Saturday, July 28, 2012

Types of Wool Covers

Before we get to washing and lanolizing, I figured you might want to know about the types of wool covers available :)

There are many different types of wool covers available to use and a lot can really be based on your preferences, climate, etc.

Wool Soakers / Covers

 L-R: Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb Underwoolies, the next 3 are all Wild Coconut Wear (WCW, formerly Wild Child Woolies)

Wool soakers are basically a pull on wool cover that resembles a brief or other diaper covers.They can be used year round in any climate but awesome for when it's so stinkin hot outside!


 I don't have a picture of these because I don't own any but it's basically the same idea as a regular diaper cover with snaps or velcro...buttons, ties, whatever...the wrap around a fitted or prefold to provide the waterproofness. They are made of wool vs. PUL or something similar. 

Shorties...aka wool shorts

L-R: First 2 are Rainbow Waters, other 2 are WCW...I don't have any sloomb shorties yet but that will change! :)

Just as the name says...they are shorts. Serve as a diaper cover and clothing. Pure awesomeness for a good 3 seasons, unless you live further south than I do in Maryland...then use them all year!
I think we use shorties the most!

Longies...aka wool pants.

L-R: First 3 are all WCW, Orange pair is Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb

Again, can be used year round but awesome for the cooler months because they can do double duty as a diaper cover and clothing at the same time! We often pair these with with a t-shirt for evenings and nighttime in our house during the cooler months...but it's July and we have just used a pair for the last week since we hadn't used them in a while and I just felt like using them! My 10 month old actually sweated less than he does on normal nights. It was strange, but he definitely was not too warm. However, I don't think I would have put him outside in longies when it's summer :)


I've also seen wool pajamas, overalls, buntings, sleep sacs, etc. Wool can amazingly double as clothing and diapers covers which means less clothing you have to buy if you use it full-time. 

Of all the types of wool, shorties and longies are usually just paired with a t-shirt or whatever top you want. Soakers and wraps can also be work in this manner but they can also be worn under clothing if you wish. Sloomb underwoolies are actually made for this purpose which is why they are more trim than their regular covers. If you're putting clothing over a soaker you might have to size up because your baby will have a fluffier butt than their normal size :)


Types of Wool

GENERALLY wool is hand-knit (or crocheted), machine-knit, or sewn from wool fabric.

Handmade garments (sewn or knit) are more time consuming than machine knit/sewn so generally cost more. If you can knit yourself, you are my hero and I would knit up a storm. Hand-knit or wool covers are beautiful and if you can do it yourself, cost-effective. If you can''re supporting a WHAM so go for it!


Just like the title describes, these wool covers are knit, either by hand or by machine. 

Example of a hand-knit cover:
This one could use a shave, but you get the idea. gorgeous!

Example of machine-knit wool:
This picture actually shows the colors of Sloomb wool coming to FiggyFuzz within the next few weeks!

Popular machine-knit covers include Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb (NOTHING else like this brand in the market...they are double layer machine-knit and some of the softest wool I have come arcoss), EcoPosh, Kissaluvs, Disana. My only issue with knits are that I have an uncanny ability to snag my clothes and knits can be a little temperamental and I'm not able to fix my knits if I snag them. I can sew but haven't quite figured out how to repair snags in knit clothing.

Sewn wool fabric aka Interlock:

Wool interlock is actually a machine knit wool but it's knit in the round so it comes out tubular. It's double knit but basically looks like a piece of fabric versus seeing the individual wool threads like in a machine-knit/hand-knit fabric.

Excuse my camera skills at midnight...but you can see the visual difference. Wool interlock longies (WCW) on the bottom and machine-knit on the top.

There's no secret, I prefer interlock versus knit fabrics and interlock makes up a larger portion of my stash. But that's a personal preference. It is easier to wash (just wait for the wool wash tutorial coming up :) ) and for me to maintain and I'm less worried about messing it up than I am with my knits. Now...note I haven't messed up my knits but I worry about it!

You will see a lot of wool covers are made from a wool/spandex(lycra) blend (95/5 or 97/3). I actually prefer the blend because it helps the wool have a little give but hold its shape well and also help to prevent a lot of felting (basically shrinking). When you buy a wool interlock blend cover it has most likely already been felted to an appropriate weight as part of the manufacturing and often dying process. The interlock covers we carry at FiggyFuzz are mostly a blend.

Hope this gives you a little insight into the different types of covers and ways that wool covers are made!

And here's some links to the different brands of wool I have used and/or carry in the store:

Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb - this wool is coming to FiggyFuzz within the next few weeks, in covers, underwoolies, shorties, and longies!

Rainbow Waters - we have covers and shorties in stock. Longies will come later this fall.

EcoPosh - only come in covers

Wild Coconut Wear - had to make sure to give props to this mama. She makes great stuff, it's crazy hard to get, and I WISH she wholesaled like Rainbow Waters!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why Wool?

I get a lot of questions about good nighttime diapering solutions. Based on my own experience and talking with a lot of cloth diaper users, we have found that a good fitted diaper and a wool diaper cover (or shorties or longies) to be our solution.

When my son was younger (he's now 10 months old), we could get away with a pocket stuffed with microfiber and hemp for overnight but you can only stuff a pocket diaper so much before it starts gaping around the legs. He continues to nurse several times at night and still pees like crazy and he just kept peeing out of his diapers and it left us with too many wet sheets and clothes. So at 6 months we switched to fitteds and wool. We have liked using wool and fitteds so much that I often put them on him in the evenings as well.

The word 'wool' often make you think of something hot, itchy, and hard to care for. However it's actually a very versatile fiber. In short wool is a really natural choice and a lot easier to care for than you would think. Many mamas (and dads!) feel intimidated by wool but I'm here to tell you don't be!

WARNING! Wool can be an addiction...just like cloth don't blame me when you find out how awesome it is and you can't get enough! :)'s the details. Wool is:
  • antibacterial
  • self-cleaning
  • very breathable
  • odor-resistent!!
  • absorbs a ton!

Antibacterial: In contract to synthetics (like covers with PUL), which are commonly used as a wetness barrier, wool is antibacterial. To see the difference you have to look at the microscopic level of wool (click HERE for more details). Basically wool fibers overlap and repel water droplets. In combination with a thin coating of lanolin (which is the oil that is secreted from the sheep's skin), it causes water to run off from the fibers. Synthetic fibers will hold or block moisture in its liquid state, but wool will absorb moisture in its vapor state (hello science class today!). Therefore wool will also release it into the air before bacteria has a chance to start growing.

Self-Cleaning: Wool on a sheep has the bonus of the constant presence of lanolin. When we 'lanolize' our wool we add this important property back into the wool after washing. Lanolin is a really popular ingredient in soapmaking and nipple creams. When the wool fibers swell due to absorption of fluid vapor, it provides friction to scrub itself clean. I grew up around a lot of farm families and I guess this explains why dirty sheep in the fields never really got a bath even before the county fair...just a good rain shower every now and then!

Breathable:  Breathability is a HUGE factor in preventing diaper rash. If your baby's skin can't breathe, bacteria grows and causes a rash (ever wonder why non-cloth babies need so much diaper cream...well, their diapers are made of plastic, which doesn't breathe). Wool fibers are each crimped and it allows a cover to have thousands and thousands of chambers for air to move through and for the skin to breathe. This is why is can keep your baby warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Wool is more comfortable in hot or cold conditions because of this. In fact, the past few nights my son has actually slept in just a fitted diaper and a pair of longies (wool pants).

Absorbs a ton: Wool will first repel (via the wool fibers and lanolin) moisture vapour back into the fitted diaper. What the fitted doesn't absorb, the wool will! Under the outer part of the wool fiber is a very porous core that allows each fiber to store up to 30% it's weight and will slowly let it out in the air via evaporation. Don't know about you, but in one wool cover...that means it can hold a ton of pee. This can mean your fitted can be soaked, your wool cover can feel damp to the touch, but your sheet will be dry! If it does start to leak...well, it can only hold so much so you'll have to change your baby eventually, or it's time to wash and relanolize your covers. PLUS...WOOL IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE DIAPER UNDER IT!

Odor-resistant: Odor is caused by bacteria growing on fibers...since wool is anti-bacterial, no bacteria, no odor! :)

NOT time consuming: Wool only needs to be washed when it starts to smell. I use one cover overnight, turn it inside out in the morning, let it air out, and use it or another cover the next night...and repeat. I wash my wool about every 3 weeks to a month, or I just grab another cover to add into the rotation to get me a little further. If it gets poop on it (only happened to use a few times), you do need to spot clean it right away to prevent stains, but scrubbing with a bar of lanolin rich soap means you won't have to lanolize until wash day.

Bottom line...wool keeps the sheep dry and it can keep your baby dry.

Also keep in mind that wool may seem expensive but you don't need to buy nearly as many to use in a rotation as you do diapers. If you're going to use them only for night, you really only need 2-3 covers.

Also, there can be true wool allergies, just like their can be allergies to PUL, other synthetic fabrics, or even detergents, so watch your baby the first few times you use a new product to watch for an allergy :)

Next blog post will be information on the different types of wool diaper covers!

If you want to try's a link to the wool we currently offer at FiggyFuzz. We will also have more wool coming later this summer :)