Friday, October 13, 2017

Baby Carrier Review: Soul Sumac Woven Wrap

Hello Sumac! Sumac is part of Soul's Spice Series of handwoven cotton wraps. It is woven entirely by hand in South India, in government-run co-operative societies that are committed to fair-trade and ethical production. Awesome right? Keep reading. 


[Close-up image of a red and blue checkered fabric. Artisan hands wove the fibers together in the visible twill weave to support and snuggle your sweeties. See the snuggles. Breathe the snuggles.]
Up Close and Personal
Some stats to get the party started:

  • Carrier: Sumac - Handwoven Cotton Wrap 
  • Carrier Weight Recommendation: up to 25 kg (55 lb) approx.
  • Material: 100% handwoven cotton
  • Weave: twill
  • GSM (grams per meters squared): 222 g/m^2 (provided by Soul website)
  • Wearees: 
    • 4.5 year old (approximately 32 pounds/18.5 kilograms) 
    • 1.5 year old (approximately 22 pounds/10 kilograms)

[Three image collage of a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman wearing a preschooler on her back using a red and blue checkered woven wrap over a red collared shirt. The spunky sweetheart is giving Mama a kiss on the cheek in one photo and smiling over Mama's shoulder in another.]
Double Hammock Sweetheart Tied At Shoulder 

Sumac feels thin-medium in hand, has low texture, and is surprisingly grippy. I generally prefer a little more glide to grip for easier wrapping (less sweat) but I had to give Sumac a try. It is densely woven and doesn't seem prone to pulls - no pulls yet here and the kids like to drag it around, build forts with it, and snuggle with it on the couch that's also covered in toys and books and random things. Those who have tried Soul's Prism series mention that the Spice series feel and wrap similarly. When wrapping I don't have to fight the passes over each other as long as I'm not giving it a lot of extra slack to begin with. Place the passes where you want them and they aren't going to budge.

[Image of a tan skin bespectacled woman wearing a barefoot toddler on her back using a red and blue checked woven wrap finished with a large bow on the front. Image is from smiling lips through torso and focused on the large bow.]
Shepherd's Carry with Junko's Bunko Finish

I'm drawn in to the classic blue and red checked pattern of Sumac. It reads so everyday yet also modern chic depending on mood or finish. As a base minus 1 (size 4 for me), there are so many options for front, hip, and back carries with or without ring finishes. It has yet to disappoint! Holds slip knots and knotless finishes without slippage. The following is a list of carries we've done with Sumac:

Front/Hip Carries:
  • Inside Out Coolest Hip Cross Carry
  • Short Cross Carry with a Ring
  • Short Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied at Shoulder
Back Carries
  • Double Hammock with Variations
  • Shepherd's with Variations
  • Rucksack with Variations
  • Double Sling Single Ring
For ring finishes I've preferred using a medium size Sling Ring.

[Four image collage of a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman wearing a barefoot snot-bubble-blowing toddler on her back, up safe from her sister who's having a strong case of the Mondays. They're using a red and blue checkered woven wrap with the middle marker tag visible that is white with a blue heart. A bronze medium-sized ring secures the carry. Top left two photos depict the freshwater finish. The bottom left and right photos depict the saltwater finish.]
Shepherd's with a Saltwater and Freshwater single ring finish.
Image of a smiling tan skin bespectacled Asian woman wearing a toddler on her back in a blue and red checked woven wrap carrier. She's kneeling down in the grass surrounded by greenery and autumn foliage. The toddler on her back has her hands over her face and her older sister standing next to her is covering her head with her hands. They are being silly and playing with the sun shining through the leaves overhead.
Rucksack Back Carry with a Candy Cane Chest Belt
Image of a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with a red and blue checked woven wrap carrier tied in a one-shouldered carry. Next to her are two children. The three of them are exploring in a forest surrounded by green and yellow foliage of autumn.
Inside Out Coolest Hip Cross Carry 
Image of the back of a tan skin Asian woman wearing a child on her back in a red and blue checked woven wrap carrier while holding the hand of a toddler who's walking beside her, wearing a Mama-made red sun hat. They're looking at a marvelous maple tree that is glowing orange, yellow, and green with the changing season.]
Rucksack Back Carry Tied in Front

[Image of a smiling tan skin bespectacled Asian woman wearing a sleeping toddler on her front in a red and blue checked woven wrap in a garden of dahlias blooming above her head. The blooms are bright and all colors and some larger than her face.]
Short Front Cross Carry with a Ring
Summary:

A beginner to wrapping may find the grip overwhelming. Also, because the two sides aren't clearly different, a beginner may find that confusing if a pass is supposed to be flipped or if it's accidentally flipped. That being said, if you love the pattern you'll use it and you'll learn to wrap with it. For a more advanced wrapper, you may find this handwoven surprising (or not!). I haven't found it to dig with my older wearee (but my older wearee isn't up for long periods of time) and I find it really comfortable with my younger wearee. If you're looking for more memory foam cush, this may not be for you. If you like more glide and soapiness, this may not be for you. But if you're looking for a thinner wrap with grip, give Sumac a try! In single layer or multiple layered carries, it's still breathable and doesn't feel hefty at all. Perfect autumn wrap and thin enough to go under coats without the bulk as it gets cooler! 

For more pics and commentary, check out my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wearingpluotandkumquat/ and search #SoulSumac.

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All images have image descriptions in the alternative text visible to screen readers.
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Disclaimer: I am a Soul Brand Ambassador. The opinions are mine and may or may not concur with others. Photographs are taken to be most accurate of the color in real life but know that it may vary depending on the light and the viewer's device.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Baby Carrier Review: Soul Maze Pop Meh Dai

I hadn't given meh dais much thought until I tried Soul's and ... I haven't looked back. SO. COMFY. The maze pop meh dai is a wrap conversion meh dai from their maze pop woven wrap. I'd consider Maze to be Soul's signature pattern (or at least one of!). The concentric squares on a black weft are so classy and provide that all over texture for even grip. The wrap is medium-ish weight with medium-ish grip to glide ratio. Easy to work with for beginners and experienced wearers.

  • Carrier: Maze Pop - Jacquard Meh Dai
  • Carrier Weight Recommendation: 15-40 pounds (7-18 kilograms)
  • Material: 100% jacquard woven cotton
  • Straps: Hybrid (centrally padded) wrap straps
  • Size (measurements provided from Soul website):
    • 88" waist
    • 80" shoulder length
    • 12" width strap at the shoulders
    • panel is 16" tall at tallest point to top of the waist band and 15" wide at the top of the waist band measured with soft tape.
  • Wearees: 4.5 year old (approximately 32 pounds/18.5 kilograms) , 1.5 year old (approximately 22 pounds/10 kilograms)

[Image of a tan skin Asian woman with dark brown hair wearing a not visible sleeping toddler on her back in a magenta and black concentric square patterned meh dai baby carrier. Woman's face isn't visible. Image is from neck through torso. The carrier covers her front torso with a double knot at the top of her chest. Bottom right corner in white is a watermark with a "T" lying on its side; top text "Photography by," bottom text "@WearingPluotAndKumquat."]
Meh Dai Tied Tibetan with a Spread Waist Belt Tied Under Bum
Although both of my children are within the weight recommendation for this carrier, I use this carrier primarily with my toddler. Her older sister will go up occasionally in it but she prefers the wraps where I can get a full deep seat instead of having to use the straps of the meh dai to fill in the sides (when did my baby get so big??).

For someone who might be interested in wrapping but woven wraps are intimidating or maybe you are an experienced with woven wraps but want something a little more set-up some days without going to a soft-structured buckle carrier? A meh dai can be a nice option. I primarily use woven wraps but this meh dai "popped" into our life (pun intended) and I'm so glad it did. The seat is easy to make whether you wear a meh dai apron style or non-apron style and you don't have to worry about losing the seat. I prefer apron style which has the outside of the carrier against my waist instead of the inside of the carrier against my waist to start (non-apron style). I feel like I can get a deeper seat and the panel can be less high if needed - like if my toddler wanted arms out instead of arms tucked in. The wide straps still give me the feel of wrapping. I reach for our maze pop meh dai when I have a cranky toddler to wrangle. Up she goes and out she goes! The sleepy dust has yet to disappoint.

[Image of a tan skin Asian woman with dark brown hair wearing a sleeping toddler on her back in a magenta and black concentric square patterned meh dai baby carrier. The toddler has on bright magenta leggings. The woman has on a magenta swing top and black capri leggings. They coincidentally super match today. They're outside at a raised garden overflowing with fresh green leaves and orange nasturtium blossoms. The cute little white flowers of cilantro gone to seed are also visible. The woman is looking down picking nasturtium seeds, enjoying the quiet of a sleeping toddler. Bottom right corner in white is a watermark with a "T" lying on its side; top text "Photography by," bottom text "@WearingPluotAndKumquat."]
Sleepy dust for the win!
Some people don't use the hood part on their carriers ever. I LOVE THEM. I use the hood to protect baby's head from rain, sun, and nosy strangers who seem to think touching your baby's face is OK. Some children don't like having their heads covered so just follow your child's lead - don't like it? Don't use it. The hood straps are long and I can reach them behind my back and pull them over a snoozers head. Some times I'll tie them to the little loops on the shoulder straps but often I'll just tuck them underneath the shoulder strap.

[Image of a tan skin Asian woman with dark brown hair wearing a sleeping toddler on her back in a magenta and black concentric square patterned meh dai baby carrier. The toddler has on bright magenta leggings. The woman has on a magenta swing top and black capri leggings. They coincidentally super match today. They're outside at a raised garden overflowing with fresh green leaves and orange nasturtium blossoms. The woman is standing upright, looking into the distance. Bottom right corner in white is a watermark with a "T" lying on its side; top text "Photography by," bottom text "@WearingPluotAndKumquat."]
Maze Pop GLOWS! I find myself reaching for this on misty, cloudy, rainy days the most. 
The shoulder straps have ample padding and the wide straps make it so easy to make a supportive seat that's customized to the size of your wearee. You can also choose not spread the passes and bunch them if a single layer with open sides is preferred (cooler option for warmer weather!). Soul's meh dais have a hybrid shoulder where the padding is in the middle and the straps spread wide on each side of the padding. If you prefer cupping your shoulder, you can!

There are also more finishes you can do with a meh dai than I gave the meh dai credit for especially if you're back carrying. Here's a video of a knotless Tibetan with this carrier:


We love this carrier for its wearing qualities, color, and design! If you get the chance to try one, don't pass it up!!! For more pics and commentary, check out my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wearingpluotandkumquat/ and search #MazePopMehDai.

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All images have image descriptions in the alternative text visible to screen readers.
*****
Disclaimer: I am a Soul Brand Ambassador. The opinions are mine and may or may not concur with others. Photographs are taken to be most accurate of the color in real life but know that it may vary depending on the light and the viewer's device.

Monday, September 25, 2017

How to Fold a Meh Dai

Storing your meh dai baby carrier? Looking for a way to keep it nice and neat in the car or your backpack/diaper bag? Check this tutorial on how to fold a meh dai! If your hood has two straps instead of four, try wrapping it around the rolled meh dai and tucking it under itself instead of tying off. 

video

[60 second video tutorial to background music on how to fold an Asian-style carrier called a meh dai or bei dai with wide wrap style straps. The carrier featured is black and pink in repeated concentric squares. Video starts with a black background and white text. Header-How to Fold a Meh Dai. Subheader-Carrier: Soul Maze Pop Meh Dai. Credits-By: Stephanie Lu Sinclair @WearingPluotAndKumquat. The carrier is spread out on a wood floor, inside facing up. All four straps are folded on themselves at the width of the body panel. Then the shoulder straps are brought in at an angle to lay on top of the body panel. Next, the waist straps are brought in to lay on top of the body panel, overlapping with the bottom of the neatly folded shoulder straps. The carrier is then rolled up from the bottom until it reaches the base of the hood. A knee is placed on the rolled carrier while the hood straps are cinched about halfway. The hood is rolled up with the rest of the rolled carrier and the straps go in opposite directions to tie in a single or double knot on the other side, securing the rolled carrier in place. The video finishes with the carrier neatly rolled up ready to go; the blue and white SOUL logo is visible on the carrier hood. In the background is a child whispering very loudly "what plant does Parmesan cheese come from?"] 


Another way to roll one up without needing a floor or bench or table is to fold and roll it up while tied to your waist!



[1 minute no voice audio time-lapse video with background music of a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with a pinkish-orange linen meh dai wide strap baby carrier. She is demonstrating how to fold the carrier on the go without it having to be laid on the ground. Title image: Folding a Meh Dai On The Go By: Stephanie Lu Sinclair @WearingPluotandKumquat. Video begins with a meh dai tied on woman's waist apron style. She begins rolling it up from the shoulder straps up to her waist and then ties the shoulder straps around her waist. The carrier is rolled up neatly at her waist. She unrolls the carrier and demonstrates another way to roll the carrier. She brings one shoulder strap in at an angle on top of the underside of the panel that is facing out and folds the wide straps back and forth on each other at the width of the carrier panel. She repeats with the second shoulder strap. She pulls the hood out to lay on top of the straps to keep them neat while she rolls up the carrier to her waist. While holding on to the bundle, she unties the double knot behind her back and brings the waist straps forward to tie around the bundle, finishing in a semi-bow. She rolls the cute bundle around and smiles. End image: Carrier: Soul Melon Linen Meh Dai. Music "Beaconsfield Villas Stomp" by Doctor Turtle.]

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Because of Wearing

Some may say wearing babies is only for babies. Well, my babies are my babies forever so I will wear them forever!! Joking aside, we started our wearing journey over four years ago and it has been an integral part of our lifestyle everyday and I am so grateful.

[Image consists of nine images of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman, with a preschooler on my back in a double hammock back carry with a candy cane chest belt using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap. We are making silly faces to re-direct her energy from meltdowns.]


Because of wearing we can travel freer.
Because of wearing naps can be on the go.
Because of wearing we can melt away meltdowns.
Because of wearing we can stay out way past bed time.
Because of wearing we can eat meals while soothing a teething toddler.
Because of wearing, we CAN.


Touring a city by foot? Got it.

[Image of a smiling tan skin bespectacled Asian woman wearing a toddler on her back in a red and blue checked woven wrap carrier. They're in a green garden. In the background is a large fountain and several skyscrapers.]

Eating up the local fair? No problem.

Image of a smiling tan skin bespectacled Asian woman wearing a toddler on her back in a meh dai with black chambray straps. Behind them is a large multi-colored ferris wheel. It is an overcast day.


Nap time but there are puddles to splash? Check.


Teething troubles needing extra snuggles? Sleepy dust commence.


Both children need Mama simultaneously? Can do.

Image of a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman smiling down at the toddler worn on her front in a green buckle carrier. On her back is the toddler's older sister in a black and magenta concentric square geometric patterned woven wrap carrier. They're in front of a white wall.

Wearing our children empowers me as a parent. Wearing our children gives me confidence. On days when I feel like nothing is going right and the world is spinning the wrong way, I wear my children. I feel their sleepy heads rest on me and their breath slow to a steady rhythm, and I feel reassured. On days when everything is going right, I wear our children. Wearing is as much for them as it is for me.

Image of a woman and a man on a board walk through marshy reeds. The woman has a child wrapped on her back in a gentle brown linen woven wrap carrier while the man has a toddler on his hip in a gentle brown linen ring sling carrier. Blue skies are up above and the lighting is of the setting summer sun.


Carriers featured in this post are made by Soul, a company in Bangalore, India that supports local, ethical, small scale industries with a team made up predominately of women. The Soul handwoven line is woven entirely by hand in South India, in government-run co-operative societies that are committed to fair-trade and ethical production. Soul jacquards are woven in an ethical and environment-friendly mill from Southern India, which uses only wind and solar energy to run their entire factory. They are a completely green manufacturing unit and after using the energy they need they have surplus to send back into the grid. Cool huh? Very cool. 

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All images have image descriptions in the alternative text visible to screen readers.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rucksack Tied at Shoulder with Brittany's Rose Finish

We love a quick rucksack (aka "ruck") back carry! Here's a fancy finish to get those tails out of the way. With a shorter wrap you'll have a smaller rose. With a longer wrap you'll have a larger rose.
Carrier: Soul Sumac Woven Wrap (base minus 1)


[1 minute time lapse video without voice audio or text, with background music of a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman demonstrating how to do a rucksack back carry tied at shoulder with Brittany's rose finish using a base minus 1 red and blue checkered woven wrap. Title image white text: Rucksack Tied at Shoulder with Brittany's Rose Finish (base minus 1) By: Stephanie Lu Sinclair @WearingPluotAndKumquat. Video begins with a toddler high on Mama's back with wrap over her back and up to her shoulders. Middle marker is in center of toddler's back. With tails pinned under Mama's chin, a deep seat is made. Tails are gathered at the shoulders. One tail is brought along the back, pinning the seat in place under toddler's knees. Toddler bounces to test seat. With tail brought up under one arm, it's double knotting with the other tail. Twist shorter tail around double knot. Twist longer tail and continue the rose-in-progress. Tuck tail in. Smile! End image white text: Carrier: Soul Sumac Woven Wrap. Music "So Far So Close" by Jahzzar.]