Tag Archives: woven fabric

Sketchbook: Introducing Briarwood

Our After Dark Collection continues with a gorgeous new Arts and Crafts inspired design: Briarwood. We looked to the Victorian masters of textile & interior design for the inspiration behind our newest pattern – delicate tendrils weave across the width of this wrap as little floral motifs and small birds form a stunning mirrored wrap.

Briarwood Night Garden, part of the After Dark Collection

The Arts and Crafts movement, popular in the Late Victorian and Early Edwardian periods, developed in Britain before spreading across Europe & the rest of the world. Famed for its focus on the natural world and folklore – the themes of the Arts & Crafts movement seem to sit perfectly within our After Dark Collection.

A focus on hand production, quality materials and functionality, were at the heart of this movement. The artists believed that the function of the decorated object should first be perfected before turning to the design – a perfect source of inspiration, then, for our woven wraps!

Textile and wallpaper designer William Morris was an inspiration for Oscha designer, Evonne. Morris’ focus on the natural world, with twisting, turning vines and leaves interspersed with British wildlife formed the central concept for our fluid design.

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort – John Ruskin

Briarwood Night Garden

Featuring gorgeous intertwining vines which are scattered with little blossoms & sweet birds, Briarwood Night Garden is woven in a hybrid weave. Our navy warp forming the backdrop for shimmery golden hemp & bright emerald Britspun Supima cotton.

Strong and supportive this stunning wrap will need a little love to break in fully, before becoming super soft and mouldable.

The After Dark Collection continues over the next few weeks and into the new year so look out on Facebook for updates on new colourways & designs.

Scottish Baby Sling Stories – Using the Plaid

Vicki delves into historic Scotland to find out more about the age old tradition of carrying children in slings! She meets our new designer Evonne’s granny and great aunt over a cuppa to hear about their personal experience in using the ‘Plaid’.

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When our new designer Evonne told her granny about the products Oscha makes, her granny said,
        ‘Oh, I know all about that, your great granny carried me in the plaid.’
Intrigued, I drove westwards on Scotland’s hottest day of the year (temperature reached a miraculous 27C!), navigating the tangle of motorways which slice up Glasgow, and out the other side to Dalry, once a thriving textile town, where the last mill closed only a few months ago, to find out more.
Evonne’s granny, May (Mary), and her sister Fay, greeted me with tea in china cups, lots of cake and a fascinating glimpse into 1930’s and 40’s Scotland.

Their mother had nine children and they lived in a two-roomed tenement flat with no running water or electricity. ‘We had to carry buckets of clean water up a flight of stairs and the dirty water back down again,’

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Exciting Wool Warp Prototype

Zorro Breton is woven on an entirely wool warp which is a first for us! Over the past 5 years we have warped up with cotton or linen or a combination of both, the idea of a wool warp was intriguing and so we decided to give it a go! We love exploring new weave structures and pushing the boundaries around constructions for woven wraps. It’s something we take pride in and know our customers value too.
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Brittany, behind the blog ‘Twice Loved and Modern’, wears Zorro Breton

We chose our Zorro pattern with an ecru weft and navy warp as the prototype for this new blend. The final construction is 78% wool 11% cashmere and 11%silk and is two of a kind. We sent it to blogger, Brittany, of ‘Twice Loved and Modern’ to put it to the test!

Straight from the bag, Zorro Breton feels super soft and floppy. In Brittany’s words:

“It is INSANELY soft and INCREDIBLY fluid.  I mean whoa, it’s like butter!  I don’t think I’ve ever used the word fluid to describe a wrap before but that’s exactly what this is.  The silk content is so glide-y with the wool and cashmere offering a level of softness I’ve never experienced, the combination of the two is perfection.”

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Although this is our first wool warp, the process has opened up new opportunities for experimentation with wool yarns and combinations. The next new wooly blend we have weaving at the moment is 100% super-wash wool. We can’t wait ’till it comes off the loom, so that we can try it out!

Referring to the Zorro Breton, Brittany also says “It’s incredibly easy to use which makes it lovely for a beginner and equally attractive to an experienced wrapper.” She mentions that due to the glide, it’s easy to tie, but needs careful wrapping for heavier children. The softness lends itself perfectly for small babies and doesn’t feel particularly ‘wooly’ to the touch.

To read the full review, jump over to Brittany’s Blog here. It’s likely we will be creating more wraps in this blend for the winter as it’s been such a hit with Oscha staff and Brittany herself!

 

The Oscha Zorro Love group on Facebook received one item, which was sold by draw to purchase, and we will have another draw to purchase on our Facebook page this evening, with the winner announced tomorrow during Secret Stash Friday.

N.B There has been a spelling error on the tag, which you can see in some of Brittany’s images- both wraps made in this blend are named Zorro Breton.

What’s The Difference? Coorie & Cairis Carriers

Lots of our customers have been asking about some of the differences between the Coorie and Cairis carriers. Below is a comparison of the unique elements to each carrier.

Both carriers have been inspired by the traditional Mei-Tai. The main difference between them is the waist belt and shoulder straps. The Cairis has a padded waist belt with a buckle fastening and padded shoulder straps. The Coorie has a pleated waist belt with a ring fastening and carefully pleated shoulder straps with light padding. Both Carriers have been hand crafted in Scotland by highly skilled seamstresses. Read on for more details and info to help you choose.

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Coorie on the left. Cairis on the right

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Collaboration with Artist Elizabeth Close

We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Anangu artist Elizabeth Close on a new design – Skipping Stones. Elizabeth creates contemporary & traditional Australian Aboriginal Art inspired by her surroundings and heritage. Elizabeth’s strong connections with the babywearing community has made this process and the final result even more touching for us. Read Zoe’s interview with Elizabeth below to hear more about how she became an artist, her influences and what inspired this particular pattern.
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Skipping stones has been woven on the ‘Surf’ Warp (from our Oceania collection) and will make at least one more appearance this year.

Firstly we’d like to say how delighted we are to have this opportunity to work with you after being such a fan of your artwork! Can you tell us a bit about how you became an artist?

Hi Zoe! It’s exciting for me too! Thanks so much for approaching me! I’m not wearing as much as I used to now that my smallest is an independent being that wants to walk and run, so it’s lovely to still be involved in the community I love so much. I do however have my third baby on the way, so I look forward to wearing my babies for years to come.

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Elizabeths painting inspired by motherhood and an image of her carrying her child in an Oscha Woven wrap she designed for the Australian Babywearing Conference in 2015.

In some ways, I’ve always been an artist.  As I moved into high school, I didn’t enjoy art classes because I found it so constricting. They wanted me to learn about light and shade and study the work of other artists – and all I wanted to do was paint my own things in my own style! So I gave it up at year 10. I’ve always kind of dabbled in my own projects, and I continued to dabble as I became an adult, doing some works on canvas.

“My grandmother, my single most important link to my culture, used to teach me to paint and draw – she was very creative.”

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*New Blend* Machine-washable Wool

We enjoy developing and discovering new blends and fabric constructions for our customers and value sharing this process with a selection of babyweatring testers. The latest prototype to hit the road was Kasumi Orabel which is a new blend, for us, in machine-washable wool. We sent it to three testers in the USA.

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This wrap is woven on an organic cotton/linen warp and is made up of 45% extrafinewool, 20% organic linen, 35% organic combed cotton. The yarns are not treated with any harmful chemicals and, as with all of our fabrics, are in compliance with oeko-tex rules.

We asked Laketa from TandemTrouble, Bee from The Wild Bees and Samantha from Vegan Babymama to report back on what they thought about how it wraps and washes.

LaKeta, who has twin toddlers, commented on the washing process and feel of the wrap:
“It has been a pleasure to wear Orabel.  I have to admit to being skeptical on the machine washable wool but I believe this wrap made me a convert to super wash wool.  I was so nervous about felting, I have seen some truly horrible things happen to wool in machine wash.  Not only did it wash up very well, it had no felting and only mild, if any fuzzing. I think I see more fuzzing in Tencel than I did this wool.”
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New: 100% Ice Cotton

We are excited to introduce a range of slings woven with Ice Cotton. Specially developed to give a “cool to the touch” feel, our new wraps are perfect for keeping you both fresh and comfortable in the heat, just in time for the summer months to come.
Read on for an insight into the fibres used and feedback from our trusted babywearing testers.
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Tessa wearing Roses Coral Ring Sling

Ice Cotton yarn is made from naturally grown and selected cotton, with no synthetic fibers, and is free from harmful chemicals.
The beauty of this unique “cooling” material is in the advanced spinning technology which uses very long and twisted fibres, making the fabric feel fresh and light. If you look closely at the individual yarns in the weave (image below), you will see the twisted fibres which give a raised texture, this produces a construction which is naturally airy and breathable.

Our Ice Cotton slings have been tested by several experienced babywearers since March last year (2015), here are some of their comments:

Keely, England
Testing 100% Ice Cotton wrap
How did you get on with your Ice Cotton tester?
‘I apparently have gone absolutely crazy for your ice cotton! It is amazing! We have worn with it every day, it’s one of the most comfortable wraps I’ve owned and wraps like a dream. I was concerned by how thin and gauze-like it felt at first, but it is so surprisingly supportive and the pattern makes it nice and grippy. It’s very comfy on my shoulders and thin enough to make a lovely neat knot. My nearly 2 year old has been up for several hours at a time in it and was weightless throughout. I will be very very sad to part with it!’

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Keely testing the Roses Coral with her daughter.

That’s great to hear! How would you feel about using it against bare skin and with a younger baby?
‘Straight out of the bag I had my doubts, but now it’s had a few washes and been well worn I think it will be fine. I’ve worn it on bare shoulders and it was lovely. I also borrowed a friend’s very dinky one month old to try with it and it was still perfect, she fell asleep in minutes and was clearly very comfortable in there!’

Julia, UK – on holiday in Thailand
Tested 100% Ice Cotton wrap
‘I was really excited to be able to test the ice cotton out in the heat of Thailand. Most days were over 32C and the humidity was still high in the region I was staying. As I reported a while back, my first try I managed a 2km walk in 35C humid heat, I was wearing two layers and Aria in one. The only place that either of us was sweating was where our bodies had been together, which is to be expected.  Even with wearing it in a DH, I didn’t feel overheated and more importantly, Aria didn’t either. In subsequent wears (I think one day it was up to 40C apart from feeling fatigue from the heat anyway), the wrap was still comfortable to wear. I also took a 50% linen (it was a thicker 50% linen – alto eventide) but I wore that once and then left it in the suitcase, the ice cotton was just more comfortable to wear. Careful tightening with this wrap is a must but despite a really bad wrap job, it felt amazing on my shoulders and fantastic in high temperatures.’

Karine, Singapore
Tested 100% Ice Cotton wrap
‘Upon receiving the wrap, it seems there isn’t a need to break it in like a typical hemp or linen blend. It is very thin and airy which makes it very cooling to wrap with. Slightly textured which creates a relatively good grip even with a half knot tie. Supportive and comfortable even after an hour of wrapping my 17 month old who weighs about 12kg. I’m looking forward to experiencing a blend of cotton and ice cotton. I will be excited to see more ice cotton wraps with colour gradients too!’
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New: LoveKnot Design

For a while now, we have been looking for an excuse to expand on our Celtic knot designs, and with the advent of the additions to our Romeo and Juliet collection this spring, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to design an Oscha love knot.

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Mike set to work on sketching out rough ideas from traditional Celtic knot motifs before translating them into silhouettes that would be suitable for weaving.

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Cairis Review – Lauren and Simon

We sent one of our Cairis carriers to a family who were just beginning to explore babywearing with their first child. We asked Lauren how she got on trying it out with her son. They received one of the first completed carriers 7 months ago just as he was born.

What were your first impressions of the Oscha Cairis?
The fabric- quality and design- were absolutely beautiful, and the sling as whole, extremely attractive; it had a real ‘wow’ factor (subsequently reflected in the number of comments I received when I wore it out and about). The accompanying instructions were very clear

How easy did you find using it and putting it on at the beginning? Were you used to using any other baby slings or woven wraps?
I had never used a sling or woven wrap before and found the Cairis very easy to use. We followed the instructions step-by-step and had the carrier in use within five minutes.

You can see how easy it is to use the Cairis with a new born by viewing our instructional video.

Do you find it comfortable to wear for long periods?
It is very comfortable to wear. When my baby was very young I commonly wore it for up to 6 hours. I am quite petite and it adapted very well to my size. Likewise, my son was a particularly small baby, and I loved how the sling could be adapted for him.

When do you tend to wear your baby in the Cairis?
Around the house, out shopping, running errands (particularly when using public transport). When Owen was younger (and the weather was nicer) I used it out on long country walks.

Is it easy to transport when you are out and about and your child is being carried?
Yes- I use the bag that came with it. It folds down well so it very convenient to transport.

How happy do you think your child is in the sling? Is it a good height for them to see out?
He’s always been very happy in the sling. I regularly use it to comfort him when he’s distressed and almost instantly calms. It is a good height for him to see out.

Do you prefer to use it on your back, front or both?
I’ve only recently starting using it on the back, and I now prefer it as it’s easier to go about tasks, and now he’s heavier, it is more comfortable for longer periods.

How easy do you find adjusting the size when sharing it with your partner?
With a little bit of practise, very easy.

Over all, how happy are you with the appearance and functionality of the carrier?
Very happy. Given I had never used a sling before, I wanted something easy to use, and the Cairis was certainly that; I felt confident using it almost immediately. A real advantage for us was being able to adapt the sling, using the cinch, for when our son was first born; he was of a relatively low birth weight so he would have been too small for mainstream carriers. It was lovely wearing something so attractive, and I constantly received compliments on the carrier when using it.

Will you continue to use the Cairis?
Yes

Do you have any other comments?
Receiving the sling instantly changed the way I went about the day. My son loved being in the carrier, and I would wear it for large chunks of the day; I knew he was happy, and I could talk to him as I went about activities. Because it is so convenient to use, it made it so much easier for my husband and I to go out- using for example public transport or out on long walks in the countryside. He would either sleep, or watch what was going on around him.

 

Cairis Review – Dr. Rosie Knowles

We asked Rosie Knowles from Sheffield Sling Surgery to review our new, half buckle, soft structured carrier.
Rosie is a family doctor based in Sheffield, UK and has been carrying her children for seven years; she is a Sling consultant and a certified babywearing consultant instructor.

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Harriet trying out the Oscha Cairis with Rosie

It’s been a privilege to work with Oscha on the development of their new soft structured carriers. The Coorie ring-tai is a fabulous carrier, amazingly comfortable with painstaking attention to detail. The new baby Cairis half-buckle is a simpler soft structured carrier, once again made from Oscha wrap fabric, designed for use with children between 7 and 15lb. It is handmade in Scotland with the same loving care and with focus on comfort for both parent and child.

What is a Half-Buckle?
A half-buckle is a mei tai with a buckled waistband and long straps that can be wound around the body to distribute the weight of the child.

The waistband of the Cairis is minimalist, to avoid bulkiness for a younger baby, and to prevent any digginess around the hips for an adult. There is no padding in the very central section of the waist, with light, soft padding at the corners of the panel that moulds nicely around your contours. This light padding carries on into a long “tongue” of fabric which ensures that the side-positioned buckle doesn’t dig in. The webbing moves smoothly and is easy to tighten.

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This minimalist style makes it easy to “cinch” the waistband to make it narrower for a younger child. Oscha provide a ruched semi-elastic strap that can be tied around the base of the panel, making it both shorter and narrower. This will ensure that a small baby’s legs are not over-spread and the panel isn’t too tall.

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The Cairis has lightly padded shoulder straps that fan out into wrap straps that are about a quarter of the width of the full wrap. The angle of the straps has been carefully chosen to keep them resting on the flat of the shoulder, rather than riding too high towards the neck. This, combined with the breadth of the curved top panel, helps to avoid any feeling of constriction or restriction of view for baby. The padded straps are sewn in such a way to allow moulding and they stay in place well rather than sliding around (due to the grip of the fabric). The wrap straps are easy to tighten snugly and aren’t too bulky around baby’s knee. The little extra width keeps the bunching for the leg passes comfortable, and they can be spread a little for some extra seat support. The fact that the straps are not super wide is helpful to avoid getting tangled up in excess fabric and it would be easy to use this in windy weather, for example.

Straps

The panel is lovely and floppy, which allows for a good degree of snug fit, which you often don’t get with more structured panels, and allows adjustability for a range of sizes of child. There is no bulky padding at the sides, but the double thickness of the soft wrap means that it is still comfy around the legs. The top half of the panel has a little bit of very soft floppy padding that adds a little support around the upper body and neck. It has a fully removable hood that can be ruched up along the two fabric runners at the side, and can be attached to the panel and the straps by a clever system of loops and poppers that add plenty of adjustability.

Hood

How does it feel?
It feels lovely, as it is so lightweight and soft. It is very easy to use, being very simple without too much fabric to feel swamped by. The light padding to the waistband means it is mouldable and comfortable with no digging around my middle. The straps were a good width for me; not too wide and I was able to keep them central on my shoulders. The knot is easy to make as the straps are not at all bulky, and as they are fairly narrow compared to something like the Coorie, I felt more comfy when I took the time to spread the width around my side, and for heavier babies, to have them spread across baby’s bottom for extra lift. The panel is quite tall, but as it is so soft and lightweight it is very easy to allow it to fold down over the waistband slightly to reduce its height. Being double thickness, it doesn’t sag.

I had to take a little care with hip scooting into a back carry to ensure the long waistband tongue remained in place, but it was lovely to have the padding rather than webbing across my front. It was fairly easy to spread the wrap straps across baby’s bottom for extra lift due to their reduced width; this would be preferable for a heavy baby/small toddler. I found knotted finishes more useful than knotless, as the straps didn’t have the bulk and heaviness required for the friction-dependent knotless finishes like the Tibetan. To be honest, the padded straps were robust and supportive enough with no sliding around not to need this kind of finish.

The body panel is made of two layers of wrap fabric and is rectangular, 38 cm (15in) at the base of the panel where it meets the waistband and about 45cm high from the waistband to the top of the gentle curve. The top half of the panel has some light padding across the full width to add a little support. The hood is adjustable (by runners of fabric at the two sides), it rolls up and can be secured with cute little poppers.

The padded section of the shoulder straps is medium width – 8 cm wide and the padded part before the straps flare out into half the width of the wrap is 47 cm. The total length of the straps is about 215 cm. The wrap strap width is about 18cm.

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It has been carefully and thoughtfully handmade with very neat stitching and hemming. There is appropriate sinkage at the shoulders with sturdy box stitching visible on the outside, and the panel feels well sunk into the waistband and the shoulder straps are the same. The hood loops are very sturdily sewn. I have not seen the internal structure of the carrier but it has passed all the relevant safety standards.

Summary
I really like this baby buckle tai. Much of the comfort and all the style of an Oscha wrap in a simple and easy to use package, that is suitable from birth. I’d be most happy to have this in my library and would have used one for my own children on the days when wrapping just wasn’t practical.