The Heart in Kith & Kin

Paper dolls are about family. They invoke not only our immediate family, but also our chosen family of babywearers in this vast passionate community of critical thinking people.  Kith & Kin evolved, as so many of our projects do, out of a craft started with our children. We cut snowflakes, fold origami, and rediscover connecting families in paper.  As we played, I remembered one of my oldest and most valued friends, Cynthia Director, and her textile design degree project honoring our often painful childhoods as little girls. Her work was about being two dimensional, about love, about solitude, and about holding someone's hand.  She strung long lengths of dolls together; she made lonely girls waiting for dresses with their folded paper flaps; she made sense of growing up.

Paper dolls come from an innocent place, I think for a lot of us they conjure up memories of the past. Kith & Kin celebrates our present, where we are now with our families, babywearing, undefined, all holding hands through our journey together.  

The paper doll pattern is one directional to help aid in the learning of new carries, or just to assist with old favorites.

Kith and Kin will debut during national Heart Month in February of 2015. All proceeds from the sale of Kith & Kin will be donated to The Children's Heart Foundation.  

 

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Lobsters: A Love Story

“So, have you guys ever considered using wool, silk, hemp, more linen, angora, cashmere, mohair, Tencel® (rayon), milk fiber (rayon), bamboo (rayon), soy (rayon)?"

This is perhaps the one question we are asked on an almost daily basis and the answer to it is well, yes, we have considered and tested all of those fibers and then some. 

However, we have been having a long and torrid love affair with cotton. We love cotton. We know cotton.  We consider our innovative weave structures developed by Bethanne at The Oriole Mill sophisticated, surprising, and complex.  We enjoy changing the wrapping properties of a textile based on the manipulation of weave structure and density; we consider this a challenging test when done consistently in cotton.

Although we love cotton, we also have a great interest in other fibers. Our due diligence is fairly involved and lengthy and if a fiber passes that stage, it moves into research and development, which is also a long stage. We tend to take our time and mull things over and although there is a constant push in fashion to push the edge and stay relevant, we prefer to be slow and deliberate when it comes to decisions concerning our children. We want to know where our fibers are sourced, we want to know their history, we want them to offer unique and relevant wearing qualities, we want them to croon to us songs of their youth. We want our fibers to seduce us.  We want to stay as natural as possible. We want our customer to be able to trust that when she selects a Pavo to wrap the most precious thing on Earth, she knows it is safe both in integrity and design. 

We have been looking at various woolens for the past two years and nothing was quite right; it either wasn’t strong enough to hold together well during the weaving process, wasn’t soft enough, or we were not able to fully follow the supply chain to our liking. The process was slow and frustrating, but we persevered and finally found wool that met our requirements. An order went in and I left Erin to do her magic. And this happened: 

There is so much I could say about Lobsters, but really he needs no introduction. I mean, look! 

But I suppose a little context might be of use. Lobsters came into creation around the same time as Ama, Aquaria and Sea Star. Every design has its place within a larger story and while Aquaria and Sea Star are lovely companions to Ama, the family was not yet complete. Enter Lobster. 

Go big or go home, right? We wanted lobsters on our wrap. A fitting and proud nod to Pavo East. We needed to go big because if we did not, what really was the point? Lobsters needed to be the perfect funky, weird foil to our beloved Ama. Lobster went through a number of iterations (including a sad shrimpish phase) and he was finally ready for the loom at the same time as our red wool. What better combination than Lobsters and red wool? Right? It is the perfect pairing. As Erin mentioned, "Nothing says winter in New England like red wooly lobsters." 

We spend so much time with our wraps, it is second nature for them to take on their own personalities and their own stories. They function within their own space.  Whenever I see Ama and her crew, I see a band of crazy, loud beatniks on the cusp of great change. I see a group of friends driving from Greenwich Village to as far west as they are able to go and finally coming to rest in North Beach, thousands of miles from home, but still right where they want to be. For me, Lobsters is that group's Kerouac. Wild-eyed, full of crazy movement and space, bristly, edgy, and absolutely perfect. Yep, Lobsters is definitely that. 


A Love Story: Klee

Where do we start with Klee? 

Klee has been with us from the very beginning. It was one of the first swatches we looked at and pondered when we visited The Oriole Mill for the first time after explaining to Bethanne what we were interesting in developing with Oriole for Pavo. I can remember rubbing the fabric between my fingers and interrupting Erin's conversation with Bethanne to remark on how unique the fiber felt. Erin, who is always patient when it comes to explaining the intracies of  fiber to me, stopped her conversation and took the sample from my hands and pondered it for a fair amount of time. Too heavy. Not the right type of rainbow. Too much time to develop. Too expensive.  And I knew she was right. Of course, we went on to release Parterre, but that's a whole different story.  I look back on that conversation and laugh now. She should have just said no. I had wasted the previous hour drooling over a wall of sparkly, glittery lurex threads and fibers and Erin explained to me why Lurex was not an option over and over again, we had vowed to stay with natural fibers no matter how sexy synthetic temptation can be.  In hindsight, I can laugh over this memory. At the time, I was devastated that glitter would not be a staple fiber in the Pavo library. Actually, I wasn't all that sad. We had already committed to natural fibers, but there's something about glittery sparkles that makes the 7 year old in me giddy with delight.  Maybe I will convince her yet.  

Bethanne Knudson, designer of Klee and owner of The Oriole Mill, shows off her creation for the Pavo gals.

Bethanne Knudson, designer of Klee and owner of The Oriole Mill, shows off her creation for the Pavo gals.

But back to the story: Klee fell to the cutting room floor, metaphorically speaking.  And it stayed there for quite some time. Over a year after we first saw the Klee sample, it resurfaced. Erin suggested that perhaps we should revisit it because, well, it had grown on her. This is classic Pavo: One of us falls in love with a sample and the other person is typically not excited about it. Then the dance begins. We go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth until we finally hit upon a consensus. And so it was with Klee. But then the samples arrived and we were both on the fence, but neither one of us wanted to give Klee the proverbial axe, so we sent the samples out to various testers with no expectations or desires. 

When the positive reviews came in, we were a bit taken aback. Klee was too thick, too dense, and yet people seemed to be so smitten with the girl.  Despite the positive response, it went back to the cutting room floor because ultimately it was too cost prohibitive to produce. And there it sat for a couple of months while Erin and I did the dance. Back and forth. Back and forth. Should we take the risk? Will it be too expensive? Will it be to thick? What if it's better than we think? Will we regret taking the risk?  It's such a familiar and comforting routine—I often think we do this because it just feels so fulfilling and perfect. It never gets old. 

Of course, you all well know the end of this story. We decided to run Klee. We both cringed at the cost of running it, we both have stayed up nights second guessing our decision to run Klee, we have texted furiously at 3 am reassuring each other this was the right thing to do. It is fitting that Klee will be our anniversary wrap. Everything about Klee represents Pavo; it's not just the aesthetics or the attention to fiber and weave structure, but the interplay between color and fiber captures the harmony and dialogue that are the foundation of Pavo. Klee is the Pavo Dance embodied. 


Unicornio Otomi

Winter has just begun, but we are busy with spring and summer here in the studio.

Bright colors, playful motifs, and a dash of sunshine!

We are excited to present our new website which will be exclusively Pavo Form and will debut with the launch of Unicornio, our personalized Otomi inspired pattern, in March

Sparkleberry Celebration

The release of Sparkleberry marks the anniversary of one of the first wraps we considered a possibility among our many trials and errors, Garden Nuptial. It was thick, luxurious, and cozy, but ultimately prohibitively expensive and too much of a departure from the norm for a debut release (of course, we choose to launch with something even weirder—Parterre, but anyway) . . .  

Jennifer has been using our Garden Nuptial sample almost everyday for a year, she even brought it with her on our retreat last month to snuggle with in front of the fire and it has softened to the most irresistible  piece of cloth imaginable.  It is still thick of course, but it is no longer so heavy and unwieldily. It is cushy, supportive, unique, and has maintained its sheen through a year of washing, wearing, and unnecessary roughness.

Based on several other reviews of Garden Nuptial we decided we should offer a very small selection of similarly constructed wraps under Pavo Guild.  Sparkleberry will only appeal to a limited number of babywearers and the price is still high, requiring us to limit the run accordingly. 

We will follow the release with a draw for a full set of Sparkleberries on our Facebook page in order to continue the fun!

As always with Guild, these wraps would not be possible without the genius of Bethanne Knudson and the entire crew at The Oriole Mill and Sew Co.  Our unending thanks!  

 

Birds of a Feather

When we sat down to formulate our business plan for Pavo Textiles, one of our initial goals was to locate a reliable mill in the United States working with natural fibers and a transparent manufacturing process. If we did not find the right mill for our venture Pavo would remain an intangible concept.  File under: Dreams

Our intent was to find a mill in the United States, but we cast our net wide, looking at mills from all over the world in order to compare price, skill, sourcing, and technique.  The more time we invested in our search, the more it became clear to us that we absolutely needed to find a mill domestically. The number of textile mills in the United States had been quickly dwindling and when those mills closed, decades of knowledge and expertise were quietly being lost to the dust of history.  From 1997 to 2010, over 1200 textiles mills closed, with most weaving equipment in those mills being shipped overseas to be used in mills producing cheap textiles, destined for import to the United States. Between 2004 and 2009, almost forty percent of the jobs in the textile industry were lost with such jobs being outsourced to cheaper labor in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, and China.

We were firm in our conviction to produce American-made textiles and we renewed our search with gusto.  Our initial efforts were disappointing; there were a limited number of mills who could produce to the quality and specifications we required and those that were able to do so were decidedly wary of working with an unknown entity, which is what Pavo was at the time.

In our search one mill we heard about over and over again was The Oriole Mill; they came highly recommended by our contacts in the industry, and were spoken of with a hushed, reverent awe.

The Oriole Mill was founded in 2006 by Stephan Michelson and Bethanne Knudson as the textile industry in the United States was quickly transitioning production to cheaper overseas facilities and leaving laid-off workers and deserted towns in its wake. While other mills were closing their doors, Oriole was setting up shop.  To say that this was a bold, risky, daring move is most certainly an understatement.  In the face of a flagging industry focused on cheap disposable goods The Oriole Mill is deeply committed to weaving high quality textiles made with the finest natural fibers and have made a reputation for being innovative, independent, and luxurious.  Their ideology embodied everything we wanted to be able to say and do with our textiles.  Oriole seemed like a natural fit for Pavo since we shared many of the same convictions:  the desire to create heirloom quality products, fair wages, the use of natural fiber, superior design, unsurpassed technical skill, and a deep and abiding commitment to high quality American made products.  We wanted in.  

For us, it was a match made in heaven. So we called. We emailed. We called again. It took months before anyone at The Oriole Mill would even talk to us. In hindsight, it is not surprising; they are a small artisan mill with exclusive clientele and they offer a unique service no longer found in the States and we were a buzzing fly with an unknown end product.

 

Penumbra Matelassé baby blanket

In a textile industry that’s ninety percent gone, what’s the other ten percent doing? There’s not a lot of quality goods being made. The other part of that ten percent is the high-quality industry. That’s where we come in.
— Stephan Michelson

By the time we met Bethanne and Stephan they had taken on rock-star status, but were even more impressive in person.  Bethanne is a passionate artist and educator. She has the energy of a lightening bolt in both body and mind. She is a masterful technician and designs the cloth from the fiber to the loom, taking into consideration the innate structure of the fabric and what it can support.  Bethanne reminds us of Michelangelo, who was able to see the form of the figure within the stone before the first cut.

Our relationship began with reworking Oriole's English Sonnet design to suit the desired (and required) characteristics of a woven wrap, and, at Bethanne's suggestion, developing Penumbra as a parallel release to create the beginnings of two distinct  collections for Pavo Textiles: En Plein Air and Effets de Soir.  

After ten months of working with The Oriole Mill we are thrilled to announce our exclusive partnership and co-branding under the label 

Pavo Guild

named for our mutual desire to thrive while producing luscious textiles in a constantly shifting market and to also capture the synchronicity of the birds in both our brand names.  The Oriole Mill produces home furnishings that complement Pavo Textiles’s collections, and Pavo Textiles will work with The Oriole Mill to extend our product line and continue our commitment to producing strong, safe, beautiful woven baby wraps.  We plan to innovate and overlap as much as possible, incorporating our collective designs with the traits appropriate to woven wraps to bring you the finest textiles made in the United States.  

Pavo Guild will distinguish itself from Pavo Form in that it will be made from the finest most luxurious fiber on the market, and will be woven exclusively under the partnership of The Oriole Mill.   

In addition to The Oriole Mill we are also deeply indebted to Libby O'Bryan of the adjacent Sew Co, who is responsible for our fine finishing and the development of our final product. She spent hours of her life aligning the border of Parterre, and adjusted our raw size chart to allow for little to no waste in the cutting room.  She asked all the right questions and had all the right answers as we fumbled through the explanation and demonstration of our woven wraps.  The combined forces of The Oriole Mill and Sew Co listened intently as we explained our product—its need to be weight bearing, what safety standards it must pass, how it should feel to parent and baby—and they are continuing to listen and innovate as we grow in our relationship. 

The most sustainable is that which need not be replaced.
— Bethanne Knudson

Pavo Textiles is incredibly lucky and infinitely grateful to be working with both The Oriole Mill and Sew Co. as we begin our exclusive collaboration into woven wraps and beyond.

Form and Substance

Authentic, simple, elegant, luxurious.

These are the principles that inform the Pavo aesthetic. Working with several different mills and designers over the last year we have seen our concepts evolve and divide.  While all are true to the spirit of Pavo Textiles, we saw a need to introduce a new narrative; one that will live alongside our original artisanal line.

We wanted to offer wraps that would be playful and fun: the type of wrap you take to an afternoon at the beach or on a relaxed early evening walk to the park. We wanted these wraps to be the ones that your littles reached for first when making a wrap fort or for swinging in a hammock.  We wanted them to be reliable, lighthearted, classic, and effortless. A storyline to encourage spontaneity in your routine. 

The colours of love

The colours of love

With our carefully coloured stripes and fanciful hearts,  we have put together the beginning of a collection that will define our new line: Pavo Form. Woven with natural fibers, a brighter palette, and conversational motifs, the textiles in this collection have a more casual look and feel, with the same craftsmanship you have grown to expect from us.  Pavo Form is a relaxed and playful Pavo. It is the perfect exemplification of the form and substance that drive Pavo Textiles.  

And, as always, made in the United States.  

Pavo Form will complement Pavo Textile's artisanal line, the soon to be re-branded Pavo Guild, and will be making its debut near the end of August 2013

Stripes in Form

Stripes in Form

Inspired by Otomi

Inspired by Otomi

Natural Otomi samples

And Otomi Unicornio in work. Shhhhh . . .

And Otomi Unicornio in work. Shhhhh . . .

Zebra 100% cotton

Zebra may not just be my favorite Pavo wrap, it may be my favorite wrap ever. It starts off smooth, soft, and slinky, and washes up to reveal texture and full body.  Zebra is 100% cotton (long staple Egyptian and American), mercerized for strength and sheen, and was woven in just three colourways for us: Magenta, Chocolate, and Granite.  Zebra has a silvery frosty appearance, like the grass at dawn or a sage leaf, because of the way the warp subdues the fill.  

Zebra is soft enough for newborns, both newborn babies and a newborn wrappers.

The pattern is a classic and ubiquitous zebra skin in a small repeat and we have included a subtle teaching rail to aid you in any new wrapping territory you may be experimenting with.  

We are thrilled to be able to offer you Zebra in Magenta and Chocolate and hope you appreciate it as much as we do!  We are developing two other animal skins, but Zebra in Magenta and Chocolate remain just a sample run while we hear your feedback.  

 

Cobalt 100% cotton

Our third round of samples arrived this week and we are both elated!  

These wraps are on a lighter-weight warp than Garden Nuptial and therefore are a bit less cumbersome to wrap with. The density is quite high though, making this 100% cotton wrap extremely supportive. 

The Cobalt colourway we are calling Co 27 for the atomic element, it is the silvery blue of long winter shadows on snow.  Cobalt blue was always one of six colours I had in my limited palette when I was studying painting, it has such purity and mixes very clean. Old Holland Cobalt Blue is packed with pigment, the tube is weighty in hand, like a stone from the seashore.  

I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints
— Joni Mitchell
As the sky and the snow and the morning shadows.

As the sky and the snow and the morning shadows.

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This is Co 27 after a hot wash and dry, we like to imagine worst case scenarios with our samples.

This is Co 27 after a hot wash and dry, we like to imagine worst case scenarios with our samples.

Quickly ironed after the washing embossing incident.

Quickly ironed after the washing embossing incident.

Procresco 100% cotton jacquard woven wrap

In November we sent out samples for critique to some well respected and experienced babywearers, we were so happy to have a wrap worthy of review and couldn't wait for their feedback.  We knew we liked it, that is why we released it into the wilds, but we needed to hear something more than our own excitement ringing in our ears.

For us Procresco embodies the spirit of Pavo, it is woven in a small improbable mill run by passionate owners who believe in superior quality, integrity and a fair wage above all else.  Procresco is made from materials sourced, spun, and woven in the United States, making it fiber forward and unique in the babywrap market. It is even finished close to the mill making its fiber-miles, as we call them, tiny in comparison to say textiles in the apparel industry which travel the globe in various stages of production.  In loom-state it is soft and supple in hand, with no goop or residue from production since slashing is not necessary with the type of fiber used and the attention given to the tension at the creel for the warp.  

I will let my better half, J$, talk to you about the design and the concept behind Procresco, she is the scholar, the writer, and the funny one to boot.  For now, the testers speak.

xo, Erin

Larissa's review

Gorgeous true black threads and silvery white ones make this wrap striking out of the box. The pattern has a lovely amount of grip without being overly so, due to the fiber choice and the distribution of the design against the background. In hand, the wrap is silky-fluffy soft; medium thickness, not at all overwhelming, with a lovely cush and drape that carry over to being worn.

My initial thought when wrapping my 4.5 month old was that it was unlike any other woven wrap I have tried. It bears similarities to wraps made by other manufacturers, of course, but it is uniquely itself--uniquely Pavo. It wraps lightly and yet maintained cush without being dense. It is supremely comfortable. It has just that touch of bounce that acts as a shock absorber while wearing, yet it did not sag. It is exquisitely beautiful and soft, well suited to beginners and experts alike. If this is but a preview of what Pavo has to offer, we in the baby wearing world are in for a marvelous treat!

We still aren't back wrapping much so I didn't get to really test it that way, unfortunately. She's currently 14-15 pound so not a really heavy subject, but I get the sense that it would be comfortable for me with a bigger kid. It fits my wrapping aesthetic nicely, though graphically it isn't a pattern I normally gravitate toward. The tactile quality of the threads and the density are just lovely. 

Jilliane's review

I want to start by saying I am so eternally grateful that you have given me this opportunity to see, touch, try and yes, fall in love with this beautiful piece of art. You told me earlier about the "Fiber Forward" aspect of this wrap and let me just tell you, it's amazing, the shine, it just glistens in any type of light and the contrast helps this. The softness of it is beyond wonderful for a brand new wrap, there is no break in process and if there is, it will be very minimum with these fibers. The thickness is dead, spot on, not overly thick where its un-managable and not super thin where it will not be a great wrap for all ages. The texture is also perfect, enough for it to grip and hold your carries.

Let me tell you about what and how we have worn this beauty so far.  A quick trip up to cuddle in a Ruck TT. It felt soft and wrapped great for that short amount of time. Let's move forward to Saturday one of our crazy days, we went to a craft show at a local high school and walked around for about two hours where E rested nicely and also fell asleep in a Double Hammock. The wrapping qualities of this fits great with its look. It has the perfect amount of stretch to it but no sagging. It is thick and dense which makes it great for carrying a toddler (E is three-years-old and around 35 pounds) and yes he did feel weightless in the two hours that he was up there. The cush of it felt amazing on my shoulders and there was no digging either.

After the craft show we went for a walk through the park to enjoy some of the fall's sights, sounds, and smells.  Again, we were there for about two-and-a-half hours with E up most of the time for our walk, then a quick stop at the play ground until E fell in the mud and we had to call it a day. This time I did a Back Wrap Cross Carry with Ruck straps. No digging, no sagging, no re-adjusting needed, it was secure and very comfortable. I am very pleased with this wrap and yes if given the chance I would certainly purchase it for either E or an upcoming squishy. 

Jilliane, VBE

 

In the middle

Our charming middle markers have arrived for approval, the next step is to send them out to the mill to be added to the wraps.  Little things like this cement our identity and allow us to see the big picture with more clarity.  I hold one between my fingers like a good luck charm.

We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.
— Robert Frost
Pavo Middle Markers

Pavo Middle Markers

R&D

It is true the one of the best things about textiles is the diversity in woven fabrics, from sheer gauze to heavy brocade, and as our deeply knowledgeable mill owner was telling us, that even when all things are equal—same warp, same weft, same input on the loom, the humidity and temperature in the room can alter the piece of cloth.  Nothing is ever the same twice.  

Heavyweight testing

Heavyweight testing

Right now we are working with our mill to develop wraps that perform with the traits we most value, a certain drape, a range of usable weights, moldablity, strength, and ease of use.  It is one of the most difficult parts of the business, but it can also be the most fun.  

Here is an example of my camera shy five-year-old catching a ride in a recent prototype, for example.  From here we will give feedback to the mill and make minor changes until we feel it is ready for critique from a larger audience.   I hope you enjoy some insight into the process!

xo, Erin