Montana Solar Creations Wool Shorties

Happy Arbor Day! Since it is a 'green' day, I am bringing to you an ultra-green mama, named Annie. She is the creator behind Montana Solar Creations and has a shop on Etsy. I am reviewing a pair of wool shorties (my first pair!) made by this amazing earth-lovin' mama. Annie and I are kindred spirits and I wish that we lived closer, so we could hang out! And so she could be my crafting mentor!


How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime: 5
Night-time: 5
Quality: 5
User-friendliness: 5

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!

Annie and her family use solar panels on their roof that are tied into their electrical unit to the house so all power they use is offset by solar!!! How cool is that? They can't run entirely on solar yet, but Annie said maybe in the future that will be possible! They also have cool software that tracks their solar production daily/weekly/monthly/annually and the carbon offset! Additionally, this way-amazing solar mama shares my love of camping, and has a solar panel on the roof of their "very rustic old" truck camper and solar battery inside!! Talk about green! Perfect for Arbor Day! Saving trees in a round about way -- but green nonetheless!!

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.***

45 comments:

  1. I like her mama cloth as well, especially the Yoga & Flowers Set of 2 cloth pads panty liner flannel menstrual period mama pad moon cycle pregnancy light days solar made.

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  2. I appreciate a higher rise in the back to accommodate fluffier butts. Cute fish!

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  3. I'm not a fan of wool, but a cute diapered bottom like that might change my mind. Thanks for posting a link on her suggested method of a lanolin soak. I didn't even know wool users did that!

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  4. that is so cute I've been wanting to try wool... great review amanda!!

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  5. Ive never tried wool thanks for a helpful review

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  6. Great review. I'm glad to hear from someone who like myself was leery of trying wool for the same reasons I am. Everyone raves about wool, but it seems like such a hassle. I'm afraid I won't know when to wash and I don't even know what lanolizing means! LOL. I'm also leery about leaving something on my child that she has urinated in. How does that work? I really want to try wool but I'm nervous.

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  7. I've also been scared away by wool because of the super long drying time, the high cost of wool products and the special products you have to buy to care for it (wool wash, lanolin). But your review was very educational and has encouraged me to give it more thought!

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  8. We just started using wool at night and I love it! Those fish shorties are adorable. I'll have to check out her whole etsy store.

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  9. Wow! This is great! I love the fish on the diaper! I also love that CJ's has a wool wash! I didn't know that!

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  10. I've used wool diaper covers, but not diapers. Thanks for the heads up!

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  11. Thanks for the info on wool care! I've been intimidated by this part as well.

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  12. I've never used wool, but I've been interesred in trying it.

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  13. I really like the elastic on the back waistband! I always have an issue of drooping there with my little girl. Great idea!

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  14. We have never tried wool. I am little intimidated by it actually. I would love to try, I just don't want to ruin it
    beth.rees333 at gmail dot com

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  15. I would love to have a pair of these for my son. I have wool longies but for summer it would be great to have shorties.

    kristen bobbitt

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  16. I've never tried wool, I'd be afraid that I would ruin it on the first or second use, and then I would have wasted money. I like that the person who makes them uses sun as an alternative energy source. The higher rise on the woolie is nice to keep the underlying flannel/flat/prefold/ect. in place.

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  17. I like how you said the wool diapers were breathable.. I was thinking not.. Even though it looks cute, I am like the 4 Crazy Kids...and a Cloth Diaperin Momma.. I would be scared to try the wool.

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  18. Using solar power for her sewing machine? That is ingenious!

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  19. Always been interested in trying wool but havent yet. Thank you for the review!

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  20. I just got my first wool cover and I look forward to trying it out.

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  21. I have been interested in trying wool, but still nervous!

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  22. wow, her using solar panals is amazing! we have not yet tried wool but i want to!

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  23. Wool is the only way to go for us at night. Annie makes great woolies! :) It's not scary after you take the plunge!

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  24. I would have never even thought to use wool for cloth diapering, but now that I think about it, it totally makes sense!

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  25. Those look awesome, I really wan to try wool, but haven't yet.

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  26. I've been wanting to venture into wool for night time for quite a while now! I keep hoping to when some shorties or a GC towards some, because I just can't get over the steep price (even though I know they will be worth it).

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  27. I am new to cloth diapering, but this is definitely an informative review. I will have to try wool soon! The little fish on these are so cute, and I love that she uses so solar-power to make them. When I am ready to try wool, I will probably buy from her!

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  28. I've never tried wool. I'm very intimidated by it to be honest lol. I just always thought it was a lot of work since it needs to be washed differently than other diapers and covers. But seeing how you clean the wool and how well it works I kind of want to give it a try now. (Michelle Ferguson)

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  29. I don't like wool on myself... it is super itchy to me, no matter how soft the wool is! But I have been wanting to try something like this, at least at nap/bedtime!

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  30. Wow, I never knew a lot of that about wool. I am amazed at her resourcefulness! I can't seem to make any thing, so far. The shorties are cute with the little fish on them. I also never knew a little electric fence could deter a bear.
    Gladys P

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  31. Wow! Annie sounds awesome - I love that she uses solar panel. And that woolie is super cute!

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  32. I love wool, but sadly don't have too many! Her's look awesome!

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  33. I just got my first wool cover, but I haven't tried lanolizing it yet. I guess we will see how it goes.

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  34. Wow! This post really makes me want to try out wool now!

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  35. I have to say I am pretty skeptic of tying wool but your post makes it sound great. I just might have to get some to try out on my little one

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  36. I am adding her link to my shopping page. I don't have any wool yet (it's the most expensive) but I've heard it's the best for nighttime!

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  37. These look fantastic! I'm really hoping to add some wool to my stash before baby #2 gets here!

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  38. it's my husbands lifelong dream to get solar panels... he would be such a fan of this soaker!

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  39. I love the little fishies on the back!

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  40. I never know if I can use wool shorties with out over heating my baby. I live in AZ. What do you think?

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  41. I've yet to use wool. They are cute but I'm kind of intimidated by them because I don't exactly know how they work. I'm still new and learning.

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  42. I haven't tried wool yet. It is actually intimidating to me. But the more I read people's reviews, the more I see that I shouldn't be scared to try it. Thanks!

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  43. Those are really awesome. Thanks for reviewing.

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  44. I like that it has the elastic and the higher rise in the back

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  45. This was a very helpful post and people can rely on the information, smart fencing is thankful for this post and appreciate the effort you took.

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