About Karelia Crafted
Karelia Crafted is run by experienced Finnish weaver Iina Laatikainen. I asked Iina to describe herself and she said:
“I’ve been weaving for 3 years. I especially love hand painted warps and bold colour, but keep challenging myself with complex work like double weave and recently picked up spinning yarn to complement my weaving.”
I’d summarise her as having the most creatively playful imagination that she has the skills to realise when it comes to producing handwoven wraps.
Introducing Fall Faeries
A friend was sending her custom 4.2m length travelling around the U.K. and since I have long admired Iina as part of the babywearing scene and as a weaver I was happy to say yes to hosting. It’s been a while since I had a handwoven visit and longer since I possessed one.
There’s something incredibly personal about a handwoven in terms of preferences and whilst I have loved the ones that lived here, none have yet stuck. Maybe I need one made for me. Knowing that the wrap, Fall Faeries, was a custom I have written this review as objectively as possibly because the colours were for that person, as was the blend and weight.
Fall Faeries is a wild combination of acidic and spring greens that challenge and melt into the rich and deep pinks and purples. Visually it’s a bit of a feast and though I would choose different colours for me (I’m dark autumn) I can utterly appreciate the meticulous dye work that has gone into this. The ends are finished with twisted tassels that are long and have beautiful movement. I asked Iina to describe the weave as this is NOT my area of expertise and she said:
“6-shaft crackle (or faux crackle or frackle whatever you want to call it)”
The blend is beautiful: a hand painted combed cotton warp with a weft of hand painted seacell, rose and hemp. Delicious. In hand it feels like the lower end of medium weight though it has an approximate weight of 300g sq/m. I measured it at a mere 58cm across but that’s a pretty pointless measurement because it’s spreads out impressively when in use.
For testing purposes I am carrying a leggy three year old and I wrap her in both single or double layers. 4.2m is a good length to me as it equates to base -1 which gives me the best of both worlds – my lazy go to of a double hammock with a candy cane chest belt or just tied at the shoulder, or a form of ruck with fabulous tails. I tried a variety of carries with Fall Faeries including a Shepherds, knotless ruck and Christinas Ruckless.
In hand I’d describe Fall Faeries as not having a huge amount of stretch which I prefer, it’s also so soft. In use, if I had to describe the wrapping qualities in two words it would be these: tremendous fun. The longer version is that, in action, it actually does have fantastic stretch, and recoil, with a grippiness that I would never have anticipated it possessing.
Fall Faeries in action
What follows here are some of the carrying memories from using this wrap that should give you an impression of how this blend, weave and weight worked for me.
Double hammock – tied at the shoulder
I had heard feedback that FF was a little diggy so I wanted to test how if it was as my personal preference is for wraps with a smidgen of wool to add a little cushioning.
Sure, I felt the knot (lovely and neat) but it didn’t vex me to distraction which some wraps can. FF also wraps so well, it has a good bit of stickability when the second layer just locks into place. In this photo I’m wearing a silk velvet coat which can be tricky for wrapping over. Slippery customers won’t stay on my shoulders without constant readjustment but I didn’t fiddle with Fall Faeries once.
Front Wrap Cross Carry – tied at the shoulder
A few days later we went out for an afternoon walk in the sun to go to the local thrift shop. I like a mooch in there. Weekends are good because my husband is about to take photos, though at aged three it’s not always guaranteed Smallest will come up.
That day she was tired, having played out with her big sister making “bird nests” and digging holes. So up she came and asked for a front carry. 4.2m of Fall Faeries meant a very pretty FWCC TAS and she settled into the fibres for a chat as we walked. Being second born I realise it’s harder for her to have 1-2-1 time so I cherish these moments.
Fall Faeries performed so nicely in the warm sun and I didn’t feel any trickles of sweat from us getting too hot. I carried her for over an hour. I did need to readjust a couple of times but I’m a pretty sloppy wrapper and I always struggle to tighten the flipped top rail of the second pass with any wrap. Shortly after this I ditched the fancy-schmancy (read: skill level up from me) flipped second pass and a simple rope pass has rescued this carry for me.
In an attempt to break out of my stuck in a wrapping rut of getting out of the house quick carries I asked for a challenge from another wrapper for some base -2 carries I haven’t done for ages and ages. This was how I got to be reminded that Christina’s Ruckless is so fantastic for support. Fall Faeries is a wrap that made it shine. Thin, pliable and supremely satisfying to tighten into place.
The last wear with Fall Faeries was a good old Shepherds with delightfully long and wonky tails. This used to be my nemesis carry but over the years my tightening has improved so Smallest no longer drifts surreptitiously down my back until it feels like we’re having a distance conversation.
The wrap excelled in this carry. I often find thinner wraps don’t give me the structured chest pass I want with a heavier child so I end up with a terribly unflattering bunched up pass over my bust. It looks ugly and it feels awful. Fall Fearies just didn’t budge; it stayed spread and supporting Smallest despite her fidgets.
I am genuinely sorry to see this wrap go because we have so enjoyed using it. Looking back I don’t think I ever had an unhappy carry with it. Fall Faeries performed as I wanted it to and each time Smallest was in the gayest mood. I feared it would be a delicate thing but checking it before sending on revealed no weaknesses and it has been as sturdy as my most hardy workhorse wrap. And soft, mouldable, easy to use and a joy to wear.
Gosh, farewell, Fall Faeries. We really rather loved you.
Karelia Crafted draws for custom slots are announced on the Facebook page. You can join in the chatter and admiration of Iina’s work in her group. You can read further reviews of her work in the relevant Loom to Wrap folder.