Many new baby wearers can be confused by the impressive amount of terminology that comes with it. When you’re buying or selling a second-hand carrier, knowing what’s each piece of terminology means is quite important. This post will run you through the basics of some of the terms used when describing the condition of wraps and carriers- as well as telling you how serious they are.
Slubs and Nubs:
These are harmless thickenings of the thread that are very common in linen and handwoven wraps. They are part of normal wrap manufacture and not a fault. They should be disclosed, however.
Here is a picture of a slub in a linen wrap, it’s the thickening of the thread:
This is a problem in thin wraps where parts of the weave “shift” leaving thinner spaces or gaps in the wrap. This can become a problem over time. This should be disclosed. It theoretically could become a problem when carrying a heavier child in a carrier with severe shifting compromising the wrap, but this has never been a documented safety problem. However, in some wrap conversions it can become quite severe: before buying a secondhand wrap conversion OR getting one made, do some research to find out if the wrap is prone to shifting.
Here is some shifting in the wings of the dragon:
And some more in the body of the flamingo (ignore the chalk marks!):
Depending on severity, shifting can be fixed. There are two ways: the lazy slinger’s hope-and-see, and the sure-fire, “this will take work” method.
- Lazy Slingers: wash on hot, dry on hot, hope. The weave will tighten up, hopefully in the direction you want it to. Be aware you may lose some length and width in this process and not all fibres will react positively (silk will lose its sheen, don’t do this to wool!).
- Actually fix the shifting: wash on hot, tumble dry until almost dry. While damp, move the threads back into place with a pin and iron into place. Again, be aware of the fibre type when you do this.
Like slubs, these are flaws that occur during the weaving process. They do not affect the wearability of the wrap or its safety, they are a cosmetic flaw that causes the wrap to be sold as a second in most cases. They should be resold with the flaw disclosed. Many people are unconcerned by these flaws.
Here is a particularly bad flaw on a particularly expensive wrap:
And a more subtle one:
These flaws are not fixable.
These are pieces of thread that have been pulled loose from the weave. They are very common and a sign of wear. They are generally harmless, but can lengthen over time if they are caught. They can progress to broken threads if they are caught on something and pulled. They are fixable, but many baby wearers don’t worry about them. Some do. They should be disclosed when listing for sale and photographed if possible.
Here is a picture of a pulled thread:
Some wraps, especially silk wraps; and some weaves, particularly indio and waves; are very prone to this sort of pull. When listing a wrap for sale, one way to do so accurately without committing to an exact number of pulls which may be easily missed would be to say there are “several” or “5-10” or “many” pulls: whichever is accurate. This way, the buyer knows what to expect.
Another, more obvious picture of a larger pull:
Pulls are fixable. Here is a tute on how to do it.
Simply put, it’s a thread that’s broken. Here is a picture of a large pull, a couple of broken threads and some small pulls:
In terms of the safety of your baby carrier- unless you have a lot of broken threads the safety of your carrier is not compromised. Much like your jeans don’t depend on one thread to keep your modesty intact, your baby carrier doesn’t depend on one thread either! However, buyers do expect this kind of information when you’re selling a second hand wrap or carrier.
Another kind of broken thread is one which has been tied off in the weaving process: this is a normal part of hand-woven products and should not be considered unusual damage but should be disclosed.
Here’s a picture of a large portion of damage:
As you can see, though, not even a preschooler is going to cause a tear in the wrap! It’s possible to carefully weave a broken thread back in and tie it off, if you have time and patience, see the link above.
Remember when you are buying second hand products you should expect some of these things, they should be disclosed but one or two small pulls or slubs are easily missed. Be realistic about your purchase. If, however, you feel your purchase has not been accurately described, there’s a process to follow:
- Check the carrier over on arrival
- If you have concerns do not wash the carrier- this will make it impossible to determine the condition it arrived in. Photograph your concerns.
- Contact the seller and see if you can come to an amicable arrangement. For a small area of damage the seller has missed a pretty typical resolution would be a 10% refund. Alternatively, you can request a full refund and to return the carrier: generally postage costs are borne by the returning buyer in this case unless the carrier has been egregiously misrepresented (eg. described “as new” and comes to you covered in stains and with areas of damage as described in the photo above).
- If you cannot come to an amicable arrangement with the seller, contact admin who may be able to help you.
Thank you to everyone who offered photos for this article. It’s been great to be able to show a new babywearer what these terms mean!