Tag Archives: Cloth Diapering

Friday Favorites: My Birthday Boy

Well, today’s the day; my baby’s now a toddler.  Today we’re celebrating his first year of life.  I’m very emotional about it but not in the way that I thought I would be.  Instead of mourning the fact that his babyhood is complete, I’m so happy that we have had the time together and that our family is so close and so happy.

A full year has come and gone since he was born.  We’ve now had a full year of breastfeeding, diaper changes, washing diapers, sleeping next to each other, toting him around on our bodies, trying to keep him happy while he cut teeth, and a full year of taking it one day at a time.  It’s been a year of lullabies, cuddles, open mouth kisses, and dancing.  We’ve gone through milestone after milestone and watched our son grow so much.  2 days ago he took his first steps and he has a very large vocabulary.

I’m looking forward to the next year, and every year after that, and every year after that.  Being a parent is an amazing thing, I can’t believe how it’s made me feel and how it’s changed me.

I still can’t believe that it’s been a full year since he was born.  After we were moved to our recovery room in the hospital, Grandma went home and Daddy went to sleep.  It was very late, but my adrenaline rush kicked in even though my body was so physically tired.  I lied there in the bed with my newborn on my chest, skin to skin.  He had just finished his second meal and we were both very content.  He looked up at me, and I looked down at him.  I felt a bond forming, one that had already been there but was now getting better.  Every day we have had these special moments and I love him so much.  I have to say, this past year has been my favorite year of  life.

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Filed under attachment parenting, Babywearing, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, friday favorites, Janelle's Jibberish, knitting

Friday Favorites V: Soakers and Longies

Today I want to talk about my favorite soaker and longies patterns.

Woolies are my favorite type of diaper cover and I have nothing but great things to say about my experience with them.  We haven’t had issues with compression leaks, even in the carseat.  I have found that this is the most satisfying of projects- something so useful and functional.  Using them on such a constant basis is gratifying.

First I’ll talk about the soaker patterns I’ve made and been satisfied with.

The first is Adaptation by Connie Stults.  This has sentimental value to me because it was the first project I knit.  It’s knit flat and in garter stitch, so it was a fantastic beginner project.  It’s the best nighttime soaker ever, basically bullet proof.  The garter stitch makes it stretchy so it accomodates the doubled up prefolds underneath.

The Frantic Mama Knitted Soaker by Rebecca Krolikowski also has sentimental value to me.  After finishing 4 Adaptations, I was ready to move onto knitting in the round.  Frantic Mama is my favorite basic soaker pattern.

The next soaker I’ve made a few times is the Curly Purly pattern by Marnie Ann Joyce.  For those that loathe I-cord, this is a good choice.  Ribbing and a high rise make this soaker fit a baby well.  I like this pattern because it fits for a long period of time.  It’s also the first pattern I made with short rows and I like short rows on the backside of woolies very much.

I sort of wished I had a little girl to knit for so I can make some sweet skirties.  I don’t know if that will ever happen.

I have had rough luck with longies.  The first pair I made were for my newborn, but I made 2 sizes bigger so he could wear them for a long time.  I followed the pattern measurements for the elastic, and even though I made them too big, the elastic was so tight around his belly.  Not only that, but he has short legs so the longies were much too long.  It made me sad.  I didn’t like the pattern since they were knit from the legs up and then joined.  It was a very poor design.

Longies in general have not been well received by me.  Yes they are functional, but it took me a while before I thought they were cute.  I know why, it’s because just about everyone on Ravelry who makes longies makes them with the loudest, most obnoxious variegated yarn they can find (as did I, see above picture).  I have come to the conclusion that I strongly dislike the way variegated yarn knits up, but oh it looks so beautiful in a hank.  A very subtle variation in one color is beautiful, but I hate when it changes colors completely.  I wish I had known that before I bought so much of it.

While I have so far not really liked longies patterns, there is one that I adore.  It’s Leapfrog by Annika Barranti.  I love the cables, I love the short rows, and I love the pictures of her sweet baby in the longies.  They are gender neutral and the example was knit in a solid color that is visually appealing.  I will be making these.

Photo by Annika Barranti

I am currently working on the second pair of longies this season.  It’s my first time doing any sort of colorwork if you don’t count stripes.  I did a Fair Isle chart from a pattern in the book, Son of Stitch and Bitch.  They are nearly finished, but I got burned out working with the wool.  After one evening of working on a project with baby alpaca/slik  yarn, I’m ready to finish the longies.  They will be done soon.

A lot of knitters, including myself, don’t like knitting i-cord.  One day my husband and I were at Jo-Ann’s.  We saw a french knitter on clearance for $1.  He insisted that I try it, and if I didn’t like it I could throw it away since it was so cheap.  Knitting 40 inches of i-cord isn’t fun.  Knitting 40 inches of i-cord on this French Knitter was really fast and easy.  I was really happy with it, and thought I would share in case anyone else out there purposefully avoids knitting i-cord.

You may or may not have noticed, but all patterns I have talked about are free.  This leads me to a serious pet peeve I have, paying for woolie patterns.  Seriously, there are some on Ravelry for $12!  Just for the pattern!  The same day I put my Hootie Pants pattern on Ravelry, another person put a longies pattern up too.  The only thing that made it special was that it had a Jack O Lantern motif on the bum.  Cute yes, but seriously, people can’t just look at it and make it without buying the pattern?  The pattern is $8.  It claims to have some detailed instructions and tutorials but unless someone is fairly new to knitting, this stuff is generally already known.

I have come to a place in my soaker and longies knitting where I can look at the pattern and make it without looking at the instructions.  I know a lot of other knitters that do the same, so charging for woolie patterns is pointless unless there is something really special about it.  This is just my opinion, and I don’t mean any offense to anyone.  I will happily pay for patterns that are special and unique and willingly support designers.  But I have to say, I really appreciate when patterns are free.

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, friday favorites, knitting

Hootie Pants

The weather in Florida turned cold overnight!  All my baby has is soakers and t-shirts from the scorching summer.  I needed to make longies, and quick.  The trouble was, I can’t say I’m too crazy about all the longie patterns on Ravelry.  I have so many ideas for longies in my head.  I put one on paper, and knit it up.

The pattern is now available as a free Ravelry Download

I have a slight obsession with owl cables, so I incorporated them into the pants.  I think they are so cute, and even cuter on my baby’s fluffy bum. 

I made the pants for use with cloth diapers.  I used Cascade 220 Wool in color 8400, slate gray.  I think the color is very owlish.  For more information on using wool covers with cloth diapers, see this post.

 I can’t not smile when I see this picture.  This one’s going in a frame.

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Shabby Chic Diaper Bag

In the 30 Days of Sewing group on Ravelry, we decided to have a Flouncy Bag Sew-Along.  The pattern is from the book, One Yard Wonders.  Many of us were interested in making it, and making it together was really fun.  We were able to ask each other questions, share pictures, and just chat about the pattern.

I was interested in making the bag for a quick trip diaper bag.  I have a messenger bag I use, but it’s kind of big.  It can hold many cloth diapers, wipes, toys, burp rags, extra outfits, my current knitting project (and book), and all my necessities.  Sometimes I feel like I’m lugging around the entire nursery.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this messenger bag. It’s been so good.  I did want a smaller, cuter bag for those quick trips where only one diaper change may happen.

Since I use cloth diapers and they are bulky, this couldn’t be the quick change bags that are in the book, One Yard Wonders.  I thought this would be the perfect bag for this purpose.

In the bag I have: One pocket diaper, 2 cloth wipes, a wet bag, my wallet, sunglasses, cell phone, keys, a pen and lip gloss.  This all fits inside nicely.  Since the pattern says to sew loops of ribbon on the inside, my smaller things are held securely to the side and easily accessed.  I still even have room for a toy and some snacks for the little one. 

Overall I am very happy with the way the bag turned out.  I omitted the D-rings and decorative ribbon on the strap.  I didn’t have either, but I don’t think it made much of a difference.  I love the fabric I used. It’s matches my personality with the shabby theme and of course, my love of roses.

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, sewing

line drying goodness

I’m a big fan of line drying my cloth diapers.  There are so many benefits.  The direct sunlight sanitzes and strips them, bleaches out any stains, and it saves so much energy which is good for the environment and the power bill.  Or in my case, saves energy and $1.25 to use a coin-op dryer.  Then there’s the added benefit of the wonderful smell that comes with drying outside. 

Before I had the spin dryer, anytime I would dry my clothes and diapers outside, they would come off the line really stiff.  Since using the spin dryer, they dry almost instantly and they are just as soft as if they had come out of an electric dryer.  I’m not sure what the difference is, but I think all the water still remaining in the clothes has something to do with it.

I put my diapers out on the collapsible rack every morning.  The only items that need pinning are the wipes.  I have issues holding several wipes and pins at a time while trying to put them on the rack.  I’m too impatient to just hold one wipe and one pin at a time.   When I saw the Granny’s Clothespin Apron in the book, One Yard Wonders, I was immediately in love.  This pattern and the pug on the cover, of course, were the major selling points. 

I finished my clothespin apron yesterday.  I used it to hang my diapers this morning, and I am so happy about it!  It works perfect for me!  It’s so satisfying making something that is going to be used so often.

While making this, I couldn’t help but think of my sister.  She loves making aprons.  She is an apron making master!  She made me this apron for my birthday last year. I use it all the time and I just love it so much! I also can’t help but giggle when I see this picture.  I was only days away from finding out I was pregnant.

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Eco-friendly, sewing

Hindsight is 20/20

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned someone dropped off a bunch of fitted diapers for me?  Well, they started some thought processes and I just wanted to offer a bit of friendly advice to new mothers.

This is something that’s said OVER and OVER and OVER again….  Try a bunch of different diapers before making your decision.

I sort of jumped the gun and ordered 3 dozen prefolds.  Yes I was obsessed with making wool covers and I wanted to use them.  Wool is still my favorite part of diapering, but there are other things to use under them besides prefolds.    I also ended up buying 4 pockets, 3 of them broke so they were replaced.  This week I finally got around to taking them to the tailor’s and now I have 7 functioning pocket diapers.

Now my diaper stash is a bit ridiculous, especially now that I’m washing diapers daily.  If I had known I would be washing them frequently then I wouldn’t have bought so many to begin with.  When we lived in our old house I was doing laundry every other day and 3 dozen was still ridiculous.  But all the diapering websites said that you should have 3 dozen.  Only now do I realize they say that because they’re trying to make money.

From nearly 6 months experience, here’s what I would have done differently.

First of all, you only need 24 diapers total.  That’s it.  Even if you’re washing every other day, there is no reason to have more that 2 dozen.  My advice would be to mix and match.  I would have bought:

1 dozen prefolds each in infant and standard.  I say a dozen because prefolds are still my favorite.  They come really clean and are (in my opinion) user friendly.  The ones I bought are so soft too.  It’s like putting an old comfy T-shirt on my baby’s bum.

Snappies or pins.  I bought 6 Snappies, that was a ridiculous amount.  They last 6 months each, so I have enough to last through potty training.  You only need to be using one at a time as well.

6 fitteds the reason I didn’t buy them was because they are sized so I was being economical.  But they are wonderful and worth every penny.

1 PUL diaper cover, and 4 wool covers this is specific to my preferences.  If you’re just going with PUL covers then 2 or 3 is all you’ll ever need.  You can’t have too many wool covers, especially if you’re making your own.  It seems like I always have at least one drying from being washed after a blowout. 

Doublers.  You need these for nighttime and heavy wetters.  The fitteds I have aren’t absorbent enough so I have to add something to it.  I like to use SmartiPants inserts.  I’ve also used the wipes and wash cloths when he was tiny.  You can use your infant sized prefolds as doublers when baby outgrows them.  It’s just adding extra absorbency, so you can get quite creative with this.  Also, it’s not needed with every baby.  Mine is a heavy eater and wetter so he needs extra.  Soon you’ll know how many you need and if you need them at all.

6 one sized pockets or all-in-ones.  These are perfect for on the go, but they don’t come as clean.  They’re also really fun to play with.  I would have bought 6 different brands to see what ones I liked.  I went with one brand, and they ended up being crap.

2 dozen wipes I sewed my own, but you could use baby wash cloths, reuse an old towel by cutting it into squares and seaming the edges, even use old receiving blankets and seam the edges, there are a million things you could do.  After all, you’re wiping bums!  They’re going to get covered in poop!

Wipes Solution Dispenser This can be anything really, I actually have been using the cleansing bottle they gave me in the hospital (similar to a  dish soap bottle).  You could use a soap dispenser, a spray bottle, a glass jar, ect. ect. 

a wet bag for diapering on the go

a dry pail for storing dirty diapers between washings.  I use a waste bin with a step lid.

A diaper sprayer easy to make your own if you don’t want to pay $50 for one

Keep in mind that things change as the baby grows and you’ll need to adapt your cloth diapering system as needed.

And finally, check out Diaper Swappers.  I know they’re used so if it bothers you, get them new.  The thought of used diapers really freaked me out when I was pregnant, but since I received a few used I don’t even care at all.  This website is just fantastic, you can try out all different types for cheap.  Actually now that I’ve found myself with a ridonkulous amount of diapers, maybe I’ll swap a few.

A note about fitteds: I attempted to make my own before baby arrived.  I didn’t know what I was making, for some reason I didn’t know they needed a waterproof cover.  I was onto something, but I made them too bulky and I didn’t install the elastic correctly.  I will be attempting again, now that I’m older and wiser.

I wish I would have known all this beforehand, but then only places that had good cloth diapering advice were sites that were selling them.  This is the whole reason I started this blog, to share information to other mothers looking for it.  It is my hope that I help someone, somewhere.

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Committed to Cloth- an Earth Day Post

Happy Earth Day everyone!  Today is a special day to me because Earth Day appeals to my crunchy side.  While I’m not an eco-nut or anything, I try to live my life in harmony with the Earth.  After all, she is the mother of us all and we need to take care of her.  It’s no secret we use cloth diapers instead of disposable, but there are other things in our household that we have replaced as well.  Paper towels, napkins, tissues, shopping bags, cling wrap, paper lunch sacks, the list goes on.  We drive fuel efficient cars, buy fair-trade and organic when possible, and walk as much as we can.  While we could always  improve, I feel we do our part.  Oh yeah, and eating a vegan diet is by far the most eco-friendly act you can do!  I always tend to forget that, I don’t know why…

Well, in honor of this special day I thought I would share a recent struggle I’ve been having. 

Moving has always been so thrilling to me.  I’m not very social so saying goodbye was never the hard part.  After all, my best friend was moving with me!  This has been one of my favorite parts of being a military wife.  The recent move was not the same.  Our baby was barely 3 months old and I had already established my nest at our home.  Having that nest uprooted was upsetting to say the least.  Not only that, but we didn’t know where we would be living.  I was absolutely terrified of this move.

When we got here, my fears had come true.  There had been a huge influx of people and there was no housing on base and an available apartment was rare.  We searched and searched, and we couldn’t find many places that allowed pets.  We found a place that was very happy to accommodate our pugs, but there was no washer/ dryer hookups.

So I was faced with a hard decision.  Do I keep my washer and dryer or my pugs?  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my little puggies, so it was really a no-brainer.  We would keep the washer and dryer.  Ha!  Just Kidding!!!  We kept the pugs!

The previous month I had been without the washer and dryer and had been washing diapers by hand, so I was familiar with one way of making it work.  But I didn’t want to hand wash diapers for a year!  The washing part was easy, but wringing them by hand was killing my hands and the diapers.  Of course I could take them to a laundromat, but Charlie’s Soap cleans out washing machines and the gunk inside of a commercial washer accumulates on my diapers.  Charlie’s Soap is my favorite, and I don’t like spending $10 a week or more on laundry.

I searched the web for a clothes wringer.  I was thinking of something like one of those hand crank things from long ago.  I found some, but I also came across a great website.  It’s call the Laundry Alternative, and their main focus is to provide an alternative for the apartment dweller and people who don’t have the room or access to a conventional washer and dryer.

I was absolutely amazed!  I ordered the Wonder Wash and the spin dryer (though let’s be honest, I just bought the Wonder Wash to try, but I was truly amazed and excited about this spin dryer).

I was enjoying my new toys and I stayed on top of doing laundry for a good 2 weeks.  But then the novelty wore off and suddenly I found myself in a rut.  Being at home with a small baby makes it hard to do anything but take care of the baby.  It’s so hard to find a minute to myself, let alone to do laundry and dishes by hand.  It only took a day or two and the laundry, dishes, and housework had piled up to where it became a huge burden.

I began doing our laundry at the laundromat and washing the diapers in the tub.  I was so behind that I didn’t have time to rinse the poopy diapers.  Normally you don’t have to rinse breastmilk poo off diapers as a conventional washer has no problem removing it.  But hand washing is another story, and I was letting them sit for days and was dealing with crusty poo and giant stains.

My husband is absolutely amazing.  He works 14 hour days while we’re living here and so on the weekdays all this stuff is my responsibility.  On the weekends we would spend the day doing laundry, dishes and housework together.  I felt terrible because our time together is so valuable and I didn’t want to spend it doing this.

One night after a hard day of playing catch up, I broke down.  I  missed my washing machine!  I would have given anything to have one! I was feeling very sorry for myself. 

The next morning I was sick of my “wo is me” attitude.  I decided to take action and do something about it.  So I did as I always do in this situation and I write everything down.  I wrote down the problems I was facing and possible solutions for these problems. 

The solution was simple.  I needed to make washing diapers the highest priority of my day.  If I could just do that, then my day would be complete and I could feel a huge sense of accomplishment. 

So that morning I washed a days worth of diapers in the Wonder Wash, spun dry them and hung them to dry on the porch and was done by 7:30.  I couldn’t believe I had fixed my huge problem so easily!  This is how everyday’s been now for about 2 weeks!  I just do diapers in the morning, another load in the afternoon and by doing 2 loads a day laundry never piles up.

So here’s a trick I’ve learned.  Rinse the poo off as soon as the diaper is changed.  If I do this then it takes me 15 minutes start to finish for a load of diapers.  That’s it!  A conventional washer and dryer takes hours to finish one load.

The spin dryer is my favorite part.  I put the diapers in without even squeezing a drop of water from them and after 3 minutes they come out almost dry.  I just put them outside in direct sunlight for about 2 hours and they are dry.  With regular clothes it only takes an hour and they don’t have to be in direct sunlight.  I would recommend buying a spin dryer with a conventional washing machine and dryer because it will cut your drying time in half.  This is good for your power bill and the environment!  You would not believe how much water comes out of the clothes!

Well, now my issues have been resolved and I feel great.  I know something else will come up soon as that’s how life is.  But for now I’m completely happy with our laundry situation.  Do I still want for a conventional washer?  Oh yes!  You would not believe how much I miss it, but this is a temporary situation and I’ll have one soon enough.  However, I’ve decided how pointless a dryer is and I don’t believe I’ll ever buy one of those energy suckers again!

Now I just want to point out the benefits of the Wonder Wash.  It is hand powered and you don’t have to use electricity.  It uses a fraction of the water and soap.  There is no agitators so it is very gentle on your clothes.  You can even wash wool in it without it felting!  I think it gets the laundry cleaner than a conventional washer too.  The spin dryer is just amazing!  It uses a tiny amount of power and it hasn’t made a bit of difference on our power bill.  So there are many things about this that appeal to my environmental side.  But like other environmentally friendly things, it’s just a bit more work.

Soon I’ll post a video about how I use it.  But for today, I wanted to share my story and say that I could have easily switched to disposables, but I am committed to a cloth lifestyle.  Also I just want to say that today (and everyday) all cloth diapering mamas can smile to themselves because you are making a huge difference, to the environment, your babies and to yourself.  I hope today you feel satisfied knowing that you have committed yourselves to a cloth lifestyle too.

 Here’s a pic of my new washer and dryer.

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