It’s Wool But Not: Tekhni Ceres with Repreve

Seems like everyone and their Canadian sister-in-law is weaving wraps this year. There’s lots of hype –  Giveaways! Facebook-group-exclusives! Free teethers! Wrap-scraps! It’s a lot to sort through. And since most companies have a price point at least 50 bucks higher than your average Didymos (and most of them much higher), they’re not the sort of thing you buy blind.

My four-year-old in Olympos Kingfisher. He liked it.

My four-year-old in Olympos Kingfisher.

One of the new companies on the scene is Tekhni Wovens. I’ve known owner Alisa DeMarco since the long long ago of stalking Didymos releases by reloading the page over and over and over and over (AKA 2010, which is pretty much Biblical times in Internet years). Alisa is artistic genius behind everyone’s favorite dye company, ColorDip Studios, a classically trained artist – and babywearer – who uses fabric as her camvas. Alisa knows what she’s doing. She knows how to wrap, and more importantly, what wraps well.  This is the type of lady you want starting a wrap company – someone with an artistic vision who knows what “shoulder cush” and “moldable carry” mean. I’ve had a chance to try several of her wraps – a Thalia Frost; two olymposes (olymposi?), kalamata and kingfisher, and now a Ceres ecos. Ceres Ecos is a really exciting wrap. It’s the first Ceres weave released. And it’s woven from 55% cotton and 45% repreve. simonecosAnd repreve is something to be excited about.

Made of recycled plastic bottles, repreve is a truly sustainable fabric that saves enormous amounts of energy, and reclaimed over 621,000,000 plastics bottles in 2012. Unifi, repreve’s manufacturer, bases its operations in Greensboro, NC – not only is unifi an American-company, and repreve an American-made product, but its production also helps revitalize the once-booming Southern textile belt. It’s used by companies with great track records, including Northface, Volcom, and Patagonia. Lest this all sound too good to be true, Unifi has partnered with several third-party verification programs to assure that repreve is both safe AND green. This makes Ecos the first woven wrap to ever contain sustainable recycled fabric.

Out of the box, Ceres is a cool pattern. It’s a clear release companion to Olympos; both feature hard-edged patterns that resolve themselves into soft curves, and they both wrap thick. The olympos patterns generally run at 300 g/sqm, while Ecos is slightly less at 290 g/sqm. And both find their inspiration in nature. Olympos plays at a mountain motiff, while Ecos suggests leaves – a suggestion heightened by its emerald-green coloring, a perfect hue for a sustainable fabric.

Yeah, ecos is pretty. I expected some significant crunch – tekhnis tend to be beastly out of the box. My Thalia frost about stood up on its own. Kingfisher and Kalamata – let’s just say they both had some alone time with a damp towel and a dozen dryer balls.  But Ecos came super-soft. I petted it. I cuddled it. And I popped in my squish. nursingecosIt’s wide. I like width in a squish wrap; it’s easier for me to nurse in a front-wrap cross carry. Between the width and the softness, Simon and I hung out in it all day.

Ecos has some great stretch that gives  a tight, moldable carry without much effort. And it’s got bounce. Not too much – it’s not an ellevill jade – but a good bit. Lovely. The thickness made both me and another mama think it wrapped short. Not terribly, but maybe a tad; I could still nurse in a FWCC. If you need every single centimeter, you may want to order up.

It’s been super warm down here (while you all get hit with the polar vortex! I’d gloat but I’ll be dying in July), so I had a chance to wear Ecos in 80 degree weather. In three layered passes of a FWCC, this hot-natured mama wearing a sweaty baby started to get, well, hot. In the summer, I’d prefer Ecos in a one-layer carry. This isn’t the repreve; I felt the same way about olympos. Both are thick wraps, and you don’t want a thick wrap in the summer.

Ecos has shoulder cush for miles. I wore both my two-year-old and four-year-old and found the wrap comfortable, with no digging or pressure points. It bounce pleasantly. It wrapped tightly. It felt sort of familiar for such a new fabric. Then I realized: Ecos is wool without being wool.

We all love the way wool wraps. We love the cush and bounce; we love the tight carries. But let’s face facts: wool is a pain in the ass. Hot water, agitation, or even rain and friction can cause felting, rendering a wool wrap totally unsafe for wearing and prone to ripping without warning. The forums have thread after thread of mamas asking if their wraps have felted. The Wool Wrap Width Thread is still going strong years after its inception, as are threads about how to Wash Without Felting. Think bathtubs, gentle towel-pressing, swishing, gradual temperature changes, and a sense you’re going to kill two hundred bucks any freaking second. So wool without felting? Count me in.

Even better: Ecos is also wool without prickles. Every few months, Didymos releases some scrumptionly thick wool indio. Everyone goes all gooey-ga-ga until they realize the wrap feels like a sheep had an indecent encounter with a brillo pad. Ecos is soft BNIB – I used it as a blanket to cuddle on the couch (sorry everyone else who gets the tester after me, but I didn’t have an afghan, and it was awesome. I regret nothing). It’ll only get softer. And mamas who have a wool allergy can still love it.

It wraps like wool, but without the prickle and the felting. It’s vegan- no sheep were harmed in the making of this wrap. And it’s sustainable. Every size 6 Ecos reuses 25 plastic bottles, and Unifi even has a repreve recycling program. They’re in it for the long haul. Win! Ecos lived up to the hype. It’s an exciting new design from a company with a great artistic vision. Most importantly, it’s a comfortable wrap for all three of my babes. Alisa tells me she’ll be releasing more Ceres in repreve blends. I’ll be stalking for one. I’ve got a wool-shaped hole in my stash, I hate washing things, and I’m a sucker for soft.  Another win for Tekhni. I can’t wait to see what else Alisa’s got up her sleeve.

*I did not receive any compensation from Tekhni for this post*