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! 

[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.


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