I had unbelievable opportunity to get a wrap by our Ukrainian weaver Lenesha. One of three from mini-collection Blue Butterfly — Blue Butterfly Herringbone 100% cotton warp with white 100% cashmere weft.
Being quite experienced babywearing mam I can say it loudly — this is unique sample of hand weaving. I’ve tried lots of manufactured and hand weaved wraps, but have to admit that there were some unclosed Gestalts which bothered me. Getting one of them, very rear and wanted one, provides me extraordinary satisfaction. Lots of babywearing mams will understand me :)) But one story is to obtain wrap abroad, pining while its on the way, and the other when my own post office bring it to me next day after the payment. Here is why I love “wrap disease” — because of feelings while purchasing desired wrap. And when everything goes fast, emotions explode! First I was impressed by the bag: And then by the wrap itself. I like perfect things. Usually my eye note some micro defects, but this one is perfect! It has weight 375 g/m2, but still friable and soft, has a nice bounce and magic of home woven linen. Charmed by this miracle, I got curious, how our regular babywearing mam became quite famous weaver. I put all my courage together, prepared questions and asked Lena to answer. And here is what came up.
I am convinced that our Ukrainian mamas, and not only local babywearers too, will be interested to learn how your have started wearing.
I was first introduced to babywearing by Alyona (fatessa), she sent me a few web links to study.
Not: Alena fatessa is a very experienced BWing mama known in various groups since 2007.
What was your first wrap, if you have one that you think of affectionately? Have you been a real wrap addict?
Almost immediately I ordered two stretchy Moby wraps and was eyeing some Girasols. We did not get to play with Moby much as my son was gaining weight rather fast, and when he was nearing his eighth week we got our first Girasol of Metrominis and a Vatanai. For half a year I was enjoying Vatanai Maruyama and Girasol Chococabana. And then I discovered TBW and Didymos for myself, and the new age began.
I sure was a wrap addict; I loved Didy Indios and anything in the shade of petrol. When my second son was born I was stashified almost for a year, buying some new wraps but not feeling they are to die for. Then came the era of Oscha followed by the age of Artipoppe. And yet I cherish a very sentimental memory of my Marusya (Maruyama).
Wrap addicts often build a stash for “retirement”; have you collected anything for future generations?
I actually have a “retired babywearer’s stash” for my grandkids – as I laughingly call it. It has one wrap of each kind: a Pamir, a Didy, an Oscha, a Pavo, and an Artipoppe.
How did you get to the decision point of weaving your own wraps? How long did it take from the very start to the first test wrap?
Over three years ago, after seeing the first Uppies, I was contemplating a possibility of buying a loom to try some weaving. But then its actual delivery to Ukraine was a big question. Still at the end of last spring, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into their places inside my head, and all that was left to do was find the right loom in the right place. I got one with the smaller weaving width to try weaving scarves just as I initially planned but I never stopped looking for bigger looms. Two months went by and I found mine. In December 2013 I began weaving the first scarves on the wide loom, and in the end of January this year I made my first test wraps.
I know you have tried several looms. Which turned out most productive?
There were just two looms, the narrow one and the wider one;, the bigger has larger capability pattern-wise. But the small one will not be neglected; I plan to continue weaving scarves on it. And I keep on searching, wishing for a still wider and more powerful loom, though it must be a rare coincidence of price, quality, location and terms of delivery, yet I continue my quest.
I cannot keep from asking what you get inspired by. You mini collection called Blue Butterfly has impressed babywearers a lot!
I get inspired by everything and anything – Design Seeds pictures, talking to people, favorite color combinations, or just placing yarn cones the right way.
Do you have some assisting weavers or your warp the loom and weave yourself?
I am doing all the weaving myself from start to finish. Sure I had a lot of help at first from my fellow weavers, Natalia of Jaanoo Handwoven and Evgeniy (Elena) of Lemonlooms, at the same time gaining a lot of information from Facebook. Now I have my own technique developed, it consistently works well for me, but I keep experimenting in different areas. For instance the last batch came from the longest warp ever, resulting in six wraps.
Do you create a special working environment? Listen to some special music maybe?
While working I usually “watch” (well, listen mostly) to different TV series. Some of them I watch from beginning to the end, others part by part, but even when there are no TV series, I play some movie.
Out of all the wraps you’ve made, which one is the most special?
Of the wraps I’ve woven my favorite ones are Tenderness with silk and cashmere, Chinchilla Rainy Days, and Sri Thanu, I like them all. But the one that is destined to live in my own stash is already planned and drawn, I have even bought yarn for it, just have to fit it into my schedule.
There’s probably a material that is easier in weaving. I mean the yarn blends.
That’s right, I dearly love weaving with silk-cashmere blends and bourette silk, but my recent favorite is cottolin, and also I adore the way tussah behaves in weaving.
When the new wrap is born (well, woven), is it hard to let it go?
Yes, it can be hard to part with some wraps, some are easier and some are not, once I even asked for DIBS on a wrap I wove from its owner.
Last but not least I would like to express my admiration of your work: the wrap I own is magnificent! And I also wish you inspiration and daring to conquer the new heights.
Thank you, Lilia! I hope it makes you as happy as I get when taking my wraps off the loom!
And finally photos Blue Butterfly Herringbone in action!