Tag Archives: winter collection

Creating the Northern Isles Collection

Images of Okinami Orkney, inspired by the Scottish landscape at dawn.

Okinami Orkney, inspired by modern artworks depicting seascapes at dawn on the Northern Isles of Scotland.

I had returned to the family home, a log cabin in Fife, where Mike spends most of his time working on Oscha designs (amongst other things!). We had decided we wished to create a sunset fade of colours specifically for weaving with Okinami. We spent a long time playing about with colours and built a very bright sunset scene, but neither of us were feeling particularly satisfied about it. It felt too close to our Hawaii sunset warp, with a tropical look.

 

We both decided to take a break and accompany the rest of the family for a visit to the annual Pittenweem Arts Festival. This village in the East Neuk of Fife comes alive with the Scottish art scene for one week in August, when you can find tiny little pop-up galleries emerge everywhere, from resident’s front rooms and garages to tents in the gardens!

 

Whilst we wandered in and out of the tiny make-shift galleries, many filled with paintings of Scottish seascapes, and along the sea front which the village clings to, a new pallet of colours began to emerge. On our return we decided that it was at last time to begin the Northern Isles Collection, we used images of fine & modern artworks depicting seascapes, and more subtle yet radiant dawn light, in the Northern Isles to build a fade of colours that felt both more mature and interesting.

Okinami Orkney, showing the dawn warp colour way.

Okinami Orkney, showing the dawn warp.

The Northern Lights, or Merry Dancers warp came simply through the fun of playing with our new multi-colour warp technology. We hit on the lively range of colours and were reminded of the Northern Lights.

 

Shortly afterwards I went to a local Fèis, where young musicians from up North played and sang beautiful, traditional folk music, and there was a cèilidh. This brought to mind a competition entrant who had suggested a Collection theme to us – ‘the Merrie Dancers’ – which is the local term in Orkney and Shetland for the aurora borealis. I could immediately see a parallel between the music, dance and the movement of the local Gaelic music scene and the vivid lights in the night sky, which are so visible in the Northern Isles.

Image of Tjimkje playing the fiddle in the Eire Fairy Ring wrap.

Tjimkje playing the fiddle in an Eire Fairy Ring wrap. Bringing together the Northern Lights warp with folk music and dance.

Pulling these two warps together we felt we had a nice beginning to the new collection and in time we hope to come back, adding a Part 2, with more Shetland-inspired colours and designs.

 

To shop the collection, click here.

Monk’s Belt Jol Review by Manic Pixie Dream Mama

Thanks to Elizabeth for her review of Oscha Monk’s Belt Jol baby wrap. To see the original, visit her blog here.

Monk's Belt Jol Baby Wrap by Oscha Slings image

Monk’s Belt Jol Baby Wrap by Oscha Slings

I remember when Oscha was The Hot New Company. Thebabywearer.com had a thread for swapping Oscha to Oscha only, because no way would someone trade their unicorn fuzz Oscha – and all Oschas were unicorn fuzz Oschas – for a mere regular wrap. Think the handwoven craze was the first run on wraps? Oscha beat them, people, with only mechanized looms, a website with serious carting issues, and some Scottish pluck.

 

Like any craze, the Oscha madness died down. But the wraps remained, and most of them still fetch retail or above. That reason is simple: like true unicorn fuzz, they wrap well, they use quality materials, they have a devoted following, and they offer stellar customer service.

 

They also have good designs. Zoe and Mike design most of the wraps in-house (another recipe for a successful wrap company). Their dragons (shui) are highly sought after in all forms, and their roses have been copied by pretty much everyone but Didy*. While their politically-timed Scottish tartan** obviously isn’t an in-house production, it’s seldom Oscha releases a wrap they didn’t design.

 

Image of Monks Belt Jol baby wrap in action

Monk’s Belt Jol baby wrap in action

Monk’s Belt Jol is a rarity to begin with. And yes, the design does come from the pattern of actual monks’ belts: tiny squares, with a double-warp/weft overlay gradation. Yes, that sounds confusing. Look at the damn pics. The red and blues and teals meld into gorgeous purples. The wrap’s beautiful in pictures and stunning in person, with plenty of shimmer.

 

The pattern promised lots of stretch and bounce – the squares would lend an extra diagonal stretch – and the wrap delivered. Monk’s Belt wraps with enough bounce to get Sunny bopping up on and down on my back, and stretches well while wrapping. The design also creates some grip, so the stretch helps make the wrap job less of a wrestling job.

 

I wore Monk’s Belt pretty regularly for over a week; it came on what we’ll call holiday in honor of its Scottish origin. I liked its medium-thickness (270 gsm) in the Mordor-like cold of the Northeast, but didn’t find it overwhelming in milder temperatures. The bounce made it a decent ruck wrap for a 25 pound baby. I didn’t prefer it as much in a one-layer carry with a Baby Bear (30 lbs) or Dragontrainer (37 lbs), but at that point, you need a designated toddler-weight ruck wrap anyway.

 

It feels solid on the shoulder, with some bounce; this isn’t the wrap for someone who wants memory-foam cush. But the stretch gives you a fairly moldable wrap job. I didn’t find it saggy, but fans of wraps with less give may find the stretch becomes sag after some wear.

 

I think this is a wrap that will shine more as it breaks in. With 100% combed cotton, it promises to resolve into kitten-belly softness, much like other combed cotton Oschas. The weave makes this feel less floofy than motherhood knots or roses, but I’d bet that with time it’ll develop a little more cush.

I liked this wrap best in multilayer carries, though it performed well in a ruck tied under bum. Once I worked the passes into place, it rocked a shepherd’s carry. And I got compliments on the colorway everywhere I went – it was distinctive enough for non-wrappers to notice.

 

Three years ago, this wrap would have sold out in about thirty seconds, then fetched triple retail on the secondary market. I suppose it’s still available from Oscha because the pattern is something of a departure from their usual figurative jacquards. Maybe it’s a pre-Christmas wrap buying freeze. But the intricate coloring should woo some mamas, especially since the colors do resolve themselves into some purples.

Expect this to sell out once the holiday season is over. I’d love to see this weave in some other blends and colors. Oscha still weaves with unicorn fuzz, people. This wrap proves it.

 

**Though you can argue their On Roses is within shouting distance of a copy.

***Yes, some of us Americans noticed the release date timed with the Scottish independence vote.

 

Bonus Bear comments on Monk’s Belt: “You mean the one with the crazy Spiderman colors? Yeah, that’s pretty. Everyone you showed that to has been like [insert high girl voice] I need this for the colors!!!!!!!”

See Manic Pixie Dream Mama on Facebook to win a Monk’s Belt Jol Key Ring!

Image of Monk's Belt Jol Jacquard Woven Key Ring

Monk’s Belt Jol Jacquard Woven Key Ring

 

 

 

Winter Solstice Collection

Image of Nicola nestling her little one in a ‘Monks Belt Jol’ wrap.

Nicola nestling her little one in a ‘Monks Belt Jol’ wrap.

As the nights draw in and there is a coolness in the air we are re-visiting our Winter Solstice collection, which always gets us excited about cosy nights in by the fire and spending time with family and friends. The colours in this Collection celebrate this time of ice, frost and long, crystal clear nights, as well as the joy that even in the midst of this darkest time there is celebration where symbols of warmth, light and life are brought into the home in the knowledge that from this point we will begin to move back towards the sun.

You can see our new seven colour ‘Noel’ warp in the images here which is made up of smooth fades between rich reds, burgundies, greens and teals. The colours pop and shine in different ways depending on which weft we have chosen to weave through the designs. We have enjoyed playing with colour, light and pattern through out this collection. Shop the collection here.