A few months ago, Elizabeth shot and edited this video of me showing how to tie a sailor’s knot in a twin sheet and adjust it so it could be used as a baby sling. The sheet is folded in half the long, skinny way, not the short, fat way.
Please kindly overlook the fact that I hold forth on the virtues of using a sheet as a sling; I’m not always that … um … EXCITED. Also, please kindly understand that I happened to turn away from the camera just as I was saying “fussy baby;” the audio of that statement isn’t very clear and some have thought I might have said something else. OK, you may watch now.
A sailor’s knot works well with Bara Barn knot shawls and short German Style Woven wraparound slings, all of which are manufactured for use as baby slings and tend to be “grippy” so as to hold a knot well. This technique also works well with other things, including some Mexican rebozos, some bed sheets, and some shawls such as you might find for sale in a department store. Before using a sailor’s knot to turn a shawl into an adjustable baby sling, however, you must make sure that the knot will “lock” when tightened, so that it doesn’t slip during use. (For example, pashmina wool shawls are usually much too slippery to hold a sailor’s knot.) Dimensions of shawls vary. For length, I prefer at least 7 feet and no more than 9 feet; for width, I prefer about 30 inches, but a little narrow or wider works, too.
A variation on the technique that I don’t show in the video, but I really like, is to fold the shawl/rebozo/folded sheet in half lengthwise, drape it around in preparation for tying, unfold it just on my shoulder, then tie the sailor’s knot. That way, there is a pouch-style fold where the baby sits, but the shoulder is not folded and can be adjusted as shown in the video.
For the sailor’s knot and many other shawl/rebozo techniques, we owe much to Elly, who kindly published her excellent Rebozo Instructions on the web and spurred a rebozo revolution among babywearers.