Wonder Woven Review: Montijello

Simon in Montijello

The handwoven wrap craze has exploded. Every week, new weavers pop up, and every week, mamas (and the market) flock to a different one. Weavers flog wraps, open and swiftly close custom lists, sneak-release, try hard to be the Next Big Thing. Who knows which fly-by-night lady-with-a-loom might become the next Uppy or ETLA? Which wraps will double and triple in market value? Better buy them (all) while you can, and scam your way onto each custom list, lest you get left behind, sadly condemned to a stash of pathetic machine wovens, doomed perpetual uncoolness.

Don’t believe the hype, ladies. Put down the crazy, take a deep breath, and realize you want a quality wrap, not whatever’s trending just because it’s trending.

So how to sort the flavor of the month from the real weavers – the ones who put out quality wraps, future market value be damned? It’s a good bet that the quality will come from someone who knows the woven wrap world. Someone who has, ahem, been around the block when it comes to stash churning. And someone who can actually wrap well.

Enter Wonder Woven.

Wonder Woven’s the (company? loom? what do we call a boutique handwoven store?) artistic endeavor of Tracey Desrosiers Bromwich, a Yale-educated architect turned stay at home mama. Tracey’s a longtime denizen of thebabywearer.com forums. She knows wraps. And so I was super excited to try one of her newest pieces, a pink-weft Montijello.

Montijello is 100% cotton with a twill weave. I love twill; the weave offers such perfect diagonal stretch without sag. It lends itself well to cushy wraps. However, twill has one drawback; it easily crosses the line from cushy to blankety.

Not as thick as I thought. Check out the Barbara’s Weave and Wear.

Let’s face it: It doesn’t take art to make a cushy thick wrap, and it doesn’t take art to wear one. At a certain point, thick means cushy, especially if cushy means only a lack of pressure points. Without pressure points and obvious sag, even the sloppiest wrap jobs wear decently. You don’t have to wrap well; you just have to not drop the baby. Many handwovens fall into this trap: they wear great, because they’re like wrapping with movers’ blankets.

So that’s what I expected: one more thick wrap.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Montijello wasn’t a fatty. It wasn’t thin – I’d put it on the thicker side of medium, if thick is Natural Hemp India. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t everything a handwoven should be. Plenty of shoulder cush – lots of flooff. Some handwovens – Warped and Wonderful among them – wrap thicker than they feel, and Montijello does that. The shoulders were almost pillowy, both with my 15 pound squish and my 35 pound toddler. Who loved it, by the way, and who cried when I put him down.

I’ve never found such a perfect balance between glide and grip. The passes slid into place, but they didn’t slide off. This wrap went where it needed to go and stayed put. It had bounce, but not too much – less than a jade, but too much to call it totally solid. Super, super soft, and I don’t think it’s been worn for weeks on end. I loved wrapping my squish in it. And the weight meant it wasn’t totally overwhelming. This is a cushy handwoven whose weight and color are perfect for summer.

Oh, the color. Yum. According to that color analysis thingie that all the wrap mamas are into right now (I don’t even want to go too far into that madness), I’m a warm spring. Except I hate pink, and don’t wear pink wraps, because I have three boys and I’m just not into the color (and yes, when I wore my very boyish-looking baby in this wrap everyone assumed he was a she). But when I wrapped this up, I fell in love. It was enough to make me put on matching lipstick, and that’s true love, because it means I can’t nibble baby head.

The selvages are pretty; better than the Uppy I had, and other than a few weaver’s knots, I think the quality compares favorably to others on the market. Tracey took up weaving because she wanted to wear her babe in a mama-made wrap. The love shows.

My only complaint: the lack of tapers and the handwoven fluff made it hard to tie off. I really love tapers. Can y’all weavers start tapering, please?

No seriously. Taper.

Selvage shot.

ANYWAY Montijello =  heaven. I offered to trade another handwoven by a well-known weaver whose wraps go for about double market value. Alas, no trades for this baby! I had sadz.

Gorgeous color. Gorgeous wrap. Lovely as a size 4, with plenty of cush and cuddles. It really needs to live with me. I’ll be looking out for it, and for more from Wonder Woven. Save your pennies, ladies. This is one company worth the hype.