Christina at Woven Wings sent me this prototype Kingfisher Geo tester for a good workout and assessment. I’m going to be honest here. I really, really, really love this wrap. I’m not one for gushing reviews that talk about moonbeams and lives revolutionised, but I might get close, so be warned 🙂
When I opened the packet, the wrap sang to me.. the teal threads shimmered. They really did shine with an almost metallic sheen and I thought to myself, this truly is beautiful. The lovely geometric pattern, the superb teal colours .. teal is the colour of my sling business branding so I was already primed to love it – but all bias aside, it really is very very bright, very eye-catching, very pleasing to look at. The colour snaps with iridescence, life and energy. It is very much a “look at me” wrap. Midnight and Mint are elegant and classy – this is classy and sassy. Full of fun! The density of the teal part of the pattern is variable, which makes it seem alive, rather than uniform and perfectly symmetrical. It gives a feeling of depth. I love the way you have a fixed geometric design that is made to bend and flow with the movement and shaping of a wrap carry. I find it mesmerising to look at – beauty and form, lustre, texture and density.. just lovely.
It is 79% Egyptian cotton and 21% linen, in the unique Woven Wings weave, where the pattern is somehow laid on top of the wrap, like a sandwich. I am no weaver… but this is the same style as with Leaf Gold and Midnight. It is a tight, dense weave; the creamy cotton threads are thick and very uniform while the teal linen threads are thinner with the usual slight linen variations in width.
This arrived with me straight from the loom via the hemmers (Juliette at Baie Slings, my local wrap company!) so was completely unfinished. It measured 4.68m long and 65.5cm wide, giving it a density of approximately 256 g/m2 (hems nothwithstanding).
Juliette’s work is as immaculate as I have come to expect. Not a stitch out of place. The tapers are standard and the middle markers (a small Woven Wings logo) are accurate and neat, not at all intrusive.
So, how does it wrap?
Linen wraps can often feel a little hard, especially if the linen content is high. You are usually aware of an underlying steel firmness with linen blends – as if they are saying to you “this far you can go, but no further”. I’ve often described this feeling as an iron fist in a velvet glove… good linen mixes can feel very soft, but you know the linen is in there. Some people just can’t get on with linen for this reason – they find that it lacks real cush, or doesn’t have much stretch (flax fibres have poor elasticity and do not spring back readily, explaining why it wrinkles so easily and leaves lines when folded for too long). This was brand new when it arrived, and felt stiff and cardboardy, so far, just as I’d expect. However, it was too beautiful not to wrap with immediately!
It felt stiff and unwieldy, as you would expect for an unfinished, brand new linen wrap. It was quite hard to work with that very first wrap, and it felt diggy on my shoulders at the start. But within five to ten minutes of that first wrap, I could feel it beginning to stretch and bend and mould, and the digginess began to fade. When I unwrapped after half an hour of dancing and spinning with my little girl, it no longer dug into my shoulders, and had begun to embrace us.. the breaking in and softening had begun!
There have followed two weeks of beating. It has been used and loved, knotted, washed and steam ironed (which was a pleasure to do – the creasing melted away into creamy smoothness with each light lick of the iron). The more use it got, the better it was, and the more I loved it.
The first wash was a little scary. The teal threads on the top had a little bit of movement (movement, not thread shifting), because of the way the pattern is woven on top – it is not part of the actual wrap structure itself. Brand new, I could move the teal threads a little with my fingernails, but with washing and use and ironing, the threads began to settle and seemed to retain a memory of where they should be, and as they thickened and fluffed up, they stopped moving as if they had found their homes. The iridescence has faded a little with washing but it has lost none of its vibrancy. Washing changes its texture; it was fairly smooth new, but the wash added all sorts of depth – not quite to the extent of the cotton Pavo Parterres, which develop a whole relief map of contours, but a similar dip and rise along the pattern. This meant there would be texture and grip from the pattern not just the threads, and so it proved.
The wrap really, really changed with wear and use. It began its life with me stiff and awkward, but became cushy, soft, fluffy, floppy. It’s almost unrecognisable. The cotton and linen threads have plumped up and contracted a bit (the first wash shrank the wrap to 4.28m and 62cm wide, but with love it has grown again to 4.56m and 63 cm. This contraction means cushiness and squashiness… brilliant. I will be suggesting that the wraps are cut long to allow for this consolidation.. they cannot be cut wider, but 63cm is more than adequate in width as the wrap has a lot of stretch.
It is lovely to handle now. Floppy and soft, it feels like a comfort blanket, very, very strokable. It isn’t as immediately soft as the merino blend Geo’s or some combed cotton blends from other companies (like Baie Slings), it’s not heavily thick but definitely has that cosiness and comfort that you associate with well loved blankets! If you look closely you can see the threads, both cotton and linen, have fluffed up, making it soft and snuggly.
It moves well, (I’d say it feels as thick as it is – medium thick), and I find it very easy to wrap with now it is broken in. It grips very well, but is still smooth enough to ensure the tightening of the passes is not a chore, but satisfyingly productive. Once broken in, it moulds easily, and has much more elasticity than I had expected for linen – more than the Mint Geo prototype. In fact, the more I used it the more I thought “this doesn’t really feel like a typical linen wrap at all”. It has far more stretch and snuggle, and feels like it could give you more, if you asked it, rather than having reached the limits of the linen. My little girl and I felt embraced by it.. In the end I decided that this is because the linen threads are woven on top of the actual wrap itself – and because of this structure, as well as their fluffiness, they don’t become limiting. It’s a delight to use… wrapping with dense and colourful clouds.
And once it is wrapped, it is rock solid, very comfy on the shoulders, cushy and squashy and extremely supportive. The passes don’t slip, so it is very different from the all cotton Geos. Just a little bit of bounce, not so much that you feel it as you walk, but enough to mean that it moulds as you move. I went jumping and galloping with my little girl – she was comfy, there was no sliding or slippage and it settled around us, as if it was actively becoming part of the experience, and she snuggled down to sleep with no need for adjusting.
Boy, is it supportive!? It held my six year old in a knotless ruck (single layer) and felt very enjoyable for both of us. I was aware he was there, but my shoulders were not uncomfortable and there were no pressure points. It held him super securely. I asked him to try to escape… bear in mind this wrap is 63cm wide and he is a big boy.. After five minutes of giggling and struggling and wriggling, he was still tightly wrapped and utterly secure. No way out of this one!!
The knot isn’t small, as its a medium thick wrap, but once floppy, it’s not hard to make, and there is enough grip for a single knot (although a double knot is always safest). It is cushy enough to use as a strap carry..
It is fabulous in single layer carries and wonderful in multipass carries. Cushy enough for strap carries. Soft enough for a newborn (but may feel a little thick for tinies), strong and supportive enough for big kids.
In summary, if this was the only wrap in my stash, I’d be more than happy. 🙂 I shall be desperately stalking for a shorty Kingfisher Geo, you can bet your life on that.