This is our second foray into the wraps of Ethos Babywearing. This time we have a handwoven visitor with a unique and environmentally sustainable fiber. We continue to be impressed by the amount of heart the owner Whitney Olsen puts into her company’s practices. Conscientious of the environment and the wearer, the communities served by Ethos are uplifted through their continued focus on something larger than themselves.
Phoebe is a handwoven series of wraps from Ethos Babywearing featuring innovative fibers and two weave styles. We had the pleasure of testing both the twill and plain weave in the natural color. The basic natural color of Phoebe is available as seen in the images in this post or in a beautiful series of colors. The natural or “Natty” Phoebe is the unbleached wrap from hand spun yarn, handwoven on looms in Nepal. Variations are noted throughout the wrap that is a quality of the yarn and weaving process. This means no two Phoebe wraps will appear the same. Wraps featuring colors are hand dyed allowing for a truly unique wrap as the colors of the hand dyed yarns vary in the depth and richness of color. As with any handwoven each wrap may display weaver’s knots, and nubs that arise from the natural state of the yarn. Hand spun yarn features more variability than machine spun yarn having a looser twist within the fibers producing sections that may be a touch thicker than other sections. These features are purely cosmetic and do not affect the wearing of the wrap.
Phoebe is a handspun cotton warp with a banana fiber weft. The wrap measures 27 inches wide, perfect for securing a deep seat and full coverage of baby’s back. As a handwoven the Phoebe series is sold by the measured length rather than size. The edges are neat, unhemmed selvages and tapered tails.
What we like about Phoebe Natural
Phoebe is incredibly soft from first wear. The combination of two soft fibers comes together to form an easily pliable and moldable wrap. This allows the wrap to spread easily around the wearer and baby for secure carries. Combined with diagonal stretch the wrapping qualities are stellar producing smooth passes and neat carries. There is an understated elegance to the wrap. The simplicity of the general appearance of the wrap adds to the beauty. Phoebe could easily be a dressy wrap for a special occasion or an everyday wrap. While wearing Natty wraps can have you anxious about the condition of your tails in a parking lot, I found Phoebe cleans well without retention of stains without special treatments or attention above normal care for a delicate fiber wrap.
Phoebe measures in as a heavy wrap at 390 grams per square meter. Wraps within this class are usually to be feared with thick knots impossible to tie and heavy weight yarn. Phoebe is the opposite of this. Pliable and moldable to the carry, we found that heavy in hand did not equate to a beastly wrapping experience. In fact it was a lightweight, airy wrap reminiscent of a soft cotton blend. The grip on the wrap was significant, with almost a velcro like grip where the wrap folded back upon itself. This made tightening passes work but secure once the tightening was complete. The ability to get a single layer carry completed with pillowy soft shoulders was an excellent making a two wrap tandem easy to wear with the two different weaves of Phoebe.
I admit to needing to research the properties of banana fiber yarns prior to wearing Phoebe. It was exciting to get a new fiber but there was very little information in the literature regarding the fiber. The textiles journals were more forthcoming on the processing and care instructions. What I found is that the banana fiber is a sustainable yarn hand spun from the processed sections of banana tree trunk. The outer sections of the tree trunk, already peeling away from the base are treated with water solutions and manipulated until the long fibers are released form the bark. The resulting fiber is silk-like in weight and strength but softer than cotton. The banana fiber yarns are processed by Nepalese women and some cultures within Japan. The Ethos Phoebe wrap is handwoven in Nepal meaning a single community processes, spins, dyes, and weaves the wrap.
A two wrap tandem using the two weaves of Phoebe was cushy and comfortable. The overlapping of the front wrap in the Front Cross Carry with Ruck straps would have been a difficult carry. The two wraps felt like pressure on the shoulders rather than the burden of 58 pounds, We enjoyed our time with the Phoebe weaves finding that we preferred the twill weave pattern and wrapping qualities over the plain weave. We are excited to try a Phoebe in the variety of hand dyed colors in the future.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.