Sjala is Sweden’s first machine woven wrap maker and they were first known for fantastic merino wool elastic wraps that can be worn much longer than normal jersey stretchy wraps. Their woven wraps came out in spring 2016 and they now have several different designs.
Some time ago I received what I knew as ‘Woods Unnamed’ for testing with those I gratefully feel are my trusty band of UK testers*. Yvonne, of Sjala, said this would be one half of a duo of final cotton Woods releases. Sjala is soon to be launching Mini and it makes sense to have differentiation between the limited releases and the always in stock wraps. I have absolutely no doubt that the Sjala quality and modern design that I know and love will be carried across to Mini. You can see Mini launching here.
Woods Troll uses the adapted, smaller, Woods pattern that closely mimics the bark of a tree. This particular release is a combination of a rich khaki green on a black warp and it is made from 100% organic cotton . I really enjoyed the texture of Woods Evening but didn’t expect similar from an all-cotton wrap. It is simple, striking and dark.
On arrival it was quite flat, densely woven and solid feeling. I think there is some sort of wizardry going on in Sjala’s designs that brings to life a wonderful texture when washed. Troll transformed during and post wash into the familiar undulations that Evening yielded. I don’t really understand how; it made sense with Evening that the linen and cotton contracted slightly differently to give the texture but how does this happen with just cotton? Answers on a magic, flying, postcard please.
The texture settled during a steam iron to give a pleasant contrast of smooth and raised areas that I love to trace with my fingers. Post wash it weighs in at about 315g m/sq which is unsurprising giving the density of the weave. It feels medium in hand so in a base -2 it promised a lot of adaptability.
Working with and wearing Woods Troll
An all-cotton wrap means its wrapping qualities have nowhere to hide; it either works or it doesn’t. Straight from the get go I found Troll fairly easy to work with despite the heavier GSM. In fact, the first morning I wrapped it was in a simple ruck and I was so astonished by how the shoulders molded so seamlessly to me, and didn’t budge, that I ran home after dropping Smallest off to message Yvonne. I’ll just paste what I garbled at her in messages:
Oh my. Yvonne. This Woods. I think you created the perfect ruck wrap.
It did not budge on my narrower shoulders.
I’m so excited
I’m a picky sod when it comes to ruck wraps but this….I tied it in a half knot. She was sooo high with a good seat and it didn’t move. I didn’t have to adjust it once. I’m amazed.
Well, it was a great start that continued. I can safely say Troll didn’t give us one bum carry as it broke in easily during extensive testing with both girls. A couple of days later I had picked up my eldest from the school disco so it was just us hanging out at home. She was tired so I asked her if she fancied a carry and she agreed. At the age of five it isn’t often that she comes up so each carry is ultra-memorable to me.
I decided to try out a double hammock tied at the shoulder which I usually have to work quickly because a leggy five-year-old is a fair weight to deal with until wrapped and supported. Woods Troll did not disappoint; the chest pass was bandage like, elastic, the shoulders super comfortable and despite the grippy nature of the textured pattern it merely meant the second pass locked into place. I tied off on absolute tippy tails but it held. We hung out, I scratched her toes, we chatted, as the day gave over to dusk and my heart radiated joy.
Another carry that has become very important, and also allows me to test the versatility of a wrap, is a front wrap cross carry tied at the shoulder. A base -2 is perfect for me in this carry. Smallest, now aged three, quite often asks for front carries when she’s tired and doesn’t want to engage with the world. I need a wrap that is supportive and will stay put to be able to pull off the shoulder flip and decent tightening. Many wraps have been set aside for being too slippery and stretchy for this carry. Troll was a stellar performer with Smallest’s weight evenly distributed and comfortable for a longer walk.
I quickly sent Troll off on its UK tour and I itch to see it again and to feel how it has further broken in. I enthusiastically messaged testers with an invitation to try ‘the best ruck wrap ever’ and it hasn’t disappointed them either.
If you are after a newborn wrap or prefer your wraps to have bounce and glide then Woods Troll is not for you. If you are wrapping a larger baby or toddler and you want a solid, supportive and easygoing all-rounder then Troll will please you hugely.
*It’s not easy to find a good tester; you need someone who loves wrapping, takes great photos, understands and loves to geek about wraps and has a social media presence. Many wrappers tick many of those boxes but not all, so when I receive a tester for organising it’s these wonderful women I turn to. So, shout out to: