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Wee Woollies

August 4, 2011

I’ve finished a first knitted something for our wintertime babe on the way!  Here it is:

click photo for ravelry details

Oh.My.Goodness!  I had forgotten just how wee new babies really are (even 9.6 lb ones)!  I had also forgotten just how quickly one can knit for someone so small.  These woollies took me all of three days to knit and are the start of our second baby’s cloth diaper stash.

O was cloth-diapered from birth but had a stash of mostly pocket diapers with just a half dozen prefolds or so.  As we got more and more used to using prefolds, B and I discovered that in many situations, they really are our preference.  Part of why we enjoy diapering this way is because a cotton prefold with a wool cover is a simple diapering system made of only natural materials.  Many other cloth diapering options, including the ever popular pocket diapers, are often made of synthetic materials.  I know of many families who have struggled with cloth-diapering with synthetic cloth diapers only to have gone on to have great success with prefolds and wool.  If you ask me, it’s worth a try!  Besides, prefolds are such a wonderful investment for a cloth-diapering family!  Ours have out-lasted any of our other cloth diapers, are the simplest to clean, and are comparatively very inexpensive.  We’ve never had an issue with prefolds getting funky, repelling, or wearing out.

Not to mention, when you use prefolds, you get to cover them in super cute hand-knitted woollies!  Hooray!  The woollies you see above are the Sheepy Pants pattern knitted in Malabrigo Worsted Merino.  I did not do my usual modifications for a wider leg as I thought the more narrow leg would offer a better fit for a new baby.  I knitted this particular pair in the newborn size, just in case babe is smaller than I’m expecting.  From here, I  plan to knit a few in the small size along with some soakers.  Speaking of which, any knitters out there care to share your favorite soaker pattern?


  • We purchase most of our prefolds (organic unbleached indian cotton) from Jillian’s Drawers.  We have also gotten some from Green Mountain Diapers to round our newborn stash for the babe on the way.  (Also organic unbleached indian cotton.)
  •  As far as prefold sizes, we’ve found we only really need the infant size and then the standard/large to get us from birth through potty learning.
  • For knitting woollies, I really like to use Malabrigo for newborns because it’s so soft.  For older babies, Peace Fleece Worsted makes “bullet proof” soakers.  However, not all little ones are tolerant of Peace Fleece.  (I personally LOVE it and find it to soften very nicely.)  Many knitters are, of course, fans of knitting soakers and longies with Mosaic Moon dyed yarns.  Count me among them!  So very beautiful!
  • As far as patterns, my favorite longies pattern is Sheepy Pants (paid).  For a soaker pattern, I adore the final product using the Vanilla Soaker pattern but I do find the PCO a bit tedious.  For free patterns, I hear good things about Itchy Fingers Longies and plan to try the Curly Purly Soaker soon.  I’d love to hear your preferences and/or recommendations!
  • I’ve made a few updates to the Oh Baby O “Cloth” page and the “Resources” page will be soon to follow.  Hopefully this post along with those pages are helpful to anyone with questions.  (I get a whole lot of questions about cloth-diapering!)  :)

18 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2011 11:13 am

    That is so awesome that you have your system figured out by baby #2! It took me four babies, 5 years and tons of money to figure out what worked best.

    We tried some fancy all in ones with babies #1 and #3. (Baby two broke out in rashes every time I put a plastic diaper cover on him and so was in disposables most of his infancy.) Baby #4 got to break me into the use of pins and I started using the Snappi by baby #5. Discovering the simplicity of a system very much like yours is what got me started knitting (I just couldn’t afford to buy wool soakers) and by baby #5 I finally enjoyed cloth diapering!

    • August 4, 2011 4:38 pm

      Isn’t is fantastically satisfying to knit your own diaper covers? We can’t afford to buy them either (especially not with my taste *wink*). Amazing how becoming a mama spurs creativity in such practical ways! ;) I only kind of knew how to knit before O. Then when he was born I felt like I NEEDED to wrap him in mama-made-with-love woollies, ya know? (I’m sure you know♥)

  2. Michelle permalink
    August 4, 2011 1:23 pm

    OK- I love these and would love to make them for our little Thanksgiving bundle on the way. Questions for you – what does CO and BO mean in the notes of your ravelry page for this project? Though I love knitting, I’m not up on the lingo. Also, what does “Picked up 5 stitches along either side of gusset and then decreased on either end to avoid holes while maintaining stitch count” mean exactly? This would be my first longies pair – do you think I can handle it? Finished my BSJ in May and have been knitting an adorable baby kicking bag I saw on soulemama.

    • August 4, 2011 3:58 pm

      Of course you can handle it, Michelle! :)
      CO- Cast On
      BO- Bind Off
      The part about picking up stitches would probably make more sense if you were looking at the pattern. The Sheepy Pants pattern (if that’s the one you’re looking into) is pretty extensive and walks you through the whole thing quite nicely. Good Luck!
      PS LOVE the BSJ!

      • Michelle permalink
        August 4, 2011 4:49 pm

        Lemme ask you this question. We have used prefolds since birth, but with imse vimse covers. I use wool soakers overnight, but didn’t start that until about 8 months. So – how does it work with a newborn – do you need to change the soakers/longies with each prefold? Can you leave them on until they become damp to the touch/visibly soiled from breastfed poo? How many longies and soakers would one need for the infant stash? (We’ve obviously already got enough prefolds.) I’m so ready to be done with pockets and fleece. Stinky, stinky…

      • August 4, 2011 8:33 pm

        You do not need to change wool soakers/longies with each prefold, only if it is soiled, wet, or otherwise funky. I can’t say exactly how many longies/soakers one would need for an infant stash… Hmmm… My big plan is to be sure to have at least three of each before baby arrives and then go from there (1 newborn size of each soaker & longies and 2 small size each soaker & longies). I’m mostly knitting smalls rather than newborn sizes because I’m not expecting a teeny tiny baby and well, babies grow! ;) All this also depends on how often you’re willing to wash should you need to, your own preferences, how big a stash you want, and other variables like that. I hope that helps…
        Btw, we have an imse vimse wool cover and it is our favorite cover other than the ones I’ve kinitted. It’s actually the only purchased cover we use!

      • Michelle permalink
        August 6, 2011 11:55 am

        Did you cast on and then immediately change to your contrast color? I’m looking at your ravelry page to try and see how you did it? Is the contrast also malabrigo? I think they carry that at Webs, which is around the corner from me. Looks like you only needed one skein and a little for the contrast?

      • August 8, 2011 10:04 am

        Yes, to all those questions. ;)

  3. August 5, 2011 8:49 am

    Congratulations, I saw your pregnancy photo over the weekend on flickr and was so excited! O is going to be such a great big brother & I can’t believe he weighed 9.6 pounds, wow! Carrie, I don’t know the first thing about knitting, but I’d really like to. We use the FuzziBunz diapers and often when we’ve did huge road trips I’ll switch to disposables. I’d love to knit a few things for our new little one once we get the referral and know her exact age. Are there simple ones that you’d recommend, or should I not and just try to knit something else simple. I’m thinking of taking a class in the fall actually.

    • August 5, 2011 11:45 am

      Thanks, Erin. You’re so sweet.♥
      FuzziBunz are our favorite of the pocket diapers. We also have a Rumparooz that we really like but it is relatively new to our stash. The FBs are the only diapers that have lasted of the pockets. (I did replace the elastic a while back though and they are definitely not in “new” condition anymore!)
      Are you looking for soaker/longies patterns to knit, or just knitting patterns in general? One of the first things I knitted for O was Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket. I love love LOVED it! I think I ended up knitting him three or four of them! There is a whole group on Ravelry devoted to the BSJ and it’s full of information and tons of great resources. (Plus, it’s so much fun to look at the completed projects!) :)
      For longies, I think the Sheepy Pants pattern is great. It’s pretty extensive and walks you through the whole project explaining everything as you go.
      I hope things are going well in your adoption journey. I’ve linked to your lovely shop a few times on my FB fan page. I hope it has sent a few people your way!

      • August 14, 2011 4:11 pm

        Thanks for sharing the shop. Its going well as is all the actual adoption paperwork. Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll look into the BSJ to start with, then the woolies. I can’t wait to see your little one.

      • August 14, 2011 4:12 pm

        your little one in them i meant to say. :-)

  4. August 6, 2011 9:35 am

    Have you tried the Eviepants all in one pattern? I am interested in seeing if they work up well.

    • August 7, 2011 3:55 pm

      I haven’t tried that pattern but I’d take a look around the finished projects on Ravelry… Or you could always post this question in the Soakers & Longies group there! :)

  5. Marie permalink
    August 15, 2011 8:52 am

    Hi, I just bought the Sheepy pants pattern after seeing your beautiful versions. I have really liked both the wool diaper cover from Ottobre design and the Spare ribs soaker both free on Ravelry. I’ve loved all of your cloth diapering inspiration and your beautiful knits. Our 10-month old daughter is uses cloth diapers, mostly prefolds, but we do usually use a cover. I find some seeping through the wool if I don’t have a water-proof layer…even though we change her hourly and she uses the potty frequently.

    We are expecting our second daughter this October and I’m warming up the knitting needles. I’d love to get away from the synthetic covers. Do you have any suggestions for me about making the wool more leak proof?


    • August 15, 2011 1:52 pm

      HI Marie!
      Thanks so much for your comments!
      To be honest, I always get a little nervous when someone buys something based on what they see here… I hope you like the Sheepy Pants pattern! It’s my favorite :)
      Hmmm… Ok, I think a couple of things could be going on here. I’m assuming you’re using 100% non-super wash wool, right? Have you lanolized your wool covers recently? It’s an easy process and definitely helps with wicking/leaking issues. I have a quick how-to on the “cloth” page if you want to check it out. Different cloth users tend to do it differently, but the method described there works well for us.
      Another thing is, are you making sure to knit your soakers at a tight enough gauge? I have knitted a soaker in a dk weight yarn before but due to the density of the fabric (or lack thereof), it certainly isn’t our best performing soaker in the bunch (it’s actually a pair of shorties). All the soakers and longies we’ve loved best have been those made from relatively minimally processed wool that is at least a worsted weight (though an aran weight is my favorite). I typically knit the body of a soaker using a worsted/aran weight wool on size 6 needles for a gauge of 4.5 stitches to the inch (or 5 st/in for a worsted like Malabrigo). This makes a nice thick squishy fabric to create a better barrier.
      One more thing to keep in mind, wool covers aren’t ever going to be as “waterproof” as a PUL cover simply because of the properties of a natural material vs a synthetic one. That said, changing your little one as often as you are, you really shouldn’t have leaking issues.
      Hope that helps!
      PS How is the fit on the Spare Ribs Shoaker? Looks like it would be great!

      • August 15, 2011 1:58 pm

        One more thing to consider… If your little one is wetting heavily enough to soak through a prefold and woollies while being changed every hour, I’d say that’s a pretty heavy wetter! Have you tried using a doubler with your prefolds? B & I like to fold a hemp doubler in the center of our prefold (angel fold) for some added absorption.


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