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March 27, 2011

Wool time!

Because I don't know very much about wool I asked around and found a wonderful Mama who was more than willing to help not only me but all you wonderful readers as well! Sabrina Radke offered to write up a great post for us AND was able to get some giveaways! Here is her article on wool:

When I first started cloth diapering I jumped in head first and researched and tried everything I could get my hands on including wool. I met lots of ladies that had been cloth diapering for years that hadn’t even considered wool because it was ‘overwhelming’ and ‘hard’. I think anything new can be overwhelming at first especially when there is a right and wrong way to do things and several steps involved, however wool doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating and you may even find it to be your favorite thing and a new obsession to add to your cloth diapering adventure.
First thing to know is there are different ways wool is made into covers. Either by knitting/crochet out of wool yarn, interlock which is cut from yardage (think of fabric stores material) and sewn like clothing or upcycled out of sweaters that are cut and sew into covers. I prefer upcycled for a few reasons, number one you get use out of unused sweaters which usually means affordability and second the possibilities of colors and designs are endless.

There are several different types of covers you might come across when trying to choose wool, first is the soaker which is a cover that looks kind of like underwear, typically a pull on cover that is sized. Next would be shorties and longies which are exactly how they sound, shorts and pants both sized typically. For the little ladies skirties are a choice which usually has a soaker under a skirt that is attached and again sized. Lastly you may come across a one sized snap cover which is my favorite for overnight use for a couple of reasons being I am a one sized type of gal mostly and since we have a super heavy wetting little guy the adjustability of a snap closure cover with rise snaps helps when we need to add absorbency or bulk and not have to stretch our covers out of shape. Pictures of all covers are at the bottom of this post courtesy of CCbaby.
wool skirtie

This leads me to a few facts about wool-it is SUPER absorbent. Obviously you need to have a great diaper underneath however when properly lanolized (don’t worry I will get to that!) wool is very absorbent (I always ask for my wool to have an extra wet zone area sewn in for extra coverage). Wool is naturally anti bacterial; when urine mixes with the wool fiber it turns into salt water (the process is called salinization-thanks to Vilate from Nifty Nappy for explaining this on her website!) which is why when your covers are wet you can simply air dry and reuse several times only having to wash once every couple of weeks. Wool is also very breathable, it is literally like having a sweater on your baby’s tush and air flows right through so less rash and redness which is why we use wool EVERY night, no more red blotchy spots from not enough air flow for hours on end.
wool soaker

How many covers you have really depends on your use, if you only use it overnight you might only want a few covers so you can rotate them and have one on hand if another is drying from the wash/lanolize process or if you want to use during the day as well maybe you want a couple of pairs of longies and shorties for use in summer and winter as outfit bottoms. Currently my guy sleeps through the night and then takes a long nap in the morning so we use 2 covers a day and I have a bit of an addiction (just like cloth diapers!) so we have quite a little wool collection. There are lots of wool brands out there and lots of price ranges, just like cloth diapers and I have tried several of them and read mixed reviews on them as well. In my experience with cloth diapers and wool covers the most expensive isn’t always the best so you have to try and see what works for you and your baby but I would recommend trying affordable first, if you find you don’t like wool at all or don’t like the brand you first tried at least you aren’t out a ton of money. Janna is the brilliant creator behind CCbaby on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ccbabycrafts) and Hyenacart (http://hyenacart.com/ccbaby/) is very affordable with Facebook sales and prices as low as $10 to start. Janna taught me almost everything I know about wool and has a plethora of information on her page about different types of wool, care and use of coves and offers a great referral program and frequent buyer program. She also outlines how to measure your baby for sized covers so not only is everything custom and low cost but a perfect fit.
wool longies

I had my first batch of wool covers for over a month before I washed and lanolized them because I was so sure I would mess up that I just kept putting it off. When I finally did it I realized that the hardest part was the long wait for them to dry. Dry time will obviously be longer on your thicker wool items. I simply lay my covers on my bar stools to dry and flip them over every few hours and they dry within a day or so. Some people lay their covers on top of their dryer (interlock can actually be washed and dried in your machine) however I don’t want to risk shrinkage so I don’t put them on my dryer. Another thing to avoid while drying your covers is hanging, this will stretch your covers out, and dangling wet isn’t good.
wool snap cover

To wash your wool covers you need a few things that you might already have; Eucalan delicate wash, Lansinoh brand lanolin (yes the kind you use for breastfeeding!) and I use a small glass jar with a lid-mine is actually an old bouillon cube jar.

1. Simply fill up your clean sink with luke warm water (hot water will shrink your wool and it is very difficult to un-shrink wool) and a cap full of your Eucalan and soak for as little as 15 minutes or as long as you like. I usually soak for an hour or so but you can’t soak for too long so if you forget about them and come back a day later no worries.
2. Once you drain the sink and gently squeeze out the excess water, don’t wring just squeeze.
3. Next take your little glass jar and squeeze about an inch of your Lansinoh into it with a little water and a drop or two of Eucalan. I then heat it in the microwave for maybe 40 seconds just long enough for the lanolin to melt. Screw on your lid and remove from the microwave-IT WILL BE HOT so I use a towel and shake up the jar to mix the ingredients.
4. Then fill up your sink again with warm water and mix in your jar solution and let soak for a few hours. I soak overnight.
5. Once you drain your sink squeeze out excess water just like before then roll up in a clean towel to get more water out and lay flat to dry. You wool will feel tacky or sticky which is fine and it will not hurt your diapers.

Lansinoh can be found in several local stores across the nation and one lucky Cloth Diaper Addiction reader will win some! Please be sure to like Lansinoh USA on Facebook and thank them for the giveaway!


JLJMommy said...

Entered, Thank you!

Sarah Schulz said...

I entered, thanks!

Abbi said...

I have been wanting to try wool for a long time but had no clue about it or how you wash it. I am so glad I found this post!! Thank you!

Amanda :: Grace & Gusto said...

Fantastic post! I'm considering wool but was feeling overwhelmed by it. This spells it out so clearly, now I can't wait to get started. Thank you!

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