A ring finish can be a great alternative to tying a large, bulky knot in a woven wrap. The ring acts with passive resistance, the fabric passed through the ring holding the tails in place with tension and pressure. Tension is a force acting on the wrap when it is pulled tight equally on the tails from opposite ends. This secures the wrap often tighter than a knot but without the added pressure of a large knot against your chest, shoulder, or back.
Benefits of a Ring Finish
The ring finishes flat against the wearer with the fabric spread evenly through the ring. This means that the wrap can be tightened strand by strand through the ring, all while keeping the carry secure. I recommend a ring finish when tandem wearing in a single woven wrap. The ring secures the back carry giving the baby in back an independent carry from the baby in front. Using a two or four ring finish in Jasmine’s Tandem Hip Carry allows you to have a pretied, adjustable carry where each baby is secure once tightened and independent from the other baby.
Often a carry can be completed in a wrap sized shorter than the original version finished with a double knot. For instance, a Double Hammock is generally considered a base sized carry with the double knot under baby’s bum. A Double Hammock single or double ring finish can be completed as a base -3 carry with tails to spare. Security is another great benefit of the ring finish. The ring holds the carry tight, without the wrap slipping or sliding back with baby’s every bounce. Often the amount of pressure baby places on the seat can make the carry loosen and previously unseen slack is noticed. In a ring finish you can work the slack around toward the two tails then strand by strand tighten rather than needing to untie the double knot and start again.
With a ring finish you want to always make sure to finish the ring in a location where you can monitor the placement and tension of the finish. Good locations for a ring finish include at the shoulder in place of a slipknot or tied at the shoulder double knot. Finishing in the center of the chest with a single ring finish adds dimension to the carry and allows you to visualize the ring. Finishing on a chest pass allows the chest pass to bunch across alleviating pressure along the diaphragm. Take caution in a ring finish under baby’s bum in a front carry. You cannot see the ring to make sure it is properly threaded and should the ring tension loosen from a bouncy or wriggly baby, the wearer may have to quickly react to maintain the security of the carry. I do not ever recommend finishing under baby’s bum in a back carry. In the back carry the ring cannot be monitored and finishing with a ring you cannot see may result in the wrap bunching in the ring and loosing tension. Always use the correct ring size for your carry. A ring that is too large will not hold tension and the ring will slip, loosening the carry. A ring that is too small will produce puckering, bunch the wrap within the ring, and prevent strand by strand tightening.
Selecting the Correct Ring Size
I only use tested, non-toxic, and lead free aluminum rings from Sling Rings. The rings from this particular company are an industry standard, having passed testing through the American Standards and Testing Materials International Institute (ASTM). This means that each batch of rings produced are periodically tested and weight rated to maintain a high quality standard and consistent performance. Nylon rings are also available and work best with soft, slick fabrics such as athletic mesh. The rings are available for sale in pairs of small, medium, or large. The small rings work best for finishes with thinner, narrow tails such as on a Mei Tai or Onbuhimo carrier. A medium ring is great for finishes on wraps 220 gsm or lower. The large ring is best on wraps 220 gsm and higher including the big fluffy handwoven wraps under 220 gsm. The wrap should pass through the ring and not bunch or fold on itself in the ring.
Finishing with a Ring
I will show a finish at the shoulder in place of a double knot. This is where we started:
- After determining which ring is the correct size for the wrap you are using the next step is to complete your carry. I am wearing a Double Hammock Rebozo in a Base -3 which is a size 3 for me in Bijou Wear Wildthing Valentine and a large red sling ring. The first step is to thread the chest, torso, or cross pass through the ring. It is always the “working pass that is threaded through the ring to hold tension against the stationary tail. This holds more securely and no matter the level of movement of the baby the ring will not budge.
- To hold tension and give me some working room I fold the threaded tail back over the edge of the ring and hold firmly in place while working through the next steps.
- Place the stationary pass over the top of the ring. Ideally you want this tail accordion folded to permit strand by strand tightening.
- The first tail now passes over the stationary tail and through the ring. Just start with a small section of the taper through the ring then pull from the other side to guide the remainder of the tail through the ring. I find it helpful to hold the ring in one hand while pulling the tail gently with the other hand.
- Once the tails are through take a moment to fan out the wrap in the ring, making sure the fabric is not bunched. I keep tension on the stationary tail at all times, the carry is not yet secure.
- Tighten the first tail strand by strand through the ring. While the carry is now secure, I hold the stationary tail to keep the ring in one place while tightening. Starting at the top rail gently pull across the ring and straight out, away from your body to tighten. Continue strand by strand until you get to the bottom rail. Keep in mind that just like tying a knot, overtightening the bottom rail can cause you to loose your seat.
- Now tighten the shoulder tail strand by strand starting with the inside rail which is your top tail. I sometimes find it helpful to hold the ring while pulling down through the ring.
- Sliding the ring into position at corsage height on the shoulder or along a pass is easily done. Holding the stationary tail in one hand and the ring in the other, slide the ring up into the position desired.
- Adjusting the remaining passes as needed including spreading the shoulder as needed. The carry is completely secure and all adjusting can now be done for your comfort with both hands and no need to hold tension on anything.
- That’s it! Now you’re hands free with a knotless finish. No large knot pressing on my chin or against my neck.
Getting out of a Ring Finish
Now that you are all secure and baby is hopefully asleep in a wrap nap, you have to get out of the ring finish. This is also easier and faster than untying a knot. The ring finish is all tension so releasing the tension is all you need to do.
- Release the tension from the ring by gently lifting up on the edge of the ring where the tail last passes through the ring. This can be either the bottom or the right side of the ring. I recommend the right side of the ring as it will continue to hold tension on the stationary tail giving you a moment to release the wrap from the ring.
- Next slide the stationary tail out of the ring leaving the ring looped on the other tail. You can also just start unthreading the first tail passed through the ring to leave the ring on that tail and the stationary tail free. You will want to start holding tension on both tails at this point as the carry is no longer secure.
- Tension is released and you can now begin to unthread and unwrap the carry. I tend to remove the ring and wear it as a bracelet until I can put them away.
Have some fun taking your favorite carry and securing it with a ring instead of a knot. This is also a great way to try a new carry in a shorter wrap without needing to get a new size in a longer length. If slipknots are a little difficult for you try finishing with a ring instead, you will have the ability to adjust just like in the slipknot. Prefer to work along in a video, I’ve got you covered. Below is a link to a ring finished carries playlist on our YouTube channel. If you prefer to watch it directly in YouTube click the arrow pointing right in the upper right hand corner.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.