Heartsong: Warped and Wonderful Review

download (1)To new wrappers, the handwoven craze may seem like a babywearing institution. But a few years ago, Vatanai Pamirs were the only commercially available handwoven, and it’s not long past that they used to sell for $300 USD retail. The real handwoven madness began only a year and a half ago, when some mamas on thebabywearer.com forums asked Vila Cox of Warped and Wonderful to weave them some wraps.

Then the crazy happened.

The Great Handwoven Craze began. Mamas stalked weavers. Custom lists opened and closed within minutes; prices soared. Uppymama used to keep an open customs list on their site. Suddenly, custom slots auctioned for prices more akin to vehicles than baby carriers: $24,000 bucks, plus a fee per meter, a jaw-dropping, unsustainable market value. The wrap world went crazy enough that etsy forums discussed how weavers should respond to the legions of women messaging out of the blue and begging for wraps. Any weaver might be the Next Big Thing. It was like college basketball recruiting, but for fabric.

Quietly, through the eye of the storm, Vila kept weaving. And other than the rush of opening and closing customs lists, she’s continued in that quiet ever since. A year and a half on, she’s up to almost 300 wraps woven. Her prices haven’t risen. Wraps hold a steady resale value around retail. And the weaving keeps on going.

She’s introduced a few new patterns over that time. Most recently, Heartsong came available. Less than 10 exist already, and I took a gamble when I chose it: no reviews yet. But I picked a color (wine), crossed my fingers, and waited.

I wasn’t disappointed.

downloadThe wrap arrived gorgeous enough that it’s now the sample picture for the weave. It has Vila’s signature impeccable craftmanship: no floats, perfect selveges, lovely hems. I know mamas are all obsessed with grads and twills and fancy threads, but seriously, Vila’s one of the best weavers on the market, and it shows. You don’t need fox fur and elf pelt to make a high end wrap.

Wine Heartsong had already been washed and dried twice, which is awesome, because it meant I didn’t have to wait for a free washing machine before I could wear it. Vila’s clear that her wraps can stand up to the dryer (!!) and they should be treated like any other cotton fabric. Another breath of fresh air: you don’t need special detergent and a drip dry with towel rolling and a voodoo spell to wash the damn thing. The wash also makes the soft wraps even softer.

I wrapped up Sunny Baby first (17 lbs and 6 months of bowling ball baby). Heartsong strikes a good balance between grip and slip: it moves without much effort, but stays where you put it. As usual with Warped and Wonderful, Heartsong wraps thicker than it feels in hand, especially taking into account the weave’s airiness. It doesn’t wrap nearly as thick as Crystal, or as flat as fern (one of the flattest weaves on the market); I found it a good middle ground between the two.

The weave’s airiness gives it a unique shoulder feel. It lacks the memory foam cush of a green wool fish, but it’s cushy nonetheless, with no digging or pressure points. I found it plenty supportive with Sunnybaby, and strong enough to stand up to 4 year old Dragontrainer (he picked the nickname, not me). I didn’t feel the need to baby it.

1422573_10102183089752557_5256547550639449083_nI liked Heartsong in a long wrap for a small baby; the softness and gentle texture felt lovely for a newbie. I think it would stand up as a ruck wrap for midsize babes. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a RUB wrap with a preschooler, but few wraps are (though for the record, my choice for that is Natural Hemp India). It strikes a good balance between solid and bouncy, probably lying midway on the bounce/solid ranking. And while it’s stretchy, it lacks the super elasticity of a Pamir or a Poe Harlequin.

And holy giant knot. You forget, in hand, how thick a W&W wraps. Heartsong’s no different. Luckily, it’s got enough grip to be a single-knotter.

The airy weave means snags and pulls. It pulls more than a fern, and more than most indios on the market, until you get to the super thin snaggy ones like kobalt-rouge. However, the airy weave also means it’s easy to fix. That same airiness rules in hot, muggy weather. I used it on a 90 degree evening and found it on the more comfortable end of the hot weather wrap spectrum.

If you’re looking for a legacy to go from newborn to preschool, this wrap’s it. Medium grip, medium solid, plenty of cush, airy for the heat and thick enough for the cold. It can cuddle your newbie without overwhelming them in wrap, and haul your toddler without digging. I’m glad I picked this pattern. I far prefer it to my Fern and the Crystal I had (which I wouldn’t recommend for a squish because it wraps so darn thick).

Heartsong doesn’t need any special treatment. It doesn’t need an experienced wrapper; it’ll cover up the mistakes of a new one. And it’s pretty. Nothing the market will go Justin Bieber over, but then W&Ws lack the flash of an uppy sock money or ETLA rainbow. But you can’t ask for better quality. As usual, the quiet, simple quality of a W&W wins the day.

You can keep your uppymama. I’m stalking for another W&W custom slot.