Monday, February 15, 2010

Lookie What I Made!

Yes, I really made them.

And there was even enough to make a hat!

I use cloth diapers on the wee one. If you're not familiar with modern cloth diapers, that statement probably surprises you, but really its pretty easy, and fun, and makes me feel like I'm doing something good for her and sortof for the environment. Would be good for my pocketbook, except they're so darn cute ... Keep reading this blog and you will learn lots about cloth diapering. I warn you, it's totally addictive.

One of the things that I have learned in my foray into the world of modern cloth diapering is ... wool makes great diaper covers.

Sweet Seats, $50

Here I must digress into my first cloth diapering lesson. Modern cloth diapers are usually made of a "diaper" component, which is some sort of absorbent material, and a "cover" component, which is some sort of waterproof or water resistant material. The simplest cloth diapering system is a prefold diaper (the square diaper that is thicker in the middle - what you normally think of as a "cloth diaper") in a wrap-style cover that fastens in the front with velcro-style tabs. However, there are a multitude of options. You can also buy fitted diapers to go in the wrap covers. Fitted diapers have some elastic around the legs to help keep the poo in, and often have fasteners to help keep them on. If you're just hanging out with the babe at home you can let them run around in a fitted diaper which are very breathable without the cover.

We use fitted diapers alot, with the wrap-style covers. (Ahem, THIRSTIES are our cover of choice.) However, I noticed on the cloth diapering discussion board that I frequent, that lots of mamas use wool as diaper covers.

Wool itself comes in various forms as diaper covers, which can be the subject of another day's post as well. What I became interested in were the wool pants, shorts, and skirts, called "longies", "shorties", or "skirties" respectively. Collectively these are called "woolies". They are knit or crocheted with wool yarn into these items, and then lanolized, or treated with lanolin. Wool is itself fairly water resistant because of the naturally occurring lanolin. However, processes like dying, and washing of the garment, strips the wool of natural lanolin. You can treat the wool with lanolin to "lanolize" it, and restore the moisture resistance, and then use the garment with cloth diapers. The wetness of the cloth diaper may make the inside of the garment slightly damp, depending on how heavy a wetter your babe is, and how often you change the diaper, but the wetness doesn't get to the outside of garment or on their other clothes, and therefore the longies can be worn without needing a waterproof diaper cover.

Molly's Bottoms, $70

Since it is a natural fiber, and is often knit or crocheted with a fairly open weave, wool is very breathable. I know from my camping days, wool is one of the only fibers that keeps its insulating properties while wet, so that's why folks tend to wear it in winter, but it is also breathable and appropriate, in the right garments, in other seasons as well.

Molly's Bottoms, $80

I spent quite a long time reading about other mamas being "addicted" to wool without understanding it. Sure, some of the little pants were pretty cute, and I loved the little skirties. But some of the prices! The average price for a pair of new hand-knit longies is around $50. If you buy yarn and have it done for you it might be slightly cheaper if you can find a good deal on yarn and are only looking for newborn or small size.

The Cat's Meow, $40

I bought a pair used on FSOT (for sale or trade, a section on the cloth diapering discussion board where you can buy and sell gently - or not-so-gently - used diapers). For $8 which was a great deal. They fit the wee one perfectly, so we began our experiment with wool.

I was absolutely hooked from day one. In addition to being cute little knit pants, they do work as a diaper cover. Since I don't use pins on prefolds, they work better with fitteds for us. And we got so many compliments.

I bought some yarn and tried my hand at crocheting some from a tutorial I found online. Keeping in mind that I only crocheted once before, in 7th grade, to make a pencil holder, my first attempt was ok. I call them "wonky longies" because they were, well, wonky.

I did more research on the internet, adjusted some key steps accordingly, and tried another pair.

Which turned out MUCH better, if I do say so myself! Wee One wore these to her first Valentine's party at daycare. Everyone loved them, and I was so proud to say that I had made them for her myself.

If you love them, I have YYMH (your yarn my hook) spots available to make you a custom pair. Send me an email if you are interested. You will need to shop for yummy yarn (I have ideas if you need some) - crochet takes a little more yarn than knit, so plan accordingly. The longies pictured here took about 5 ounces of yarn, maybe a little more. You will need to measure your little one, the price is set based on finished size.

They are cute and adorable even if you don't use cloth diapers. You will get tons of compliments and your wee one will stay warm for the rest of the season.

(All photos that are not my work are from items currently listed for sale on HyenaCart and are hyperlinked directly to the listing. Shown as examples only.)

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