"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baby Stuff Brag Post #3: Ivy's Soakers

Crunchy Mom Confession:

I have a cloth diaper fetish.

I love cloth diapers.  Love, love, love.  I hate disposable diapers.  Every time I give birth and sleep on a chux pad my hatred only increases.  Ugh!  So hot and sweaty and plastic-y.  I'd much rather use a plain cotton towel, and I'm pretty sure plain cotton is more comfy for a baby's bum than plastic and polymer gel diapers, too.

Deeper in crunch land... you can avoid even putting poly or vinyl covers over your cloth diapers by using wool covers (generally referred to as wool soakers) instead.  Just like our great-grandmas did, before the invention of polyester fabrics.  Wool is super-soft, if you pick the right wool, and water-resistant (but not water- PROOF), so it works just the same way as those plastic-y covers.  As a bonus, if you make your own wool soakers, they will cost you almost nothing. 

Wool sweaters for sewn wool soakers can be found for $1 at thrift shops.  If you find wool sweaters with holes, you can get the store to give them to you for a quarter or so.  I got a pumpkin cashmere sweater for free that way.  MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm, cashmere.  If you knit or crochet, the cost of your cover will be determined by the price of your yarn.  You can find soft wool yarn pretty inexpensively, but if you buy fancy yarn, your covers can get pricey quickly.  I use Cascade 220, 100purewool, or Lion's Fisherman (the latter is not super-soft, but the more often you wash and lanolinize it, the softer it gets).

For sewn soakers, I use the Sweet Baby Soaker Pattern by Wired Up Designs.  There are many free patterns online, but the Sweet Baby pattern is really the best, and I've tried 'em all!  My favorite is a double layer cashmere soaker.  You need 2 layers for cashmere; 1 will not be enough.  Cashmere doesn't shrink or felt and is machine washable.  My next favorite is rib-knit merino.  Also hard to shrink, but it will felt.  Depending on the thickness, sometimes 1 layer is sufficient.  Rib knit will stretch a ton, too, as baby grows.

Here are some of Ivy's sewn soakers:
four cashmere and two lambswool stripe

Lots of these were handed down from John Paul and Rose.  Wool lasts forever.

two cashmere and a lambswool stripe

If you use the Sweet Baby pattern, you don't need anything but sz small and medium, unless you expect a 6 lb baby or your babies get enornously fat.  (No, she isn't paying me for this review!)  Don't forget to make pants from your leftover sweater sleeves:

Google for a trillion tutorials for these sleeve-pants
You can't handle the cuteness:

My favorite knit soaker pattern is The Curly Purly Soaker Pattern.  Knits up quickly, and requires no bulky waist drawstring to stay on.  This is major, as many knitted soakers fit poorly under regular clothes due to the waist drawstring issue.  It's free, too!  (Donations accepted.) 

Curly Purlys:
four in hand-dyed Lion's Fisherman and a 100purewool merino

On the needles:

Another awesome knit pattern is for a wrap-style soaker.  Also free,  Warm Heart Woolies' Plain Wrap is the only diaper cover my husband has ever requested more of.  It's fantastic.  Particularly nice for newborn frog legs that are tricky to maneuver into soaker leg holes.

A couple of Ivy's wraps:

both in hand-dyed Lion's Fisherman
Need to make more of these!

I realize my wool stash makes me look like I have no life outside of wool-crafting, but do remember that some of these woolies have been handed down through 3 little people, and all 4 of these patterns are fast to make.  The sewn soakers and pants take less than 1/2 hour each after you get to know the patterns, and the knit patterns are also very quick and easy, as far as knitting goes.

And guess what?  All the covers photographed on this page cost less than $20 in materials (plus the pattern) to make!

I won't go in to cleaning and care of wool diaper covers only because there are 7 million other blog posts out there on how to do it, so happy Google-ing.

"What is a home without children?  Quiet." 
~Henny Youngman


  1. You, my friend, are the wooly-cover bomb. xo

    1. Have another baby, Jessica, and I'll make you a dozen....

  2. Hi, I love the soakers. I would love to hear more about how you dye the fishermans wool - what dye do you use and how do you get the multicolor effect?