How It All Shakes Out:
When All Is Said And Done: 5
Annie has a new baby girl and a shop on Etsy. She lives in a rural area and uses solar panels to offset some of her families' energy consumption. Her sewing machine is one of the appliances that are powered by the sun. How cool is that!? I first noticed her super adorable designs by the way they looked so cozy and unique. What made me absolutely smitten with her and her shop was the solar part of the whole equation. I think it's amazing when mamas can make something (anything!) since I'm not very crafty myself, but when they are resourceful AND creative---that's something really special!
Here is the gray shorties with little sage fish on the bum and matching sage colored edging.
As you can see, there is an extra 'stay-dry' panel sewn into the crotch of these shorties. Wool is great because it's a natural fiber, it is antimicrobial, and, even though there is an additional panel it is STILL breathable! Wool was used before plastics were even thought of, so it is a tried and true method for diapering!
Here is the front view of the woolie.
I've used wool in other aspects of my life--baselayers--year around, I live in wool socks, even in the summer (when I'm not barefoot or in my Chacos) and we have recently started using wool dryer balls--which we are loving! Just as I didn't give cloth a thought until I was almost in labor, I didn't give wool a chance until about 10 months into this cloth adventure! BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!
Here is a front-view of the shorties--on a moving target! He stopped fussing with them a few minutes after he got used to this new, fabulous feeling of wool fluff on his bum!
And I couldn't have centered that green ball again if I tried. I don't have an egg-laying son, just a knack for having random objects in my pictures!
This is the inside view of the flannel diaper I used in the photos, along with the insert I stuff it with and the adorable fish woolie!
We have a solar powered fence (small solar panel on a solar-powered battery that charges the wire of the fence) and it surrounds our bee hive out at our cabin, because otherwise, since we (and the dogs) are not there it is hard to deter bear activity! Solar power, even in a small amount ROCKS!
Here you can see the curvature of the waistband and the snug but comfortable fit of the legs.
I was a little intimidated about caring for a woolie. But, Annie assured me it was pretty easy. She did a "lanolin soak" on the shortie before I received it. That lasted for about 7 washes. It took a long time to get to 7 washes, and we have been using it non-stop! At night-time we've found we like wool best. It took us over a year to figure out a GOOD night-time routine, but finally, we stuffed a flannel fitted with bamboo and put wool on the top, and ta-da! Night-time is now DRY-time too! For lanolizing, Annie recommended the tutorial from Green Mountain Diapers. Here is the link. I did find it helpful, but what I ended up doing to treat my woolie was this:
First I rinsed the woolie in cool water. Then, I squirted a bit of CJ's Butter Wool Wash (New Mown Hay Scent) onto the woolie, mostly in the soaker/crotch area where the pee and ammonia would likely be concentrated. Then, I swished it around in my sink, in warm water. I let it soak for about 1/2 hour to an hour. I squeezed out the water and then hung it up to dry. I was pretty pleased with the results. The Wool Wash smelled amazing. The woolie held up great from washing. I was pretty impressed with my maiden attempt in wool-care. It was actually one of those really smug moments! I'm proud of myself for adding this to the list of things that I can do! And you can too! The main reason I avoided wool for so long was because I thought it was 'delicate' and 'hard to take care of.' It's actually just as easy as 'regular cloth diapers,' just in a different way! I think I might be on my way to becoming a wool junkie!
Here is the woolie after one wash (following the above routine) -- I think they came out pretty good! Minimal fuzzies from squeezing out the water and rubbing some Wool Wash onto the fabric.
The wool Annie used for this shortie was a "medium to heavy weight" wool. She felts all her wool before sewing. The wool has a really good dense felt, but she did sew in a little extra wool patch called a "soaker pad" in the inside of the woolie in the main "wet-zone." A lot of woolies in bigger sizes have these since they add a little extra protection. This makes total sense, since older babies usually means more quantity but less frequent pee!
The little bit of elastic just helps to hold the top of the shortie snug over the top of the diaper underneath. I use a flannel fitted under the woolie (in the picture posted before of all the pieces to my diapering system!) I have been experimenting with diaper pins, so the result has been bulkier than normal, but it still fits securely under the shortie.
Here Little Bug is checkin' out his new attire! He knows something isn't quite the same as usual...but after a few minutes, he's totally diggin' it, truckin' around in wool!
He kept crouching down and looking at the woolie, and picking bits of fibers out of it. Then he would walk over and give me the fibers and look at me, like "What is on my bum?" But after a few minutes, he grew bored with picking at his diaper and ever since then, he's been indifferent to whether he wears wool or PUL.
The pattern Annie uses to make the soakers like the one she made me has a higher rise in the back. You can see in some of the pictures (though capturing my moving target is getting harder!) that the diaper (a flannel fitted by Greenchild Creations) is securely snugged in by the elastic and the slightly elevated waist, with a bit of curvature to it. This feature makes the woolie fit little baby bodies better! There is some stretch in the legs, but they are not tight at all. Just close-fitting to the leg. You don't have to worry about any messes leaking out, they aren't loose, they actually fit in the legs absolutely perfectly! Annie always serges or zigzag stitches her seams, making the finished product look FINISHED! Wool doesn't fray really, but have the edges tucked in is important for my Little Bug, ever the explorer! If there is a stray fiber, he is sure to find it!
I loved the feel of the woolie Annie made me. It was so soft! It made me happy to know that Bug had natural fibers next to his skin. I do love PUL, but in an effort to green up our life, I've been trying to eliminate things that do not occur nearly naturally. My theory is the more processing something endures, the less the end product is likely to be healthy or good for you. Wool makes me VERY happy for this reason! I also just instantly felt good vibes from Annie's work. Making something for your child with natural fibers and with the warm fingers of sunlight guiding power into your tools, that seems like soulful work to me! Montana Solar Creations is one of the most unique and noteworthy shops I've found on Etsy and Annie is such a friendly, vibrant mama herself! You can follow her BLOG to keep up with all the sunny adventures she and her new babe embark upon! Annie loves creating special orders for folks, so if you have a certain size, color, design--just contact her on her Etsy shop and she'll take care of you! She sells so much more of her handcrafted solar creations than just wool soakers! She also has bandanas, mama cloth, cloth diapers and inserts, nursing covers, and more! Don't forget to "Like" Annie on Facebook as Montana Solar Creations--that is where she will post giveaway events, sales, and new creations added to her store!! That way, you won't miss out on all the sun-made fun! Make sure to tell her that she ROCKS when you say hello! She has also been kind enough to offer a discount code for readers to her shop!! Use arborday2012 now - the end of April to save 10% on your entire order!!!
This guy is so hard to keep up with! Getting shots of the woolie was nearly impossible! So, most are ACTION shots! But, the wool holds up great to Bug's activity level! Even the climbing!
***All these words are mine -- 100%. I received a complimentary woolie for this review; this is not a paid or endorsed post, I was not compensated for these words in any other way.***