A few weeks ago I had a series of wrapping workshops running in Aberystwyth. As usual the spaces on these workshops filled up pretty quickly. But the difference between these workshops, compared to previous ones, was that this time, I had a secret visitor available to help me out, and make sure that these workshops ran smoothly.
Bisi from Joy and Joe baby had contacted me prior to the workshops to tell me about her latest creation, a specially designed teaching wrap, created for libraries and consultants. This is something we had talked about, briefly earlier in the year, and she was very happy to let you know that their first library wrap was ready.
The idea was to send this wrap travelling around some sling libraries to raise more awareness of their new weaving quality, and was hoping that I could can kick start the library tester tour.
The design is a simple one, and is based on the smiley faces from their logo, so they have chosen to name it Happy Faces. It’s a simple and playful design that children will love, but is not busy, allowing a learner to concentrate more on wrapping technique.
The Italian cotton and mercerised cotton mix used to make this wrap, is residual from their new signature collection, meaning it is exactly the same blend as that of the fountain of love and new SMP wraps, however the weave is different, and what results is a soft, floppy wrap which easily moulds over the wrapper, and allows passes to glide without any effort.
They have tried to distinguish the top rail from the bottom rail by giving one rail a white boarder, this can be seen easily from both sides of the wrap. The contrast of the two sides makes learning to wrap much easier as it is clear when the wrap is twisted. The soft handle of the weave means that wrapping with this sling is effortless.
When teaching someone to wrap for the first time I find striped wraps invaluable. Having contrasting stripes allowed a learner to learn to tighten the wrap ‘strand by strand’. Although Happy Faces is striped, its stripes are woven from the weft, instead of the warp, this means that the stripes run vertically instead of horizontally. However the ‘Happy Faces’ themselves are arranged in horizontal strips. It was simple enough to adjust my teaching technique and to tell people to ‘tighten each happy face’ instead of ‘each colour stripe’.
I did find that this wrap really came into its own on the second day of workshops, when we were focusing on back carries. It was particularly useful for the ‘next-stage back wrapping’ workshop when our subject focus was that of multi-layer carries.
This workshop was for people who had some experience wrapping, and wanted to move on from a simple ruck, to a carry with more than one pass such as a Double Hammock Carry or a Back Wrap Cross Carry. Because the people who attended this workshop already knew their way around a woven wrap, the lack of distinct horizontal stripes was not a problem, and actually having vertical stripes was more of a benefit, as it was easy to see how symmetrical their tightening was (if the vertical stripes pulled one way or the other, or if they stayed vertical and upright).
On the whole, this wrap was a joy to use, and everyone who worked with it during the time it was with me was greatly impressed. Joy and Joe have totally reinvented their weaving techniques, and the woven wraps that they are producing now are so very different from what we have come to expect from them from past wraps. They have always been hardy, fun and beautifully made, and very popular her in the Aberystwyth Sling Library, but now they have luxury and comfort added into the mix that really sets them aside from what came before, and raises the bar just a little more for other wrap brands who want to follow in their wake.
You can find out more about this beauty over on the Joy and Joe Blog