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I have been married for 6 years now, stay at home with my two wonderful boys (2 1/2 and 5 mo). I also watch 5 other children in their home part time. I cloth diaper both of my boys, using hand knit, by me, wool covers and prefolds. I try and make a lot of our food from scratch and hopelessly fail at keeping house, but I try.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Coolness of Wool

I did a little research today on wool in general and wanted to share what I discovered. I've heard much of this through the cloth diapering world, but had never really taken the initiative in researching it myself. Here's what I learned.

Some of the characteristics of wool that you may not know is that it not only retains heat, but it keeps heat out. The Bedouins are a desert dwelling Arabic people and the Tuareg live in North Africa. Both of these groups of people wear wool. In the desert. Because it's too hot to wear other materials. Have you ever been running around in a cotton tee and shorts in the middle of the summer? Of course you have. Ever notice how it just soaks up your sweat and clings to you like a wet rag? This would be why runners love running clothes made to wick wetness away while keeping the body cool. Wool does that as well! Of course the temperatures outside will play a factor into what thickness of wool you would wear.

Wool is also naturally fire retardant. More so than cotton and some synthetic fibers. In fact it has a higher burning temp and slower flame spread than cotton. In high safety environments they require wool carpeting and upholstery where needed. It also is static resistant. That means a wool blanket wont cling to you like a fleece one in the middle of winter. A wool pullover wont make you look like you stuck your finger in an outlet when you take it off, like a cotton sweater would.

Now here's the best part, the most relevant to cloth diapering. The exterior of the wool fibers is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. This sounds like my Dizzy a few months ago. He was so afraid of water he would repel it at all costs! Thankfully we're past that and can even laugh at bath time!! The interior of wool fibers are hygroscopic. It attracts water. So when you put hydrophobic outside with some hygroscopic inside what do you get? The coolest stuff ever! A higher standard of natural fibers! This ultra breathable material is also absorbent and water repellent AT THE SAME TIME. How is this possible!? The hygroscopic inner parts of the wool soak up water, while the exterior (fraidy-cat) hydrophobic outer fibers wick the moisture away and lock it inside. That means while you're holding your little one on your hip and he pees a gallon (my boys start peeing buckets at 3 months or younger!) your clothing will stay dry, provided you have an adequate diaper under that wool! You will feel some humidity and heat, which can trick you into thinking you've gotten wet (this has happened to me!) but you're still dry to the touch.

Of course you need to help that moisture to stay in the diaper rather than getting completely soaked into the cover (wool can absorb up to 1/3 of it's weight in moisture). This is acheived in proper lanolizing. I tend to lanolize with every wash. Check out the note section on my facebook page for directions on caring for your wool.

Wool is also antibacterial, meaning it keeps bacteria and the resulting smells at bay. That adds up to less frequent washing, and no worries ;) I know of moms who claim to go a month to 6 weeks between washings, but my boys never seem to stay clean long enough for that! As newborns they tend to be a little, well, 'runny' if you know what I mean. Solid waste needs to be washed immediately! And it seems as soon as that stage is over they're moving and crawling all over the place. . . which makes clothing get dirty. I average washings about once every 1-2 weeks and that works for me.

So in conclusion I learned that besides being antibacterial, it is flame retardant, great for all weather wear, and works wonders as a diaper cover and keeping baby's (and mommy's) outer clothing dry! If you don't believe me, I challenge you to give it a try! You don't have to love it or even like it, but it works for us and many other families!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Long Time No Post. . . .

Well, my followers, it's been a little too long since my last post. . . you know, the one that was supposed to be a series that was never completed? Well here's a few things that have gone on since then:

I became busy with my day to day life as Dizzy and Gee got older and my work life became even more stressful. . . I never realized that could happen, but yup, it did. I sit for 5 children, after school and on non-school days. It was stressful and annoying when I was doing it at their house. At least I thought so, until I was notified by the state that I could not bring my own children with me, which of course was the only reason I accepted the job. So, unfortunately for my stress levels, but fortunately for this family and our budget, my shoe box of a house had the required amount of space for 7 children. Now, for 2 hours, 5 days a week I have 7 children in my house. That means 3 or 4 are playing nicely (if not too loud and rowdy), at least one is screaming at the top of their lungs and one is in trouble. That's on average. Other than forcing them all to spend every moment outside I have no idea how I"m going to cope with Summer. . .

Due to the lack of sales at my first booth I became a little disheartened and not so much 'gave up' on The Sleepy Sheep as put it on the back burner for too long. Then a miracle happened. Somebody volunteered me to run our church's clothing exchange. Great. (That's another reason I"ve been too busy to post here!) I'm not really an organized person, in fact I'm pretty much the opposite. So I did my best and wound up finding several wool sweaters I could use to make wool pants with. As you may know, wool is great for cloth diaper covers. I had seen people make and sell these from old recycled sweaters. And the sweaters I found were free, some were even pre-shrunk for me. So, I decided to go ahead and try out this interesting little craft, since I had no need to invest any money. I made a pair of pants and a set of overalls for Dizzy and Gee.

I'm now in the process of reopening The Sleepy Sheep. I'm working on making enough to place at a booth at Circle Me in Lincoln Ne at their Diaper REsale on April 2nd from 10am - 2pm. I am also preparing for a Grand Opening on my Etsy page (to be disclosed at a later date) soon after the sale. I may put a few items up, just to get a feel for the shop owner experience, but I plan on putting up some better things this spring.

So, that leaves me here, restarting my blog. Look for a new post each week ;)