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.

*****
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.

*****
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.]


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Meh Dai Tied Tibetan with Brittany's Rose Finish

Some days we feel kinda fancy. Check out this meh dai tied Tibetan with Brittany's rose finish!

[Image of a tan skin Asian woman's torso with a blue t-shirt mostly covered in black chambray wrap straps tied Tibetan. She's using an Asian-style baby carrier with a sleeping toddler on her back. There's a rose near one shoulder made from the ends of the shoulder straps.]







[57 second time lapse video with no voice audio, with background music demonstrating how to do a back carry with a wrap strap style meh dai tied Tibetan with Brittany's rose finish. Title text: Meh Dai Tied Tibetan with Brittany's Rose Finish. By: Stephanie Lu Sinclair @WearingPluotAndKumquat. A tan skin bespectacled Asian woman is wearing a preschooler on her back. They're using a linen meh dai with a reddish-orange panel and black chambray straps. They are outside on a warm summer afternoon. The waist straps are double knotted at the woman's waist. The shoulder straps come up over the woman's shoulders, go underneath the child's legs, and are spread in back to support the child's bum. When the shoulder straps are brought back to the front, they come up to spread across the woman's chest before double knotting off to one side. The shorter end is looped around the double knot and tucked in securely before the second end is looped around - the finish resembles a rose. End page text: Carrier: Soul Melon on Black Chambray Linen Meh Dai. Music: "Golden Sunrise" by Josh Woodward.]

World Breastfeeding Week: How to Breastfeed in a Ring Sling

It's World Breastfeeding Week! #WBW2017

Breastfeeding while babywearing has been a game changer for my breastfeeding journey with both of my daughters. It wasn't always easy and I never imagined I'd be doing a video tutorial on how to but here we are over 4 years since my journey started. I hope this video tutorial on how we breastfeed using a ring sling encourages you to give it a try and that you feel empowered. 




[1 minute video without voice audio, with background music, and text overlay. A tan skin bespectacled Asian woman is wearing a toddler on her front in a light brown ring sling and demonstrating how to breastfeed without removing the toddler from the carrier. They are outside in front of a wall covered with green grape leaves. Title page text: Breastfeeding in a Ring Sling. By: Stephanie Lu Sinclair @WearingPluotAndKumquat. Tutorial text: 1. Loosen by pulling up on the bottom ring and lower child to desired height. 2. Latch on child. 3. Use tail of ring sling as sun cover, distraction cover, hide-and-seek, added privacy, or don't. Whatever you and your child are comfortable with. 4. To switch sides, with one hand under child's bottom, bounce child over until she/he is in a comfortable position. 5. Latch on child. 6. To re-position when breastfeeding is done, with one hand on child's bottom, lift her/him up and re-tighten. Credits page: Carrier: Soul Linen Sparrow Ring Sling. Music: "One Fine Day" by Jason Shaw.]


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tandem Wearing: Onbuhimo and Woven Wrap

Check out my tutorial on wearing a toddler and a preschooler using an onbuhimo and a base minus 1 woven wrap! The children are in their own carriers so each can be taken out individually if needed. The lack of a waist belt from the onbuhimo gives me more freedom and I don't feel like I have so much on me. It's less hot too. The short cross carry with a ring is pre-tied and can be easily adjusted; plus there's no bulky knot anywhere. We don't tandem wear often but some times both children need the same person at the same time, and it's nice to have options! 



[59 second time-lapse video with background music demonstrating how to wear two children using dusty peach-colored linen buckle onbuhimo on back and a base minus 1 pink and black woven wrap on front. Wearer is a tan skin bespectacled Asian woman and wearees are a toddler and a preschooler. They are outside in front of greenery on a slightly windy day. Main header: Tandem Wearing: Onbuhimo and Woven Wrap. Subheader: Soul Linen Onbuhimo, Soul Maze Pop Woven Wrap, 1 Large Aluminum Sling Ring. Second subheader: By: Stephanie Lu Sinclair, @WearingPluotAndKumquat. Three video clips have text to the right of each clip detailing the steps. First clip text: Short Cross Carry with a Ring and Base Minus 1; 1. Find middle marker. 2. Slide ring to the middle marker. 3. Accordian fold wrap. 4. Place over head and lower ring down back. Be careful not to twist wrap. 5. Accordian fold ends in front, make an X and bring ends to back and loop through ring. 6. Make just enough of a pocket in front for child. Don't put child is yet! Second clip text: Putting On Onbuhimo; 1. Webbing and perfect fit adjusters (PFAs) are loosened. Have chest clip all the way down or to where you find most comfortable. 2. Ask child to step into carrier, one leg in each shoulder strap loop. 3. Stoop down to place child on back, insert arms into shoulder straps. 4. Stand up, buckle chest clip. Make seat by pulling fabric up between you and child. Tighten shoulder straps. Ask child if s/he is comfortable. Adjust as needed. Third clip text: Place Child In Front; 1. Place child at burping height. 2. Guide child's leg into inside pass first, then other leg into outside pass. 3. Spread passes knee to knee and across child's back (easier to spread inside pass first). 4. Do jazz hands because you're wearing two children and you're hands-free! They're in their own carriers so if anyone wants down to chase a rabbit or pick a flower, you can take them out individually. End of video text: Thanks for watching! Wear on!]

Monday, July 3, 2017

Baby Carrier Review: Soul Linen Onbuhimo

Soul is a family-run baby carrier company from Bangalore, India. Their carriers include ring slings, meh dais, onbuhimos, full buckle carriers, and woven wraps. I have fallen in love with the onbuhimos in their #SoulLinenSeries.

[Image of four square photos of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with dark brown hair, wearing a toddler on my back in a green onbuhimo baby carrier with gray shoulder straps. The four photos show the front, sides, and back of us using this perfect-cooler-wearing-for-summer carrier. We are happily standing outside in the evening summer shade in front of an old white worn shed.]
[Image of four square photos of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with dark brown hair, wearing a toddler on my back in a green onbuhimo baby carrier with gray shoulder straps. The four photos show the front, sides, and back of us using this perfect-cooler-wearing-for-summer carrier. We are happily standing outside in the evening summer shade in front of an old white worn shed.]
[Image of a dusty peach linen onbuhimo with black chambray hood straps and a blue SOUL logo on the carrier's hood visible on green grass in sunlight.]
[Image of a dusty peach linen onbuhimo with black chambray hood straps and a blue SOUL logo on the carrier's hood visible on green grass in sunlight.]

Below is my honest review:
  • Carrier: Onbuhimo (Matcha Linen and Dusk Linen)
  • Material: 100% linen
  • One size (onbuhimos are generally recommended for children who have sufficient torso control to support their heads and sit up independently; these carriers are well-suited for toddlers)
  • Wearees: 
    • 4 year old (approximately 31 pounds/14 kilograms, 39 inches/99 centimeters) 
    • 1 year old (approximately 21 pounds/9.5 kilograms, 29.5 inches/75 centimeters)

[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman with sunglasses and a smile, giving the viewer a thumbs up while wearing a preschooler on my back in a green linen onbuhimo. We're standing in front of a large iconic food truck that says The Original Minneapple Pie.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman with sunglasses and a smile, giving the viewer a thumbs up while wearing a preschooler on my back in a green linen onbuhimo. We're standing in front of a large iconic food truck that says The Original Minneapple Pie. The preschooler is enjoying a lollipop from the parade.]

One of my favorite things about the onbuhimo is that is it is waist-less. Being open in the front makes it so much cooler to wear. Though I tend to reach for woven wraps to wear my children (over buckle carriers), for really hot days and children who want up and down and up and down I choose the onbuhimo. The super high back carry you get from the onbuhimo where the child's eye level is literally aligned with yours is AMAZING. 


[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman with sunglasses, wearing a hat-donned toddler on my back in a dusty peach linen onbuhimo. I'm in a sleeveless minty colored sundress getting lightly splashed by the falling water wall we're standing in front of.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman with sunglasses, wearing a hat-donned toddler on my back in a dusty peach linen onbuhimo. I'm in a sleeveless minty colored sundress getting lightly splashed by the falling water wall we're standing in front of.]

Linen. This line of carriers Soul has made from their signature linen is so so beautiful, breathable, and requires virtually no breaking in. It's ready to use and is not a bit scratchy or stiff. Moisture is naturally wicked away in the heat and humidity keeping everyone cooler and happier. 



[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman with sunglasses, wearing a hat-donned sleeping toddler on my back with arms out in a dusty peach linen onbuhimo. I'm in a sleeveless minty colored sundress. We're standing on a brick-lined road full of people at outdoor art fair.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman with sunglasses, wearing a hat-donned sleeping toddler on my back with arms out in a dusty peach linen onbuhimo. I'm in a sleeveless minty colored sundress. We're standing on a brick-lined road full of people at outdoor art fair.]

To note, because there is no waist band, all the weight is on your shoulders and upper back. When I use woven wraps, I tend prefer back carries that don't include a waist belt and do variations of rucksack carries. This may not be the carrier for you if you have really picky shoulders and don't like carrying all the weight there. Though, maybe give it a try and if you find that sweet spot, you might change your mind! The PFAs (perfect fit adjusters) lengthen or shorten the straps for comfort. I generally prefer them cinched when using the onbuhimo in a back carry; and loosened when I'm using the onbuhimo in a front carry (so the child can sit lower and not be right up in my face). The black chambray straps are well-padded so the cush level is pretty great! Would I choose this carrier for a 2+ hour hike? Maybe not if I think I'll be wearing it straight for 2+ hours - I'd probably choose a carrier with weight more distributed like one of those Soul linen full buckle carriers I've been eyeing.... But for in and out of the grocery store, trip to the farmers' market, short walks, etc., it's perfect!


[Image of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman, wearing a disgruntled toddler comfortably on my front in a dusty peachy onbuhimo. We are outside on a cloudy day getting fresh air while checking out our green-leaf orange-blossom nasturtiums.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman, wearing a disgruntled toddler comfortably on my front in a dusty peachy onbuhimo. We are outside on a cloudy day getting fresh air while checking out our green-leaf orange-blossom nasturtiums.]
In summary, if you have a toddler and would like to try a light-weight, easy-on easy-off carrier that ca be used on the front or the back, give this linen onbuhimo a go. We love it so much and highly recommend it! 


[Image focused on a dusty peach linen onbuhimo snuggling a toddler who is worn on the front of a light tan skin Asian woman who has one hand on the toddler's bum. Bare toddler toes are visible. The disgruntled teething face of the toddler is not visible. The blue SOUL logo on the hood is so cute.]
[Image focused on a dusty peach linen onbuhimo snuggling a toddler who is worn on the front of a light tan skin Asian woman who has one hand on the toddler's bum. Bare toddler toes are visible. The disgruntled teething face of the toddler is not visible. The blue SOUL logo on the hood is so cute.]

Did I mention it packs up small?? Here's my video on how to pack up an onbuhimo, inspired by Jars of Fluff.


video


[45 second video clip to happy background music. Initial text overlay has two lines. Top line says How to Fold an Onbuhimo. Bottom line says Soul Linen Dusk Onbuhimo. The carrier featured is a Japanese-style waistless carrier that is a dusty peach linen and and black chambray. The carrier is spread open with outer layer facing the floor. Bring the two shoulder straps in at an angle. Fold the bottom curved edge up before meeting the edges to the top edge of the carrier. Fold the sides in, in thirds. Bring the hood down over the folded carrier. Flip it over and use the hood ties to secure the folded carrier with a bow or double knot. The last image shows the carrier next to a wooden spatula for size reference.]



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


Disclaimer: These carriers I purchased with a discount as a Brand Ambassador of Soul. 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.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How To Fold An Onbuhimo

How To Fold An Onbuhimo




[45 second video clip to happy background music. Initial text overlay has two lines. Top line says How to Fold an Onbuhimo. Bottom line says Soul Linen Dusk Onbuhimo. The carrier featured is a Japanese-style waistless carrier that is a dusty peach linen and and black chambray. The carrier is spread open with outer layer facing the floor. Bring the two shoulder straps in at an angle. Fold the bottom curved edge up before meeting the edges to the top edge of the carrier. Fold the sides towards the center so they overlap, in thirds. Bring the hood down over the folded carrier. Flip it over and use the hood ties to secure the folded carrier with a bow or double knot. The last image shows the carrier next to a wooden spatula for size reference.]

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Baby Carrier Review: Soul Cardinal Linen Woven Wrap

Soul is a family-run baby carrier company from Bangalore, India. Their carriers include ring slings, meh dais, onbuhimos, full buckle carriers, and woven wraps. I recently purchased a woven wrap from their new line of linen woven wraps (#SoulLinenSeries) and would love to share my thoughts with you.

[Image of a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap named Cardinal braided with the blue heart middle marker and blue SOUL logo tags visible against the backdrop of a sun that has set into a calm lake.]
[Image of a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap named Cardinal braided with the blue heart middle marker and blue SOUL logo tags visible against the backdrop of a sun that has set into a calm lake.]

Below is my honest review.
  • Carrier: Cardinal Linen
  • Material: 100% linen
  • Size: 5 (my base)
  • Wearees: 
    • 4 year old (approximately 30 pounds/13.6 kilograms) 
    • 1 year old (approximately 20 pounds/9 kilograms)

First off, all woven wraps from Soul are shipped pre-washed! That means the weave is already set and you can safely use it immediately! And guess what? This linen is like your favorite crinkly pair of linen pants that feel like you have no pants on. It's light. It's airy. It's the ultimate no fuss summer wrap. Most linen blends I've tried require breaking in. Some feel like cardboard. Some feel a little scratchy. Not this one. It almost feels silky and this is not with any effort in breaking it in. I've washed it, hung it out to dry (and it dried quickly in the spring breeze), and steam ironed it once. The weave is tight so taking it to the beach is so worry-free. No sand stuck between the weave. Literally just shake it out and it's good to go. Splashed on by kids playing in the lake? Dries before you remember how it got wet in the first place. 

[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman, looking down at my red painted toenails in the cool lake sand at sunset with a reddish pinkish linen woven wrap tied on me in a front cross carry without a toddler in it because the toddler is happily playing in the sand out of the image frame. The sun is setting and casting a warm golden glow on everything it touches.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman, looking down at my red painted toenails in the cool lake sand at sunset with a reddish pinkish linen woven wrap tied on me in a front cross carry without a toddler in it because the toddler is happily playing in the sand out of the image frame. The sun is setting and casting a warm golden glow on everything it touches.]

Let's talk about knots. This lightweight wrap ties really small double knots. Like some knots are totally bigger than a newborn baby's head. Not this one. For a slip knot I've found it to be easily adjustable strand by strand. Then you have to pull it pretty tight to make sure there's no slip. Once secured, you're good to go. I have not tried any ring finishes with this wrap yet but I imagine a large or medium would be too big and slippery if replacing the double knot with a ring. I would recommend giving it a go with small sling rings if you try!

Edited to add: Any size ring seems to do just fine depending on how you like to finish! I've tried it with a single medium ring in knotless finishes and it holds just fine. Others have tried it with large and extra large rings too. Give it a try!

[Image of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with dark brown hair, making a wide-eyed surprised face and pointing at the itty bitty double knot from a finished rucksack back carry tied Tibetan with a preschooler on my back.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with dark brown hair, making a wide-eyed surprised face and pointing at the itty bitty double knot from a finished rucksack back carry in a spread cross across my chest, with a preschooler on my back.]

Let's talk about wrapping qualities. Cardinal Linen has minimal stretch, is not overwhelming on a squishy newborn because even bunched up the fabric isn't bulky (you know how some times wraps seem to swallow up your new baby and that double knot just doesn't stay put under their bum because the knot is bigger than their bum???), and it is supportive in multi-layers with a toddler or preschooler who all of a sudden says their legs don't work anymore after begging to go outside for a walk after insisting they wanted to walk alllllll by themselves. I don't find this wrap particularly grippy - it's all relative but comparing to two other woven wraps by Soul like Sensational and Maze Pop (both 100% cotton), this wrap is no way close to grippy. Some wraps hold their place by themselves mid-wrap or don't even think about budging in a half knot, not this one. Make sure you have one tail securely pinned while you strand-by-strand tighten the other side so you don't lose tension. That being said, as thin as it is, I don't find it diggy at all! I tend to equate thin wraps with digginess and this one just hasn't gone there for me at all. Maybe it's because I'm paying more attention to even strand-by-strand tightening. Maybe it's just the magic of the wrap. 

[Image of my torso focused on the pinkish linen woven wrap I'm using to wear a toddler on my back, in a double hammock back carry double knotted at the waist. I am holding my toddler's sweet feet. The double knot at my waist shows off the reverse lighter pink side of the wrap. I am a light tan skin Asian woman.]
[Image of my torso focused on the pinkish linen woven wrap I'm using to wear a toddler on my back, in a double hammock back carry double knotted at the waist. I am holding my toddler's sweet feet. The double knot at my waist shows off the reverse lighter pink side of the wrap. I am a light tan skin Asian woman.]

Carries I've tried in this woven wrap so far (with some photographed below):
  • variations of double hammock back carry
  • variations of rucksack back carry
  • shepherd's back carry
  • poppins hip carry
  • robins hip carry
  • front wrap cross carry
  • front cross carry
  • short front cross carry

[Photograph by my husband. Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman wearing sunglasses and a floppy purple sun hat, smiling at my husband who is taking our photograph. I have a preschooler on my back who is holding a bag of snacks and decided she needed to go up on my back to eat her snacks. I am using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap and I have just made a seat for my child and I am holding on to the long beautiful freshly ironed tails of the wrap over my shoulders that are draped into the spring green grass.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman wearing sunglasses and a floppy purple sun hat, smiling at my husband who is taking our photograph. I have a preschooler on my back who is holding a bag of snacks and decided she needed to go up on my back to eat her snacks. I am using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap and I have just made a seat for my child and I am holding on to the long beautiful freshly ironed tails of the wrap over my shoulders that are draped into the spring green grass.]

[Photograph by my husband. Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman wearing sunglasses and a floppy purple sun hat. I have a preschooler on my back in a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap. I am holding on to the tails at my waist and about to complete the rucksack back carry with a Tibetan finish. We are outside on a gorgeous spring day with green grass and sparkling trees.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin Asian woman wearing sunglasses and a floppy purple sun hat. I have a preschooler on my back in a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap. I am holding on to the tails at my waist and about to complete the rucksack back carry with a Tibetan finish. We are outside on a gorgeous spring day with green grass and sparkling trees.]

[Image of me, a smiling light tan skin Asian woman with dark brown hair, sunglasses, and a floppy purple sun hat in front of a lilac bush in bloom. I am wearing a toddler on my hip. She has on a floral sun hat and is contemplating picking the purple lilacs off the bush. The sweet fragrance wafts into the spring air with every warm breeze. We are using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap, in a carry called poppins hip carry with the shoulder spread out. The darker side and lighter side of the woven wrap are both visible.]
[Image of me, a smiling light tan skin Asian woman with dark brown hair, sunglasses, and a floppy purple sun hat in front of a lilac bush in bloom. I am wearing a toddler on my hip. She has on a floral sun hat and is contemplating picking the purple lilacs off the bush. The sweet fragrance wafts into the spring air with every warm breeze. We are using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap, in a carry called poppins hip carry with the shoulder spread out. The darker side and lighter side of the woven wrap are both visible.]

[Image of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with dark brown hair, wearing a floppy purple sun hat, standing in front of a blooming tree surrounded by vibrant red tulips. I have a toddler on my hip in a robin's hip carry using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap and both the darker and lighter sides of the wrap are visible. It is a sunny afternoon perfect for a linen wrap, my favorite purple sandals, and a floral sundress.]
[Image of me, a light tan skin bespectacled Asian woman with dark brown hair, wearing a floppy purple sun hat, standing in front of a blooming tree surrounded by vibrant red tulips. I have a toddler on my hip in a robin's hip carry using a pinkish reddish linen woven wrap and both the darker and lighter sides of the wrap are visible. It is a sunny afternoon perfect for a linen wrap, my favorite purple sandals, and a floral sundress.]

So in summary, this is an excellent summer wrap for both squishes and toddlers and preschoolers (the weight limit tested is up to 55 pounds/25 kilograms per Soul website!). It will fold up small for a handbag on the go and can be worn without a child in it (but ready for an up at any minute!) and not feel cumbersome. For beginners I think it is a great wrap to focus on strand-by-strand tightening. For experienced wrappers, the texture and wrap qualities are a fun surprise. 


If you are used to packages arriving within 48 hours from items for local orders or anything, I'm not just talking baby carriers here (perhaps you're a frequent user of Amazon Prime), remember that Soul is based out of India and global shipping will take a bit longer. I've heard from some people they receive their orders within a week. My order took 2 weeks. Helpful to know if you're planning on purchasing a carrier to be at a particular event (ie. birthday party gift, baby shower, week at the lake, etc).  If you’re a customer in India, however, I’ve seen people on the Soul Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlobalSoulFamily/) say they ordered and received their package within 24 hours! Now that’s speedy delivery!


At this time it looks like Cardinal Linen is sold out but the other two colors, Starling Linen and Goldfinch Linen are still available!


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


Disclaimer: This baby carrier I purchased with a discount as a Brand Ambassador of Soul. 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.