Poe Wovens: Herringbone Neige

neige2(and a giveaway! See Manic Pixie Dream Mama on Facebook for more details!)

Poe Wovens has come a long way. Since their release of Harlequin Neige, they’ve started a handwoven line, begun a popular lending library program, and now finally stand poised to begin their long-awaited herringbone release.

Herringbone was one of the first weaves Poe proposed, and for a variety of reasons – mill delays, sewing issues – it’s taken a while to come down the pipeline.  It’s no surprise Poe decided to add this weave to their line. Since Didy released its first Lisca in February 2013, babywearers have loved herringbone weave for its fluffiness, smooshiness, and diagonal stretch. Its drawbacks? It tends not to be supportive enough for big kids, because that stretch can turn easily into sag.

birdieHerringbone neige is 50% mercerized cotton (also called perle). Stand by for a quick fabric and chemistry lesson, because a) it’s interesting, and b) it  makes wraps amazeballs. Mercerization is a chemical process that adds sodium hydroxide or other acids to cellulose fibers under tension (i.e. cotton and less frequently linen and hemp). It changes the chemical structure of the cotton fiber, swelling the cell walls. Then several very scientifical things happen: the fibers become more lustrous (they become smoother and hence reflect more light); they absorb more water; they absorb dye better.

Mercerization makes cotton smoother in hand, and shinier. It has a lovely heavy drape and hand-feel; it’s softer then regular cotton (which makes sense, since it’s already had some chemical breaking in). Basically, in lots of cases, mercerized cotton beats the pants off the regular stuff.

Still listening? I know, it got science-y. You can do it. Cotton fibers under tension + acid = yummy yummy mercerized cotton that’s shiny and soft and drapey and smooshy.

bird2Herringbone neige uses 50% of this wondrous shiny stuff, and another 50% regular ol’ cotton, in the familiar lisca/herringbone weave. And it’s glorious.

It came to me  cuddly and memory-foam smooshy with one washing and wearing under its belt. And, well … I handed it to a friend while it was here. She glared at me golem-like, gathered it into her lap, cuddled it, and began scheming over how to make it into a poncho.

Herringbone neige has all the parts I loved about harlequin neige – without the harlequin pattern, and with extra smoosh and cush and cuddle. Herringbone delivers a lovely stretch, and this wrap’s no exception. The mercerzied cotton gives it that extra little itsy bit of diagonal stretch that makes all the difference, and it also lets the wrap glide over itself.

bird1This glide and stretch makes this a great wrap for practicing new carries. It delivers an ace-bandage stretch, and it moves around more easily than anything I’ve ever wrapped with. I spent my time with this playing around – herringbone neige is too fun for my average double hammock. I did Charlie’s Cross Carry, and Taiwanese carries, and back wrap cross carries with fancy finishes. I got wonderful wrap jobs from this because of the glide and moldability.

The stretch also gives it plenty of bounce. I love bounce, and I know something’s awesomely bouncy when Sunny bounces himself to my step. And he did with this wrap. It bounces like a jade or like harlequin.

I preferred it to Didy Liscas for several reasons. I found the mercerized cotton more glide-y and less grippy – good for new carries, and bad for sticking in place (I prefer slip to grip). It also felt softer in hand. I’d rate its smoosh about equal, though I liked it better for big kids.

Yeah, when Poe gets it right, I’m in love. I like the softness of the mercerized Egyptian cotton in this, and I really love Nancy’s affinity for diagonal weaves that give lots of stretch and bounce, with an ace-bandage moldability that gives you tight carries. We have the same taste in wraps, I think. I know I’m gushing but realsies: love this baby.

Basically, it feels like butta. Super-fancy Kerry Gold, butter, y’all, because this wrap feels fancy. Yeah, you can dress it up or down, because it’s neutral. But for reals, I want to fringe the edges and make it all fancy. It’s perfect for baptisms and weddings, but works with jeans too. My only complaint? I didn’t want to use it in rainy parking lots.

I didn’t feel like the stretch degenerated into sag, either. At times, with my big kids, I had to be careful to get alllllllll the stretch out before I tied. But as long as I made the extra effort, I didn’t find them sagging down my back. Herringbone neige lent big-kid carries a lovely smooshy shoulder feel, with plenty of memory-foam cush.

And for squishes? I practically ovulate when I wrap with it. The softness makes it perfect for a new baby, and it’s not too thick to hang up newborn legs. At 225 g^m, it’s actually thinner than a lot of wraps coming out lately, but the mercerization gives it a heavier drape while actually making the cotton lighter. See? It’s magic!

I know, the wonders of chemistry are less sexy than unicorn blood.

ANYWAY, I was hooked and I’m buying the tester. So no giveaways with this baby!

No ponchos either, bitches.

lakeLuckily Nancy sent me a scarf. So head over to my Facebook page to find out how you can win a Herringbone Lake scarf. No mercerized cotton, but it’s gorgeous anyway.

Herringbone Neige comes out on December 10 and will start at $165 for a size 6, going up and down $5 per size.

Want to read more about parenting and babywearing with a side of snark? Like Manic Pixie Dream Mama on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter: @manicpixiemama

Oh yeah, and there’s a giveaway going on. So go over there!