I was first made aware of Crafty Little Slings (CLS) when the opportunity to test a carrier cropped up in the Sling Libraries groups. I’m always excited to try out new carriers & get to know the work of converters I’ve not tried before! CLS offer a variety of styles of carriers including ring slings & mei tai as well as full & half buckle carriers, all made from woven wraps & cotton fabric.
The travelling carrier is a simple full-buckle carrier, quite similar in style to a Connecta, it is quite unstructured with no padded waistband & lightly padded straps. It is made from Girasol Dark Rainbow combined with organic wrap fabric in an emerald colour which is a really lovely combination & the emerald colour of the straps really brings out the weft colour of the wrap. It is a size 2 carrier which is designed to last from around 4 months to 3yrs. It would retail at roughly £85.
The sizing of the carrier was the first thing I noticed. To last from 4 months to 3 years is quite a big age range & families are often looking for carriers which will be suited to more then one of their children or will last a good length of time before it is grown out of by the child. It almost appeared like a baby carrier in terms of its width but a toddler carrier in terms of its height. The idea is that the height of the panel can be reduced by rolling the carrier at the waist. One limitation I found was that I wouldn’t have been able to shorten the carrier any further or the buckle on the side of the carrier would have dug into G’s leg which may prove problematic with a smaller child (G was 16months or so when we had the carrier here). The only other issue with the size of the carrier would be in respect of the width of the carrier. For a younger child it is often possible to cinch the carrier, however an older child may not be fully knee to knee in the carrier. That being said, this article by Rosie of Sheffield Sling Surgery talks more about carriers beyond knee to knee & how those which are not perfectly knee to knee are not always necessarily grown out of just yet, there are all sorts of things to consider.
There are all sorts of little details about this carrier that I really like, such as the chest belt. It isn’t your typical one made from webbing & a buckle, it is made from a section of woven wrap fabric & a pair of small sling rings. It is quite attractive, I love how it looks & I was definitely curious as to how it would feel when I used the sling. The straps feature a zig-zig line of stitching to help keep the padding even which looks great &, where you often see box stitching on carriers to reinforce stress point such as where straps & webbing are inserted into the body, the stitching is done in a spiral which is another unusual touch I really like.
Both myself & Rob tried the carrier & it fitted both of us quite well. We found it easy to get comfortable for both front & back carries. The straps are simple to adjust & the webbing didn’t twist in the buckles at all as the straps were tightened. When I had the straps crossed for a front carry they stayed put without riding up into my neck, which really helped with the comfort when carrying, helping the weight to be spread across my back rather than being felt through my neck & shoulders. I also found it quite easy to get G nice & high on my back. I used the chest belt with the rings slightly off-centre & almost resting on the strap. It was quite comfortable having a slightly wider chest belt & it didn’t feel like it distorted the straps at all. The only issue Rob had, was with the webbing running right through the bottom of the carrier. He found, on occasion, that it seemed to bunch up as the waist was rolled to shorten the body panel & he was simply aware of it rather than it being particularly uncomfortable.
All in all, we really liked this carrier. We loved the well thought out colour combinations, the chest belt, the subtle stitching details & especially how comfortable the carrier was! If you are interested in owning one of these lovely carriers for yourself, your best bet is to visit the CLS website or facebook page & get in touch with them to discuss your options.