Product Reviews — morning glory

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Jay McMillan Review: Size 7 Cotton 0

Review by Modern Babywearing

A few months back, I saw a Morning Glory v.1 woven wrap pop up on my Instagram fee, and was immediately curious about this unique machine woven wrap that so closely resembled a handwoven in appearance. I reached out to Apple Blossom Wovens to learn more about them and their wraps, and was lucky to stumble upon a really awesome new American brand. They initially sent me 3 different wraps to review, an Heirloom v.1, an Heirloom with Tencel, and finally a Morning Glory v.1 – the same one I had seen a photo of. I am happy to review the Morning Glory prototype – which was truly a gorgeous piece of textile.

I received a Size 7 (5.2 meters) Morning Glory v.1 with a natural weft. Right out of the box I was enamored by the softness of the yarn. They are using Maurice Brassard yarn currently, which is sourced from Canada – though they are in the process of trying to switch over to a yarn that is produced in the U.S. The gradient weave was reminiscent of many popular handwoven brands, with that same point twill structure we are used to seeing. Weighing in at 280 g/m^2, this wrap is most definitely in the thick category. Despite its thickness, it is a really loose weave – making it breathable and airy for even hot weather wrapping. It wrapped pretty true to size, I was able to do all carries I would normally do in this length, without having to ‘size up’ due to thickness.

Our first carry in Morning Glory was (surprisingly) a Front Wrap Cross Carry. I almost never use this carry with my 31 lb 3.5 year old anymore – but I was trying to finish up a conference call… and my Dragon Baby was not cooperating. I wrapped her up and was able to comfortably wear her for the better part of an hour. The wrap was so soft and so cozy, it was perfect for bedtime cuddles. My daughter remarked that it was “softer than her blanket”. It had great support for a toddler in this multi-pass carry!

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Double Hammock shows off the gradient nicely.

Next time we wore it was in a Double Hammock. This wrap really shines in this carry! The multiple passes give you excellent support, and you can’t beat that chest pass for showing off the gradient. The smoothness of the yarn makes those cross-passes slide effortlessly, the diagonal stretch allows you to get a really snug fit – even with a giant toddler. I did not have to do any wrestling to get these passes in place, and they stayed nicely once tied off. After a half hour hiking around the farm, I experienced no movement from the wrap. More importantly, we were both very comfortable by the end of that excursion.

I tried it another time in an ruck tied Tibetan, but I liked it a lot less in this carry. Here the diagonal stretch that I loved in the multi-pass carries, led to a bit of sagging in this single-pass carry. That is not to say that it would not be great with a smaller baby… but I needed a little bit more recovery with my 3.5 year old. I can see this being great as a Rebozo with a small baby though! I would not discount it all together as a shorty wrap – I just personally found it to be a great fit for my bigger wearee in a multi-pass carry. 

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Knot Shot with a leggy 3 year old in Morning Glory v.1

These wraps are 100% cotton, easy to care for. The wrapping qualities make it a solid choice for a new or seasoned babywearer. Although thick, it was not bulky and I don’t feel like it would overwhelm a smaller baby. Overall, what I found most appealing about these wraps was that you could obtain the same beautiful look and wrapping qualities of a more expensive handwoven wrap – at a machine woven price point. A Size 6 will run you about $180 which places it in the mid-range category. This is actually one of the original aims of the company – to make this style of woven wrap accessible to those wrappers who may not be able to afford the highly sought after handwovens.

Lisa & Emmy
Lisa and her daughter in a wrap she wove herself

Apple Blossom Wovens was started by Lisa Carter about a year ago. She was inspired by the beauty of the handwoven scene, but found that her financial situation would not allow her to afford many of these pieces of woven art. Lisa knew that if she was in that situation, there must be other caregivers who also appreciated the beauty of these wovens, but were unable to commit to the price points associated with the market. Having had an interest in handcrafts and textiles for most of her life, she happily began to research looms and different weaving styles to try and find a way to make this style of gradient wrap more accessible. Lisa sought out a local weaver’s guild in Ohio, and learned to weave her own woven wrap. She quickly realized that the time and effort put into hand weaving was what contributed to the pricing, and decided that there must be a way to accomplish this same look with a power loom. Her search led her to a family owned mill in Pennsylvania, where a father and son team was weaving textiles on this 90 year old Vintage Draper Dobby Loom. These weavers have over 100 years weaving experience between them, and were able to work with Lisa to create the type of gradient weave she had been imagining. And so, Apple Blossom Wovens was born.

Apple Blossom Wovens is a husband and wife team. While Lisa is responsible for the designs and the brand marketing, her husband helps with accounting, and puts his art degree to good use consulting on color design and theory alongside Lisa. It is a far cry from the Mathematics Degree Lisa had started out towards, but having this business allows her to work from home and spend time with her children – something she feels lucky to be able to do. Her passion for supporting the American textile industry keeps her working only with small weavers based in the United States, and her products have been finished by a local seamstress. Her newest batch of ring slings will be finished by Going Uppy, another work at home mom that she is thrilled to support. 

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Heirloom v.1 prototype

I mentioned they are sourcing the yarn from Canada, which is in part because the only U.S. producer they can find has a minimum order of about 5 times the amount they actually needs for a 100 yard production run. They were previously using a yarn sourced locally – this was what the Heirloom v.1 tester I had the opportunity to try was woven with. Lisa described it as being “rough and hard to break in”, though I think she is being really diplomatic. It was pretty sand-papery and had no give to it. When I received it, I mentioned I was going to wash it… and was shocked to hear it had already been washed and worn! I am happy that they have moved on from that source, it was pretty unwearable. As the production runs start to increase, they aim to start sourcing the yarn here in the states.

The liability involved in manufacturing baby carriers makes securing funding via bank loans and private investors a real hurdle to get over. Lisa found this out first hand, and ultimately borrowed from her family’s savings account to fund the initial investment that started Apple Blossom Wovens. Since then, every production run is financed by the profits from the previous run – meaning that production quantities are increasing… but gradually. A standard 100 yard run returns about 17 wraps and 2 ring slings. This seems like a very limited quantity to us as consumers, but only because we are not accustomed to manufacturers actually communicating the amount of wraps they are releasing. These numbers are quite standard across the industry, with many smaller mills having a standard minimum order of 100 yards.

Loom
View of the Vintage Loom in progress

Lisa’s an avid babywearer herself. She wore everything from a Baby Bjorn after the birth of her first daughter in 2008, to her first wrap – a Girasol No. 22, which she eventually sold to finance a Didymos Ornament. When she set out to create Apple Blossom Wovens, she wanted to create a beautiful but accessible brand that thrifty families like her own could justify splurging on. These wraps are one of a kind. None of them will be re-woven ever… making them collectible pieces of art. For Lisa, this fits into the philosophy of wanting to make wraps for frugal families. With the saturation of the woven wrap market currently, it is important to her that families investing in her product will be able to retain the value of the carrier in the resale market –  a market that was a big part of her personal wearing journey.

When asked about her influences, Lisa said: “I can’t say that one particular company has influenced me, but rather the industry as a whole; it’s an industry almost exclusively run by strong, entrepreneurial women, with the same family responsibilities as I have. That has been so encouraging to me, when I start to get overwhelmed with juggling family and work responsibilities.”

I completely agree. Her story, and the stories of so many other women in this industry have been a huge inspiration to me. It has been a real pleasure to work with Apple Blossom Wovens on this piece, and to be a part of their journey. I am so excited for their next release! Keep an eye out on their website or Facebook Page for upcoming pre-orders – this is definitely a brand to watch out for.

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Apple Blossom Wovens Morning Glory v.1 with my 3.5 year old toddler
 

Shannon Forsyth Review: Size 7 Cotton 0

Review by Reality of Wrapping

So, I will start out by saying a lot of reviews that I have seen for this wrap compare it to handwovens, I haven't had a handwoven yet so I can't comment on how similar they are.  I can, however, compare it to a large variety of machine wovens!

I was lucky enough to temp trade for a beautiful Apple Blossom Wovens Morning Glory with grey weft. At a size 7, this wrap was MUCH longer than I typically work with as my base is a 5 though sometimes I work with 6s.  I was still able to try it out in all my usual carries, just with tails that go for DAYS, when I tried ruck tied tibetan knotless I still had tails to my ankles.  Worth noting, I hear they run long and this 7 measures at 5.57m STIH so I am inclined to agree.

When I first opened the package what struck me was how crazy thin the wrap was. It isn't as thin as some Didymos Indios that I have used, but I guess I was expecting something beefier than what came.  The wrap is impressively floppy and has a beautiful drape.  I found Morning Glory to have a good amount of stretch but not saggy, even in ruck with a 25 pound toddler.

I used Morning Glory for an hour-ish long walk in FWCC, without the passes spread, to see how it did and it held up really well.  I didn't figure on it holding up so well given how thin it feels but I had no ache in my shoulders or back and there wasn't even a smidge of dig anywhere, I found it very cushy though I hadn't expected it to be so.
It feels unlike most (machine) wovens I have used.  It is nothing like the feel of Pavo, Didymos, or Tekhni.  Out of the wraps that I have tried (which is quite a few) it feels most similar to Tiny Tiger American Beauty, though I found AB to have much more sag and not as nice a drape...plus Morning Glory is so much prettier!

The glide on Morning Glory is fantastic and it holds into place once you you are done. It makes an effortless chestpass as well, being extremely ace bandage-y. This was, perhaps, my favorite quality of this wrap. Those that know me, know I love Indio chestpasses, Morning Glory has taken my top spot for chestpasses, sorry Indio.

See? Perfection with ease. Even pre-coffee ;-)

I do feel like this wrap would pull pretty easily, though admittedly I have been babying this one in that regard since it isn't mine ;-) That said, it is very airy and I feel like it would be a great choice even in hot weather.  I have seen some mention that it seems narrow to them but I didn't find that to be an issue for me, granted I have been primarily using Woven Wings geos lately which are extremely narrow.

Width comparison with Woven Wings Hunca Munca

This wrap is absolutely squish worthy and holds up well with heavier kids.  I am not sure I would pick this as a shorty with a bigger baby but it would still rock an RRRR if you needed/wanted it to. This is absolutely a beginner friendly wrap but seasoned wrappers would love it as well.

 

Leila Wright Review: Size 7 Cotton 0

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I hosted a morning glory size 6 grey weft. The first thing I thought was "Wow, so soft!" The drape was incredible and it was very moldable. So easy to wrap with. I would definitely recommend it for a new wrapper! There wasn't much grip, so the passes easily glided in place. There is a good amount of stretch and it is an airy weave. Due to these wrapping qualities, I would prefer this in a longer base size. These wraps feel exactly like some handwovens I have tried. The 6 wrapped more like a size 7 so I had lost of fun playing around with multilayer carries. Morning glory would work really well with little babies and lighter toddlers, but it also held up pretty good with my chunky baby! I carried her for about 3 hours at a museum and it stayed put with no digging for majority of the time. I didn't have to rearrange or tighten until about the last half hour (baby girl is about 26 lbs and just turned 1 year old for reference).

All in all I was very happy with our time with morning glory. My only critique would be that I wish it was a tad thicker and more cushy. The colors are so striking and beautiful! I think morning glory will be loved by many different people with various wrapping experiences.
 

LaKeta Kemp Review: Size 7 Cotton 0

Review by Tandem Trouble

Another fantastic American based babywearing company emerged this summer forged from the heart of a babywearing mother.  Striving for perfection and quality, Apple Blossom brings handwoven quality to machine woven wraps.  The wraps are machine woven on a vintage loom using a point twill weave and Maurice Brassard yarn.  This makes for an incredibly soft wrap with the feel and wrapping qualities of a handwoven.

Morning Glory is a gradient of teal, royal blue, pink, and purple against a medium grey weft.  The wrap is woven on a vintage Dobby loom using the same 8/2 Maurice Brassard yarn as high end hand woven wraps.  Usually machine woven wraps are woven on treadle machine loom or if a complex pattern is seen, a jacquard machine loom.   The use of the Dobby loom allows more complexity than the treadle loom with more options with fewer interactions by the weaver.  Combining the unique number of weaving options with the incredible softness of Maurice Brassard yarn yields a wrap that not only looks like a handwoven but has the same light airy softness of a handwoven as well.  In my brief research I found only handweavers using Maurice Brassard yarns which puts Apple Blossom Wovens the pioneer in machine woven wraps.

Morning glory has finished tails with tapers and selvage edges for the top and bottom rails.  The selvages are very neat, and the gradient of colors allows for each rail to be a different color.  This is especially helpful to new babywearers who are still keeping track of their rails in carries like the kangaroo.  The colors were vibrant against the colors of the grey weft .

What we like about Morning Glory

When the wrap arrived and was unwrapped I was genuinely shocked.  I was expecting a machine woven wrap and in front of me was a wrap that had all the properties of a handwoven down to the selvage edges.   The softness of the wrap combined by the lightweight, airy texture was something unique to a machine woven cotton wrap.  The ladies very much enjoyed this wrap.  Drawn to the bright colors and soft texture, I found them asking to be wrapped in the house.  With independent toddlers this is a very rare occurrence.  

The wrapping qualities are what really matter when you buy a wrap.  Of course we would love for it to be beautiful as well as functional but at the end of the day I have churned beautiful wraps for lack of wrapping qualities.  Morning Glory has both form and function and more than it’s share of beauty.  The wrap arrives supple and pliable, quickly falling into a pile on itself.  This is a great characteristic in a wrap because it means you will have no trouble getting your passes spread and keeping them smooth.  A supple wrap allows you to perform multiple passes and shoulder flips without the need of a lot of extra guidance.  Passes easily mold to  the shape of you baby’s body.  When combined with grip it means a supple wrap now easily forms passes with ease and also stay put without extraordinary  tension.   This makes carries with a lot of switchbacks like the Taiwanese carry incredibly easy to do.

This can also be seen in the spread passes of Poppin’s Hip Carry and the cross passes of the Front Double Hammock.  I didn’t have to worry about adjusting the spread on the passes, they simply fell into place where they were needed.  The colors chosen for Morning Glory are a beautiful blend of purple to pink, teal to royal blue.  The selections are stunning against the light grey weft which almost helps the colors to pop off of the wrap.

 

Wrapping Qualities

I found Morning Glory to have more glide than grip.  It was smooth as it passed over itself, with grip observed more after the passes were in place.  There was a mild amount of stretch along the diagonal of the wrap requiring attention to removing the slack in a front carry and back carry.  A hip carry did require precision tightening to prevent baby from settling into the carry but was comfortable, even for longer wear.  I usually prefer spread shoulders when wearing in a back carry.  With Morning Glory I found that it didn’t really matter as both were equally comfortable.  I did find myself wearing sandwiched shoulders without intending to do so.  Rather than adding tension to an old injury to my clavicle, the sandwiched shoulders acted more as padding against the weight of my baby.

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We wore quite a few different carries and always test the wraps out with front, hip, and back carries.  Single layer carries tell more about the support of the wrap and whether or not there will be sagging sections.  The Kangaroo carry is a favorite of my baby Bella, she just likes to be as close to the mammaries as possible.  I found the Kangaroo to be supportive, the shoulder flip capped the shoulder to reinforce tension in the seat, and the cross passes made it easy to distribute the weight of a 28 pound toddler evenly.  Reinforcing the passes added an extra hint of beauty to the carry as the layers showed off more of the color grad.  The Rucksack carry was equally comfortable, single layers, tied in front and perfect for a deep seat and full coverage of baby’s back.  

Christina’s Ruckless and the Back Wrap Cross Carry were not my favorite in this wrap.  While soft and still fully supportive, the half knot at the chest did add pressure against the sternum.  This isn’t a negative reflection on the wrap, some carries are better in other wraps with different fibers.  In this case although the softness of the wrap was a superior quality, the fluffy texture made the half knot bulkier, more difficult to tighten and once in place the largeness of the half knot added pressure once the cross passes were in place.  I found comfort in the Taiwanese Carry, Double Hammock, Jordan’s, and Norweigian Wiggleproof back carries.  The moldability of this wrap really added to the performance in these back carries over a more simple and straightforward Back Wrap Cross Carry.

I am extremely excited to see the upcoming releases from Apple Blossom Wovens.  Having tested two of their wraps to date, both so divergent in their characteristics, I think there will be something to love for all woven wrap fans.  I also love that this wrap is so reminiscent of MeeYoo or Lenesha Handwovens but at a fraction of the price and all the same wrapping qualities.  The ability to wear your baby becomes more than utility.  As the dates loom nearer for compliance testing requirements to be in effect, the costs of babywearing products will also begin to rise.  This makes babywearing even less accessible for budget conscious families.  The ability to own a wrap with an eye toward quality, a focus on safety, and the wrapping qualities of a handwoven at machine woven pricing makes Apple Blossom Wovens in a whole different category of woven wrap manufacturers.

 

References:

  • Zhang, Shengcheng, et al. “Electronic dobby-and-jacquard-loom weaving machine and weaving method.” U.S. Patent No. 8,794,271. 5 Aug. 2014.
  • Rad, Payam Fathollahi, and Bashir Fotouhi. “International Journal of Engineering & Technology Sciences.” Technology 3.01 (2015): 22-31.
  • Holden, Roger N. “The Origins of the Power Loom Revisited.” The International Journal for the History of Engineering & Technology84.2 (2014): 135-159.