Kush Textiles is an American based company sourcing handweaving by artisans in Guatemala. The Indigenous, accounting for more than 50% of the Guatemalan population, are the living descendants of the Maya. Weaving is one of the ancient arts surviving with the thriving culture and the Mayan descendants can be seen wearing traditional garments woven in this style. The name of the company is an adaptation of the word “K’iche” meaning heart or spirit in Mayan. This is a beautiful concept, that each wrap is woven from the heart or spirit of the artisans. While not registered as Fair Trade, Kush Textiles does describe their company as ethically sourced handwovens using cruelty free, plant based sustainable materials and compensation in the spirit of fair trade with aspirations for certification in 2016. A portion of the sales are used to fund schools as well as a not-for-profit organization, Para Adelante, a scholarship program for higher education.
Duchess is a 100% cotton handwoven wrap woven with a broken twill weave. Tonally matched colors of magenta, pale pink, light purple, and violet. Turquoise pinstriping accents the shift between color blocks on a pale blue weft. Duchess features hemmed rails and tapers and measures heavy as 364gsm. The heavier feel of the wrap leaves you in no doubt of the support, twill weaves are known for high durability and support. As with all Kush wraps, the middle marker is an embroidered symbol for the womb in the Mayan language. Embroidered in the same turquoise accent seen in the pinstriping.
Duchess has made her rounds in several babywearing families as a tester before making her way to us. When the wrap arrived it was pliable and floppy, well worn in. There is very little stretch to Duchess along the diagonal making smooth passes a little more difficult. Although heavier in weight the wrap was comparatively thin, indicating a higher thread count in the warp with a relatively thinner yarn. This allows Duchess to have a thinner feel but a heavier weight and increased support. The colors are vibrant, giving a bright spring or summer feel.
What we like about Duchess
This is definitely a working wrap. There was never any worry of getting a pull in the tightly woven warp. With almost no stretch to this wrap it is very solid, no sagging or give at all. I found the wrap supportive enough for wrapping two toddlers but a little hard on the shoulders. There is almost no cushion to the wrap allowing it to easily apply pressure on the shoulders in spread or sandwiched positions. With an overtightened top rail in hip carries the wrap actually digs a bit. To compensate for this it was easier to allow a little extra slack in the top rail in all carries. The wrap has so little stretch that this was perfectly safe and made wearing it easier on the shoulders. High back carries were a breeze, once up the tension was easily kept and the grip in Duchess allowed tension to hold without great pressure.
Double Hammock Freshwater Finish
Duchess has more grip than glide. From my experience with her, I found almost no glide or stretch. This did make getting smooth cross passes very difficult, almost a fight. The benefit is that the wrap pleats beautifully, giving a very nice accent to a sandwiched shoulder or spread Poppins finish. Because the grip is so significant, I would recommend having a moderate amount of babywearing experience. It takes a bit of work to get the cross passes high, torso passes smooth, and all while not overtightening your carry.
I enjoy wearing my shoulders spread, it is usually too much pressure in sandwiched shoulders for my comfort. The shoulders in Duchess actually felt better as pleated shoulders and added an aesthetic finish to the shoulders. As with most handwovens, the knots in Duchess were very large. While not difficult to tie, the knots needed careful attention to make sure they were tight. I did tie knots but as with any wrap, I did prefer a ring finish to keep things tight and allow strand by strand tightening while maintaining tension.
I would love to compare a few of the other weaves from Kush Textiles so see the evolution of the designs and weaves. Duchess is a wonderfully supportive wrap for bigger babies but would be difficult to wear for a newborn or smaller babies. I would say this is a very toddler worthy wrap, supportive of heavier weight even in single layer carries.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.