Guest Post by Tracy Kaestner:$90 – $250 @ yard for Handwoven Cotton Fabric! Really, it’s true! There is a trend right now that many weavers don’t know about – baby wraps. Wraps are long pieces of fabric – 3 – 6 yards long depending on how you want to wrap your baby. Handwoven wraps are usually unmercerized cotton, plain weave in gradated stripes, there are of course many variations.
Wearing babies is not new, I had a snuggli in the early 90’s to carry my kids on the front while I went about my day and we had a backpack for the kids when they got bigger and we went out as a family, hiking or for an event that required a lot of walking. Those kinds of items are still around. And of course people from other cultures have been and still are carrying their babies in sling fashion, I saw a lot of babies in batik slings on motorcycles in Indonesia!These new wraps started out as commercial fabric, just a long rectangle you could wrap around your body. The trend in handwoven wraps was started by a company called Uppymama out of Alberta, Canada. Uppymama’s wraps were so popular (and hard to come by) that babywearers started learning to weave to make their own. Another company whose wraps are popular is ETLA Threadworks, they had trouble with people buying their wraps and re-selling them so they’ve gone to an auction system. They put a note up on FB with a picture of the wrap, the length and how long the auction will last. FB followers bid and there you go, the market determines the price. A recent wrap went for $630/ $196 per yard! There are babywearing groups that meet on-line and groups that meet in person and have events while wearing their babies wrapped on the front or back of Mom or sometimes even Dad.
I learned about this trend because some of the wrap weavers went searching for higher quality yarns for their wraps. I’ve enjoyed talking to these young women and I really enjoy seeing the pretty palettes they come up with!
We’ve had discussions lately about the graying of the guild, it’s exciting to think that these young Moms are learning to weave as a way to become closer to their kids and end up with a business that helps to fund their weaving and more! And a new generation will grow up with weaving in their home, very cool!