It was my birthday last week, and there was only one answer when my partner asked what I would like as a gift from him and D. Another sling, of course.
I’d come across Cwtch baby slings when I was searching for a ring sling earlier in the year. The folksy shop featured pure wool ring slings, hand made in Wales. The slings looked stunning but I must admit the wool frightened me a bit.
I’d seen posters on the sling forums telling horror stories of accidentally felted wraps, or pilling and shrinking from regular wear. I’ve killed more than one cashmere cardie in my time. Could I be trusted with something as expensive and delicate as a woolly sling?
In the end I chose a different ring sling, but the loveliness of the Cwtch slings stayed in my mind. I’ve been reading up on the history of babywearing in Wales, seeking out photos of people in times gone by, cwtching up their babies Welsh-fashion.
I love Firespirals, not only for their extraordinary wrapping qualities, but the ethical, local provenance of their slings. The idea of owning a sling both woven and sewn in Wales really appealed to me. I decided to contact Laura, the lady behind Cwtch baby slings, to find out more about the textiles she uses.
She very kindly sent me a sample of her latest woven material. She’d branched out into wraps as well as ring slings and the fabric she sent me could be sewn into a full wrap if I wished. It wasn’t what I expected – it was light, airy, and had a slight stretch. The colours, a rainbow of shades, were calmed and warmed by an earthy dark brown warp. I was astonished at how reasonably priced they were too – starting at £45 for a size 2. I placed my order for a size three that morning.
Laura sewed the sling and posted it to me within a week, but I had to hand the parcel to Al once it arrived, so he could give it to me on my birthday. It was hard knowing there was a new sling in the house and not being able to get my hands on it.
I open the wrap over breakfast and marvelled at how light it was. Laura had finished it with pointed tapers justified to the centre of the wrap rather than at an angle. I popped D up in a quick ruck. I usually avoid rucks as my daughter is extremely wriggly and a very determined seat popper. The first thing I noticed about this wrap is how strong and grippy it is. Once D’s seat was tucked in and tied off, she was simply unable to push her way out of it. The grippiness also meant it was incredibly supportive. My 18lb toddler simply felt weightless. I’ve would never have thought such a thin wrap could distribute weight so well, with no hint of digginess at all.
We spent my birthday down the Gower, walking one of Wales’ most stunning beaches. I carried D in a mixed pass back carry with candy cane chest belt. The size 3 was just long enough to tie off with no tails hanging down. Although it was a sunny day the wind was fresh, and the wool kept us both cosy without needing a jumper. Out in the September sun the beautiful colours of the wool really stood out.
The climb down to Rhossili is long and steep, and the beach is 3 miles long so we did plenty of walking that afternoon. D continued to feel weightless in the wrap, although I had to pop her up and down so she could collect shells, grub in the sand and practice her walking between cuddles with me. The wrap folds down really small when not in use, so I could easily pop it in my handbag.
In the week since this sling has become my go-to wrap for rucks. It is by far the most supportive and grippy shortie I own. In fact, it has completely cured me of my woolly worries. I am even starting to wonder about the wrapping qualities of things other than sheep’s wool. Alpaca maybe? Baby camel?
You can buy Cwtch Baby Slings via her Folksy site