Wrapee: Beatrice, 15mo and a petite 18lbs.
Points of comparison: I’ve tried Linen, Linen/cc, merino, silks (geo, lace and KFDT,) AQ, Puck, AQ ikat, Merino stockinette and Merino droplets, so quite a few! Other brands: Ali Dover, Hubertine Au Soleil, Sling Studio –various cotton feathers, Kindred Cotton/Tencel blend.
Personal preferences: I like thicker, soft wraps with a good amount of stretch
As the triple Quad blend release is upon us it seemed like a good time to do my first review – of the original Quad blend stockinette, St Elmo’s fire. A few testers have done the rounds but I don’t recall any recent or in depth reviews and as this is a HAS wrap on looks, I thought those who haven’t had chance to try it may be interested in the WQ.
First up, I always try to reserve statements of being DISO anything, unless I’m sure, because how sure can you be until you have felt it, wrapped with it and seen how it looks? In the case of St Elmo, it wasn’t love at first sight – I felt the shimmer was a bit too shimmery for me, but like everything WW it grew on me. By the time I had chance to try it out (at the EBWC,) I knew it was beautiful and the colours were perfectly ‘me’. It was a dream to wrap with (in a CCC,) reminding me of merino - soft, mouldable, cosy and cushy, yet thinner than most and I immediately became DISO. Winning the draw was a dream come true!
When Elmo arrived he was stiff. Not like a board, but like paper, kind of crunchy. I wasn’t put off as I have had wraps from loom state before and the difference post wash is amazing. Off he went to the bath, soaked, towel dried and out into the garden (in the shade I hasten to add!) to dry. Once dry, the difference was, well, not that different at all. I’m putting the crunch down to the linen element and because of the delicate blend you can’t do any of the things you would normally do to break it in. Steam and tumbling are both out. Ironing felt very cursory and useless as due to the necessary low heat setting, it didn’t make a dent in the creasing or crunchiness. At that point it most definitely wasn’t love but I didn’t worry as I’ve helped break in many a wrap that I’ve been fortunate to holiday and with each up you can feel a difference, even with thicker wraps like the laces. We are lucky that we carry often and I think carrying is the best way to break a wrap in, so we got on with the task at hand. I’m not going to lie here, it’s been a slow road, in fact when we packed for our recent holiday I really wasn’t sure I should take Elmo at all. I wasn’t enjoying wrapping with him and the crunch was still there. Through all this time however I reminded myself just how good that tester felt in Bristol, that I just needed to persevere. I forced myself to pack him knowing 2 weeks of carrying would make a huge difference… and it has!
So what does it feel like? Initially it was quite scratchy and flat, - not itchy, just slightly rough, but that is softening up now and the cotton/wool is plumping up slowly. It’s medium-thin in hand, not as thin as a silk geo but similar to the original linen blends in thickness. The stockinettes have tons of grip, so the pattern balances out the naturally smooth, erring towards slippy blend, but there is (I think,) a huge amount of stretch in this wrap and blend. You will find a significant amount of give in that L pull when doing a DH or when pulling the cross at the back of a FWCC; you truly can get a bandage tight chest pass but the tightening has to be done properly or you will find gappy bits that feel like they have sagged or slipped. When that has happened it has in fact been down to my own sloppy tightening rather than true sagging or a deficiency of the wrap or blend. Feed the passes and rails through to tighten properly and this will feel glorious. Rock solid (- thank you silk,) soft on the shoulders and not bulky.
We have worn this wrap in every way from a ruck with dazzling tails, to an every day double hammock to my favourite Charlie’s Cross Carry with a ring finish – you’ll need a medium ring for this one. We wore it in Boston at the beginning of the month in 82 degree heat and didn’t feel any warmer than we would have done anyway, and in cooler Autumn weather back home. Bea has napped in it for long periods and for 7 out of the 11 days of holiday we used it ALL day, for long walks the length and breadth of Manhattan. We prefer front cuddles for napping and Elmo rocks a FWCC. I find it’s the multi layered back carries where the tightening has to be more precise – he will wrap himself initially but time will expose your flaws; Note I said yours, not his. wink emoticon It’s made me a much more precise wrapper though and forced me not to rush a wrap job or settle for a sloppy one for speed.
We are still, even after all the above wearing, not there in terms of breaking in, but we are far enough along to see that the end is in sight; that floppy, soft tester I wrapped with at the EBWC shall be mine, and this DISO is all the sweeter for the effort it has taken. Now rather than reaching for it to break it in, I’m reaching for it just every day. It’s my go-to long wrap, glamorous enough to feel dressed up but dark enough to have the tails dragged when wrapping on the subway, in the park, at the museum or in the airport. We haven’t noticed any tendency towards pulls either.
In summary, you already knew this was a stunning design with shimmer to swoon over, but it’s surprised me in becoming a bit of a workhorse too. In never fails me in terms of comfort, even when my wrap job is exposed as less than perfect. It’s got the mouldability for a squish, the softness once broken in and the solid grippiness you need for a bigger baby or toddler. I can’t speak for very big babes or toddlers as Bea is pretty tiny for her age, but she’s a champion leg straightener and leaner and once tightened she’s never escaped, despite her best efforts trying. Spoonbill was my forever summer wrap and Elmo is now my ‘if I could only have one’, never ever leaving, permastash, made-for-me, winter wrap. You won’t regret entering the draw or investing in this, but if you do get lucky, stick with it, the rewards are worth the effort!
Please note, I wasn't asked to review this, *feels nervous* but I love reading reviews so though you might like to read one. I'd love to hear how someone finds it in a shorty too. The photos also were not taken with a review in mind, just from our recent holidays, in which Elmo was a star player.
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