My friend Amy passed this travelling Joy and Joe wrap on to me for a quick play after Christmas, to see what I thought of it, before it continued on its journey around the country. This isn’t as full and comprehensive a review as I normally do as it was only with me briefly and I was on holiday!
I have come across Joy and Joe before, as they had a stall at the summer Natural Mamas Big Camp 2013 and I’d felt a couple of their Maxi Roses prototypes, so I was intrigued to find out more about this different style of wrap they have produced. I like to support home grown businesses, and Joy and Joe pride themselves on being UK-made and packaged, they use a factory in the north of the UK. Other testers tell me they have used a dobby loom for the Ripple wrap, to create something similar to the well known Girasol brand (which are hand woven in Guatemala, fair trade too!)
I was struck by the lovely colour when it came out of its simple printed yellow cotton bag (a little worn with use) – blackberry ripple is a good name for it, as overall, the wrap colours reminded me of the deep pinky purple colour you see from squeezed berries mixed with yellow ice cream. The main colour is aubergine, with several sections of pink stripes spaced out along its width. This wrap has been travelling, so it is well-broken in, but I am informed it was indeed floppy from new, and nice and soft to the touch.
It is 100% cotton in a German style broken twill weave, and is marketed as a good beginner wrap (due to its floppiness). It felt thick-ish and fairly heavy, compared to a Girasol of equal size, sturdy and strong.
It measured 3.48m with soft tape in hand, making it a long 3/short 4, and was 77cm wide. Wow, this is one wide wrap! My friend Amy who tested it before me did a comparison with other wraps:
- Joy & Joe Blackberry Ripple – 78cm
- Kokadi Diorite Stars – 72cm
- Girasol Northern Lights – 71cm
- Oscha Okinami Zen – 69cm
- Didymos FHI – 68cm
- Firespiral Starmap – 67cm
- Didymos Slate Silk Indio – 62cm
It weighs 740gm, so (bearing in mind the hemming) the weight is approximately 276 g/m2, which is different from their stated density on the website of 396 g/m2. The heaviest wrap I have is a Pavo Parterre Cobalt which is 340 g/m2 and the Joy and Joe is certainly much less dense! I wonder if this stated weight is a typo?
The hems are single stitched, straight, and neatly done. The tapers are fairly standard, not over long. The middle marker is a Joy and Joe label sewn onto the hem, and there is also a smallish label sewn strongly into the end of one taper with washing instructions (this is a great addition, as people do tend to lose their brochures). This wrap apparently can be washed at up to 60 degrees.
It comes with a little booklet. I like wrap company booklets; they tell you a lot about the business! There are clear and useful instructions for care, and some instructions for how to use the wrap. I was a little surprised by the choice of carries used for instruction; there was no front carry, a couple of uncommon back carries and a no sew ring sling (which will only really work with a short wrap). I like the idea behind the booklet, and think there is scope for this to be much more useful.
So, how does it wrap?
It’s a strong and sturdy wrap, soft (not new, but well travelled) and floppy. It is the thick end of medium, with some diagonal stretch (it has little elasticity or bounce-back). It wraps appropriately for its weight and thickness – slightly short. I have worked with cotton twill wraps that feel lighter and easier to handle, but this isn’t by any means hard work. It has some grip, due to the weave, which is an advantage in getting a carry to stay in the same place once done, and the passes are fairly easy to make, as it was short, which reduced the weight to lift. I wonder if a long wrap might feel a tad cumbersome to an inexperienced wrapper? I tried a ruck and a kangaroo wrap with my toddler.
Both carries were fairly easy to achieve and were comfy, they didn’t settle too much. I was aware of my daughter’s weight, but she’s three! The kangaroo and ruck shoulder passes had a tendency to slip off my shoulder as the wrap isn’t as mouldable as some (elasticity helps with this) but my little girl felt reasonably well supported in the single layer carries. There wasn’t a great deal of bounce when the wrap job was tight. The knot was easy to make, testimony to its floppiness. I liked the width (77cm!) as I have older, taller children to wrap, it meant that it was easy to get very deep seats and still have the wrap high up to the back of the neck (as you can see). This is good for toddlers, or for those who need extra width to ensure seat is good, but for smaller babies, the width and thickness will suit less well due to the sheer amount of fabric. I find my blankety old weave Girasols a little easier to work with but this is reminiscent of that style, and also similar to the old thick Hopps.
I did not wash the wrap.
This pretty wrap is nice and floppy and soft to the touch, sturdy and strong and would be a great workhorse wrap. It reminds me a little of the older, thicker Hopps (like old red), and may be a solution for those who find the newer, thinner Girasols not quite supportive enough in single layers. It is tough, so will last long, does not need to be treated with kid gloves, is clearly up to frequent washing, so many people will find this an excellent, more-affordable option for babywearing.