WOOL: FAQ and Lanolizing - YARN: Retailers, Info and Dyeing

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WOOL: FAQ and Lanolizing - YARN: Retailers, Info and Dyeing

Postby blue-eden » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:46 pm

CARING FOR WOOL:


How often do I have to change my wool covers?
Wool that has been used as a cover should be aired out between wears. Simply take off the cover, turn it inside out and let it breathe. The antibacterial nature of the wool will prevent the wool from becoming saturated, and the urine will dry into crystals. After the wool is dry, it can be reused (usually by the next diaper change! :) )

When is it time to wash the covers?
If you have a small rotation, and the cover is seeing heavy use, or if it is being used as a nighttime cover and getting saturated, wash the wool every couple weeks. If not, you can go longer without washing it. If the cover smells like urine when it's dry, if it has poop on it, or if it starts to wick away moisture, wash it before re-using it. When the wool still retains the odor of urine when aired out, it's time to wash.

Diaperware explains why you don't have to wash after every use:

Wool is a natural fiber containing natural oils (fatty acids). It has a natural pH between 5.5 and 6.5 (meaning it is slightly acidic). Urine is mostly urea (which smells like ammonia) and ammonia (pH 7.5-8.5...a weak base) If you remember anything at all from Chemistry 101 it's "acid + base = water & a salt". This holds true on our precious wool. The water, however evaporates, leaving salt residue on the wool fibers. Salt is neutral, and generally does not have an odor which is why we can re-use wool once it is dry. After repeated use, the acidic lanolin is "used up" by the caustic urine and any further peeing will leave an odor because there are no fatty acids present with which it can be neutralized into a salt. You may have read somewhere that wool is self-cleansing and doesn't need to be washed with soap because the lanolin and the urine combine to make their own soap. While true soap is chemically a salt, this statement is grossly inaccurate. Your baby would have to have a serious chemical imbalance to produce urine strong enough to convert the lanolin and woolfats into a true soap and you'd have much bigger problems to worry about than saving a few bucks on woolwash! Wool soap IS necessary and it should have three properties: the ability to cleanse the wool of any dirt or stains, the ability to do so GENTLY (without stripping it of its natural moisture and oils), and the ability to replenish the moisture and lanolin lost through processing, use, and time.



How do I wash the covers?

1. Turn your wool inside out.
2. If it's been used, rinse with running lukewarm/tepid water to get out the urine crystals.
3. Fill up the sink or bathtub with lukewarm/tepid water.
4. Add about 2 tbsp of woolie wash.
5. Soak the wool in the woolie wash for about 10 minutes.
6. Hold up wool and let the water drain out naturally.
7. Don't rinse or squeeze or wring it out.
8. Take a thick towel and roll the wool in the towel.
9. "Block" the wool (ie. reshape it back to normal)
10. Lay it out flat to dry.
Do not expose the wool to drastic temperature changes while it's wet, or it will felt.

What kind of wool wash should I use?

It's best to use woolie wash that is designed for use with wool covers for diapering (ie. not Woolite). Commercial wool washes often have oils that will cause the colours to bleed. The market for diapering woolie wash is plenty full, and you can find a variety of washes in a huge array of scents to please anyone!

Should I use woolie wash that contains lanolin? Does that mean I won't have to lanolize the cover separately?

Most woolie washes contain at least SOME lanolin. This is so when you get a cover dirty before the lanolin has worn off, you won't have to fully re-lanolize. Each wool wash contains a different percentage of lanolin, so it's best to check before you purchase.

However, this lanolin content isn't really heavy enough to sustain the wool for long. It's really just a lanolin 'refresher' to tide you over until you are ready to do a full lanolin treatment.

It's still a good idea, especially if the cover is heavily used or is for overnight, to do a separate lanolin treatment occassionally to protect against leakage.

What about wool wash bars? How do I use those?

Washing with a wool bar is similar to the liquid. While the water is filling up in the sink, lather up the bar with your hands until the water is very lightly cloudy.

Then, carefully rub the bar against the wetzone of the cover. Using your fingers, gently massage the wool to help the soap set in. Don't rub too hard, or the wool might felt.

The best thing about bars, is they are good for getting out stains and dirt! Simply rub the bar LIGHTLY against the affected area and let it sit for a minute.

Put the cover in the water, making sure it gets saturated with water, and let it soak 10 minutes.
Last edited by blue-eden on Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby blue-eden » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:54 pm

Here are some pictures of different kinds of wool wash.
First, the liquid wash with lanolin. The larger bottles are standard size, the small ones on the far left are sample sizes. These are fun to buy, to sample different scents. Wool wash smells divine!!
You have to look very carefully, but you'll notice the wash on the left has a higher lanolin content (more thickness on the bottom than frothiness on top) This is a heavier wash and will sustain the cover for longer between lanolin baths.

Image

This is the wool wash bars. These also can come scented as you like them. The tiny one is a sample; you will often get these free when you purchase wool, yarn or other wool wash products.

Image
Last edited by blue-eden on Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby blue-eden » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:43 am

I keep getting internal server errors.
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Postby blue-eden » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:12 am

How do I lanolize wool? A picture tutorial!
I took some step by step shots of how I lanolize my wool covers.
Step 1:
Make sure the wool is clean (see the post above for how to wash). You can put the freshly washed wool into the lanolin bath while still wet. Make sure to use the SAME TEMP water (lukewarm/tepid) as you washed in.
Take a dab of solid lanolin (about an inch) and put inside a microwaveable bowl that has a cover. Don't use too much lanolin, you only need a dab about the size of a bean. Too much, and you'll overlanolize and your covers will be "tacky".
Image
Step 2:
Add some water to the bowl and microwave for about 2-3 minutes, depending on your mic. Check to make sure the lanolin has liquified.
Image
Step 3:
Add a small amount of baby soap, or other mild soap, to the lanolin water (about a half teaspoon) and shake it. The baby soap will help break up the lanolin so it dissolves.
Image
Step 4:
Add the wash solution to the tepid water and swish.
Image
Step 5:
Add the covers to the wash water, and hold down until they are saturated.
Allow to soak for about 30 minutes. You should be able to see a light oilines on top of the water, but not so much lanolin that it coats the sides of the sink. If it sticks to the sides of the sink and becomes gunky and yellow you've put in too much lanolin, it hasn't dissolved properly, or you've forgot the baby soap to help break it up.
Image
Step 6:
After the lanolin has seeped into the wool, make sure enough has gone into the wetzone by holding up the covers and letting some of the lanolin water drain through the wetzone.

Image
Step 7:
Unplug the sink. Keep the covers in the sink as it goes down, to catch all the lanolin you can. Might as well not waste it ;)
Step 8:
Remove the covers and roll in a towel to soak up excess water.
Image
Allow to air dry, or dry in the towel in the sun (to prevent fading).
That's it! New or heavy wool, or wool that is intended for nighttime or heavy use, you might want to lanolize twice if you feel it's not coated well enough. Otherwise, as soon as your wool is dry, it's ready to use!
It will be fresh, and if you chose a scented lanolin, smelling lovely and every so lightly waxy feeling. Jut a teeny tiny bit of wax feeling, not sticky!
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Postby blue-eden » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:13 am

Uh oh!! My wool feels like fly paper! What do I do???
It's overlanolized, but don't worry! You can certainly still use it in this condition, although if it's REALLY bad -- like completely waxy -- you might want to soak it in some warm water, or even in a bath of mild soap/baby soap to help remove some of the lanolin.
Follow the drying instructions for washing wool.
Isn't more lanolin better? Shouldn't it feel sticky, so it's more waterproof?
Actually, lanolin is not supposed to waterproof the wool. Wool already is water resistant, but it's not the same as having a PUL or nylon cover, where no wetness will EVER seep through.
Wool simply absorbs a lot more (up to 40% of its own weight in moisture) and by the time your child wets that much, it's well past time to change the diaper!
If you use too much lanolin, you will affect the breathability of the wool itself. That will affect the way the wool works, and it will actually prevent the wool from being a useful cover - it will prevent the wool from absorbing any moisture and letting the urine evaporate into crystals.
I lanolized my wool and it works perfectly with my overnight diaper. However, it wicks during the day! Why doesn't my wool work all the time?
It's not the wool, it's the diaper.
The diaper you are using for overnight is probably highly absorbent and not saturating the diaper completely with urine. Your daytime diaper is probably lighter weight and not as absorbent.
As is commonly said, "wool is only as good as the diaper underneath it". If your diaper is not absorbent, then the wool will allow the wetness to be compressed through it.
You need to either change the diaper more often to prevent complete saturation, use a more absorbent diaper, or add doublers.
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Postby blue-eden » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:14 am

Making your own wool knits! Let's share some info about where to purchase wool care, knitting notions or yarn :hb:
My favourite places for wool care:
Ewe Need It
Northern Essence
J.O.Y wool wash bars
Kookaburra at Little Blue Frog Works
BlueHouseSoaps
Naturally Luxe
Natural Madison
Bella Junction (also sold at www.sloomb.com )
Face of the Wave

Some favourite places for yarn:
Buggaboo Bottoms
Western Sky Knits
Mosaic Moon
Inspired
Blue Goose Designs
Artiste
Llamajama Yarn Shop
Plum Knit Yarn Supply has plain colours, not just colourways
Little Turtle Knits
LittleBoPeep Knits
Yarn Stash
Selah
Midnight spectrum
Three Irish Girls

A chart guide line when purchasing wool skeins:
Image

Websites for Knitting or Crocheting and Soaker/Longies patterns:

Knitting and Crocheting Resources:

Knitty.com
Knitting Help
Knitting Pattern Central
Free Crochet videos
How to do Japanese short rows
Yarn amount chart and how to twist yarn into a hank
The absolute *best* way to do short rows



Info on Different Kinds of Wool and Yarn:

Mielke's Farm
Blue Goose Designs has GREAT info!

Patterns for Sale
Little Turtle Knits
SheepyPants
Perfection Pants
Soaker pattern from BellaDonna
Odyssey soaker
Seraphim soaker
Fern and Faerie
SnapDragon soaker

A crochet pattern here
Crochet no sew patternhere
Crochet ribby pattern here
Crochet seamless patternhere
A package deal of crochet patterns.
Crochet longies

Recycled wool soaker directions here


FREE patterns!
Crochet patterns, lots of little girl clothes, and skirties
Mehndimama's soaker
TONNES of free patterns to be found here
Lots more here
Cargo pants
Vintage knit patterns
Glamorama
Baby Rompers
Knit jeans
Ottobre Designs
Curly Purly
Longies
Newborn soaker
Intricate Simplicity longies
Intricate Simplicity soakers
A very simple pattern for circular knitting longies
A wrap!!! Warm Heart Woolies


Other good stuff!
You can buy professional dyes at Dharma Trading.
Karen's cloth diapering site has lots of good info about knitting, dyeing, etc.
How to Dye Wool With Kool-Aid
Another one for kool-aid dyeing
A colour chart for mixing colours for kool aid dyes

An indepth review of yarn
More free knit stuff
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Postby basia » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:20 pm

so I have a question. How about using wool covers for a newborn. my little guy's poops (I am breastfeeding) are quite watery so it means that some of the liquid part of poop would get on the cover everytime he has a bowel movement...then I would have to wash the cover very often... right?
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Postby blue-eden » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:06 am

basia wrote:so I have a question. How about using wool covers for a newborn. my little guy's poops (I am breastfeeding) are quite watery so it means that some of the liquid part of poop would get on the cover everytime he has a bowel movement...then I would have to wash the cover very often... right?


I used pretty much only wool for Leo when he was a newborn. It depends which type of diaper you are using. Make sure the elastic on fitteds are snug, and NOT loose around his legs. I found that prefitteds and contours were great for newborn -- they are cut like fitteds, but are easy to put on and snappi/pin like prefolds and usually have bound edges not elastic.
Make sure you fold prefolds snugly, high up the back to prevent poop from going over, and ROLL the legs in towards the bum, to catch the poop.

Some leakage might be inevitable with newborns. But you can just spot clean and air them out, without having to wash the whole thing again if it's just a little bit on the legholes.
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Postby basia » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:24 am

Thank You blue-eden, all the info is very helpful. Just in case I would like to ask (in the event there is a lot of leakage actually) is frequent washing going to destroy the wool covers/soakers quickly?
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