I introduced you to a rather interesting tester that I had land here last week. Barbarian is one of the first releases to come from Coco-N Fashion in Russia and you may recognise the owner as she also runs Mokosh.
Barbarian is a quad blend of 65% Egyptian long-staple cotton, 15% extra fine merino wool, 10% tencel and 10% Pima cotton. There is a good balance here between the strength, grunt and slight sheen of the Egyptian cotton and the softer Pima cotton, merino and tencel.
It is designed using four interweaving knots that echo shield knots from Celtic and Nordic mythology. The shield knot affords the wear protection and this appeals to the parts of me that uses clothing and jewellery for the same reason. Together they often form my armour and so I like that the design of a wrap has a similar meaning.
I weighed Barbarian and it came in at a jaw dropping 385g m/sq, post wash. This really surprised me, as it doesn’t feel particularly beastly in hand. The weave is very tight with small/close threads that mask the weight, leaving it feeling medium weight/density in hand. I hear it’s the heaviest Coco-N wrap in their first collection and designed for older babies and children. If so it achieves this without feeling like a beast.
The colours of Barbarian are, quite frankly lush. I am soft autumn when it comes to colour analysis and so the teal and forest greens are right up my street. I’d suggest this would also very much suit winter palettes too. The weave is clever and makes maximum use of the different colour threads. It appears to be a black warp that shows through one side as tiny stripes in the pattern. This side has a cross crossing of almost acidic lime green knot lines on a forest background. The reverse has slightly metallic green/golden sheen to it where the knot lines are more muted. The pattern and colours are so good both sides that the use of flipped rails is very much validated.
Then there’s the texture that is picked out in both the design and the use of the different fibres. Overall it feels semi smooth however as it breaks in more and the merino fluffs up, the pattern will become more pronounced.
Working with Barbarian
In the short time I have had the wrap it has gone on a significant journey to breaking in. When it arrived it was firm so I gave it a good wash and iron to see how it would go. I used it first with my eldest who is 4.5 years old as everything pointed to it being a very older child worthy wrap. Her sister was napping and my eldest was in a sanguine mood so I wrapped her in an RRRR with a candycane chest belt. This used to be my nemesis carry until I realised that it works very well with old children who are less wriggly and settle into the seat much better. I also wanted to use a carry that showed both sides of the wrap. It was a firm workout to get her up in it but there she stayed for over an hour.
We took Barbarian to the Formby National Trust forest and beach for a day out and I wrapped Smallest in a Ruck Tied Tibetan, which is one of my favourites. Working the chest passes through the straps was very easy and with thoughtful tightening I found that the shoulders packed down very neatly and did not slip.
I later changed this carry to a ruck tied under the bum that I double knotted as Barbarian was not in half knot territory until the merino and cottons fluffed up some more. I have also tied Barbarian in a Double Hammock that, for a 5, I was very pleased about. A 5 is really my base size however I had wondered if a heavier and denser wrap would be forgiving enough to achieve it. But we did and by then it was wrapping much more easily. Passes glided unchallenging into place, the shoulders sandwiched and pleated elegantly and it was a pleasure to tighten – this time in a half knot. Full knots are great (and safer) but I just dislike the bulk of a full knot with a heavier wrap. Besides which the Double Hammock was doing its job so the knot really just held the tails in place.
As the wrap has changed in character, achieving a lovely drape and softness, so it has altered in how it wears. The first up with my eldest was very comfy even if the fabric was a little unforgiving. Amazingly my eldest didn’t complain about the wrap pinching the backs of her knees and that is her major carrying bugbear these days. That she stayed up for an hour is a credit to the wrap as she was just happily watching TV and chatting to me as we tested how it felt. In particular I rate this wrap for the support on the shoulders as though my knees knew I was carrying the weight of my leggy girl, my shoulders and back did not complain.
Barbarian really shone in a single layer carry, as I loved how the shoulders packed down and the support of the weave molded around Smallest. She is at a stage when she loves an energetic bounce in a wrap which can undo the best wrap jobs but the seat in Barbarian didn’t pop, neither did the wrap sag and need retightening. Therefore this put it firmly in toddler prison territory.
I really enjoyed this wrap in a double hammock, as the chest pass was super tight and molded to my bust. That is not to say it was grinning tight; the wrap has excellent elasticity. On my back I barely felt Smallest’s weight.
Yesterday I walked home with her in a front wrap cross carry (FWCC) and it was lovely. Maybe it was because she was playing with her soft toy, maybe she was just enjoying the face to face chatter all the way home (whilst leaning and not escaping) or maybe because she just needed a cuddle because she was tired. No matter, it was very easy to tighten Barbarian in a FWCC even if I have become rusty at it and needed to neaten up the outer rails. I often get niggling lower back pain when carrying in a FWCC but not that time.
Barbarian, rather than being a bit of a reckless oaf is a solid and well made wrap using a very thoughtful blend that lends it well to larger babies and upwards. If I get to see it again after it has been travelling to other testers I will update with how smaller baby suitable it becomes in softness. As it is, the density and fibres shone with my two wrappees in different ways. If I had one alteration to make it would be slightly wider rails and hems as I just prefer them that way. Otherwise I have very much enjoyed wearing Barbarian.
You can see us wrapping on the beach below.