest’s age, particularly now that it’s softening up. However, this wrap was really made for toddlers and preschoolers and for that I can’t speak of it more highly. If you’re at the stage when your looser woven or more delicate wraps are becoming diggy on the shoulders with your older baby, just sell the lot and buy this. Other people have written similarly about its toddler worthy status and I totally concur. I’m so happy I got to holiday these birds. 

Further reading

Artipoppe have a website where you can look up past releases and buy the larger released black label. Wrap Lab releases are sold (in seconds) via Etsy and announced on the Facebook page.

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