I introduced the Hackney Herringbones a couple of weeks ago and the amazing journey that went from pieces of scrap from Sling Studio into two beautiful wraps. In the intervening time Nikki sent me her Moss to compare with Heather. This review is going to be really hard to write because my goodness, it’s been an overwhelming time with the two of them. I know a wrap is good, not just by how it feels to wear but by how damn fun it is to photograph. I can attribute these values to both Moss and Heather.
In this review I will write more about Heather as I’m more familiar with it. I’ve asked Nikki if she might contribute her thoughts to this page too. I’ve also included Hilary’s notes that she kindly sent over. Hilary of TigerPig Creations sewed these scraps into the beauties that they became. Her observations are fab.
I described Heather to some extent in my last post in terms of its potential blend and looks but to save you clicking back and forth…Heather is a blend of English wool and some kind of silk. I’m not sure which except to say it has nubby qualities so I wonder if it’s bourette. The cream warp contrasts with the weft that has so many different complementing flecks nestling in the overall soft heather hue. It’s a feast for the eyes, especially if your colours lean towards autumnal and winter tones.
The design is simple; relatively wide, classically English herringbone. I love it for this; although it is a pattern that has been used by other wrap companies, the Sling Studio version is perfection. The quality of the cloth means it could transfer easily to a gentleman’s suit as it works on this wrap.
Heather is a weighty wrap, a size 7 at 520cm long and approx 84cm wide, it comes in at about 348g m/sq. I suspect the weight comes from the blend as when it’s held up to the light it’s not a massively dense weave.
This is a completely different wrap in many ways except for the design and the same cream coloured warp. I think Moss is an English wool blend though I couldn’t guess at the ratio only to note that I can feel the texture of the warp in Moss whereas Heather is smoother due to a fatter weft. The wool is beautiful; from a distance it looks like a very soft grey but on closer inspection it’s clear that it is a mossy green with many flecks of complementing colours in the yarn.
Moss is a much lighter wrap, a long 5 at 444cm long and approx 84cm wide it comes in at about 278g m/sq. It definitely feels airier and very soft. Cuddly.
Hilary’s thoughts on making the wraps:
One point about the herringbones that I find really intriguing is that – like many handwovens – there are no rails; worth a mention as the only other SS to have this kind of rail are the Karen Erlebach handwovens. Interestingly I *am* hemming the mist ringslings, as I think the extra wear that the fabric will get from being run through the metal rings will necessitate an extra robustness.
As a seamstress I’m interested in things like what they were like to work with, but that’s fairly niche and not something I would imagine anyone else caring about! [Editor’s note; I disagree with this from a wrap geekery PoV ;-)]
For the record, despite the airy weave and comfortable diagonal stretch, they were much less awkward to work with than I had feared. One of the issues with a herringbone is how much they can move when you’re hemming, which results in a wavy line and a lumpy, twisted hem. They were much more forgiving than I anticipated, and sewing a perfect hem was no problem.
Working with the Hackneys
I have to say, to begin with Heather was a bit of a burly beast, partly because it’s a size 7 and I’m a petite wrapper, partly because of the weight/width. It’s beginning to soften up and I suspect when it returns from a bit of a tour, it’ll be softer still. The first time I used it I ended up puce in the face and sweaty from the effort but I’m beginning to learn how to wrap with it and the results are worth it.
I’ve never had a wrap this wide so achieving a deep seat is easy peasy however it’s what you do with the rest when you have a short torso that can be a challenge. I don’t routinely get tidy double hammock chest passes but I don’t care, the texture and encircling lines of herringbone like to be askew. I tell myself. Sufficed to say I’m glad I had that wrap consultation as the attention to tightening is needed but passes are not difficult and once I’ve bounced the carry into place it doesn’t budge. For my narrow frame I feared I would end up with comedic fat shoulders but Heather packs down pretty well.
Having already started to get to grips with Heather, Moss felt like a walk in the park in comparison to work with. Again it was easy peasy lemon squeezy to get a good seat and I needed the same attention to achieving a tidy-ish wrap job however the lighter fabric was much less overwhelming to work with. Passes glided into place and it didn’t budge once I had knotted it with a simple half knot (it held this nicely). It packed down smaller on my shoulders too.
Heather is made for a supportive double hammock which it does so fantastically. I could walk a marathon in Heather and not feel any pressure on my back. Unlike some wraps it doesn’t squeeze the bejesus out of me when I’m wearing it as an extravagantly tailed Ruck Tied Tibetan. I love tails, I won’t lie, and the drape of the fabric results in lovely, lovely tails that swing, schwing! It’s not made for fancy finishes however; I tried one and felt like my bust had expanded to a KK cup. My husband tittered at me. I retreated to a double hammock.
I’ve also used it for a good old FWCC which I tend to overlook but it was wonderful; Smallest immediately cuddled in. In fact she just IS in Heather, she never fusses or gets cross so I take it that she really enjoys the ride. I’ve also carried my eldest with it as she was super enthusiastic to try (her favourite colour is purple) and it was the comfiest wrap I’ve had her up in. And I love the ride, it’s so damn supportive, bandage-like and mouldable; not a cush-fest, just Goldilocks-right.
In the time I’ve had it I have tried it for both FWCC and double hammocks and it does both exceptionally, particularly as the FWCC was with my eldest who especially asked for an carry on my front. I haven’t wrapped her EVER on my front as I carried her in a soft structured carrier on my front until she was 18m; I didn’t discover wrapping until Smallest was 6 months. After I mastered the superman toss, my eldest was always on my back. Wrapping a 4 year old is a bit of a challenge but the payoff is you can ask them to hang onto your neck and they do which means you can get a good seat. I just about managed a FWCC with this 5 (!) and she was ecstatically happy in it. We both were, it was magical.
On my back, Smallest was again extremely happy. The longest I’ve used Moss is for a couple of hours, out and about climbing the Mossley hills to run errands. Both wraps have excellent diagonal stretch but don’t sag: Moss didn’t need any adjusting throughout the long carry this afternoon. For parity’s sake I also tried a Ruck Tied Tibetan and it needed tightening just the once.
How do I summarise these wraps?
Heather is less suited to younger babies as it is a substantial wrap. If I had the heart to (which I don’t) I would chop it to a 5 for extravagant rucks and it would be a year round wrap. I probably wouldn’t reach for it in the hotter summer days but this size 7 will be perfect for wrapping over coats or chillier days for the ultimate snuggles. I love how it makes me feel, I stand taller in Heather (not just so that the tails won’t drag) because it has a quintessentially English chic to it. I love how supportive and comfy it is and I love that it has never once slipped from my picky, narrow, shoulders, not once. As for the texture, well, phwoar, I hope no one notices that I occasionally stroke my bust when wearing this wrap. It’s the wrap I’m touching, honestly.
Moss, lovely Moss, again it is similarly tactile but for its smooth softness; it’s quite a tender wrap. For smaller babies it would be a good choice if you’re already an experienced wrapper but as it has proven, it’s absolutely fine for preschoolers in a multi pass carry. I think it does suit being a longer wrap because once you’ve worked it into a solid carry it is so bandage-like to wear. The wool meant it was warm but I never broke a sweat out on a sunny day so it’s also a year-rounder too. Wool is so temperature regulating and shouldn’t be feared for summer wearing.