Firespiral Tarn Moorland Starmap - FLASH REVIEW!
Tarn Moorland Starmap from Firespiral Slings is 50% combed cotton & 50% Merino lambswool. It’s 330 GSM which puts it in the ‘very thick’ category, although it’s important to remember that this is actually a measurement of weight, rather than thickness. Tarn Moorland & it’s sister wrap Tarn Calliso (same blend, weight and design) are woven using Firespiral’s Elements Weave which is tighter, denser & makes for supportive wraps with good grip and a clearly defined pattern. Tarn is therefore a lot thinner than an Alchemy Weave wrap of the same weight would be.
Firespiral is one of the biggest wrap brands in the UK, with a reputation for producing super soft wraps that are easy to use and suitable from birth to toddlerhood and beyond. Founded by two babywearing mothers, they design their own jacquard woven wraps in-house, inspired by nature, science and their own imaginations.Firespiral use small, local producers and suppliers of quality yarns and have a strong focus on ecological and ethical production.
Firespiral offer free shipping to the UK, and international shipping is just £8 per order. Each wrap comes with a tote bag and pin badge, along with instructions for safe use.
I was instantly drawn to the subtle, moody colours of Tarn Moorland. So much so in fact that I emailed the lovely Firespiral ladies as soon as I saw the teaser pics, begging to test one! Anyone who knows me & my usual taste in colours may be surprised to hear this as I usually claim to dislike mustard yellow with a passion otherwise reserved only for Brussels sprouts! There’s something about the way that the variegated yellow Moorland warp interplays with the mid-blue Tarn weft though. It creates a stunningly beautiful understated foggy aqua colour precisely resembling mountain lakes I’ve dived in, which of course explains the name. The Moorland yellow shines through like golden sun reflecting on water. I wasn’t disappointed when it arrived and continue to gaze lovingly at it!
The colours look amazing on the stunning double-faced Starmap design, which is shown off crisply by the Elements weave.
The Wrapping Qualities
Frankly, had they said it was woven out of lead, I’d have still wanted to try Tarn. I was however more than a little nervous about the combination of the tighter Elements weave, the heavy 330 GSM weight and the 50% Merino wool blend. It had ‘beast’ written all over it and, having been spoiled by Firespiral Alchemy weave, I’ve become a bit lazy about wraps that need any real amount of breaking in!
I’ll be honest and say that when it arrived, my concerns deepened. The wrap had already been used by another tester but, had I not known better, I would’ve thought it was in loom state. The woolly Tarn face felt rough and quite unlike any Fispi I’ve felt before. There was quite a bit of wool itch too, and it was fairly stiff. There was no doubt that Tarn was going to need a bit of serious effort to get it softened up, but it wasn’t all bad news. There were also some clear indications of its future character. This was by no means a rigid piece of cloth, and a good amount of diagonal stretch was already evident. The cotton Moorland face also already had that silky softness you’d expect from a Fispi.
I bunged it straight in the machine on two consecutive wool cycles and left it to dry. This had a significant effect, with the wool already softening to the touch. I braided it, then spread it out over the seat of the sofa (insert climbing frame / wrestling ring / trampoline / car racetrack) for some toddler treatment. Tarn certainly got a bit more of that than I bargained for when said toddler threw up all over it, so it got another two machine washes to get that out, followed by an iron. I would’ve put it in the freezer to tackle that wool itch but there’s no room just now so I’ve put Hubs on notice to eat space in a drawer!
A couple of days of this training regime had Tarn sufficiently softened up for me to feel ready to start wrapping with it. Frankly, by this point Tarn needed to prove he had more to offer this relationship than looks alone! Oh my goodness did he not disappoint!
Tarn is beautifully strong, supportive and cushy. It’s a grade A ‘toddler & beyond’ wrap that you’d be able to hike up Ben Nevis with, carrying your heavy wrappee in absolute comfort. I was expecting a bit of a fight to get it wrapped, but it was actually really easy to throw either my giant almost 3 year old or my almost 1 year old into a secure ruck tied Tibetan. I was surprised in fact that I seemed to achieve a decent wrap job with less tightening & fiddling around than I usually do. Certainly, it’s very forgiving of a less than perfect wrap job, and is also an excellent weapon against leaners & squirmers of all ages! I chose a knotless finish however as Tarn was still putting up a bit of a fight where knots were concerned, and recommend sizing up as it wraps short due to the thickness (I was testing a 5 but it wrapped like a 4). Tarn’s fab in a base -2 and it’d also make a fabulous shorty, but may feel a little bit much in multi-layer base size carries. I think it has the potential to be a great ring sling too, although it’ll need more breaking in before you can get it through the rings without getting cramp in your hand! Tarn is snug, beautifully grippy and won’t slip or sag an inch.
Tarn is surprisingly easy care. It survived being used as a car racetrack and other toddler abuse without sustaining a pull, and is easy to machine wash on the cold wool cycle. It dried overnight and didn’t really need an iron before use (I did as part of the softening up process).
Tarn is never going to be an ideal squish wrap, but it’s most definitely going to be an utterly awesome, supportive stunner for a larger wrappee. It’s quite unlike any Firespiral I’ve ever tried before, so you need to adjust your expectations slightly in terms of breaking in requirements. It will need a few months of general use to soften it up but, from the progress it’s made in the short time it’s been here, I’m quite sure it’s going to be worth every minute!
Tarn Moorland and Tarn Callisto Starmap will be released on 8th February and available to buy from the Firespiral Slings website. I recommend following them on Facebook for all their news and details of upcoming releases.