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Mail call!

Guess what? Thunk's saddle shoulder aran cardigan is finished, blocked, be-buttoned and ready for action! Unfortunately, we still haven't gotten out to do a photoshoot. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to distract you with some pictures of the unexpected knitting-related surprises that have shown up at my door lately. It's been like Christmas over here, people.

First there was some yummy yarn from my MIL. You know you've got it good when the in-laws start sending unsolicited fiber.

I am soft and fuzzy.

A couple of days later my friend Deb swung by bearing a copy of the 1943 Red Heart classic "Woolies for Babies" which, aside from having the single most petulant-looking baby in all of creation featured on the cover (though you can't blame her as she is sporting the Wynken, Blynken 'n' Nod Toe Toasters, Hug-me-Tight, AND Cuddly Cap), has a couple of patterns for "Soakers" inside.


For those of you who haven't run into a soaker lately, it's basically a pair of wooly underpants for your baby to wear over a cloth diaper (which explains the name, though I'm told it's not really as gross as it sounds). Anyway, my pregnant sister Rae (pics here, if you need a refresher) has declared that she's going the anti-disposable route and wants some soakers. I've found a few patterns online, but if any of you have soaker experience and can share any tips/recommendations/favorite patterns/whatever, just drop me a comment or an e-mail. This would be a good time to point out that I've finally put my e-mail up in the sidebar over there. Took me long enough, didn't it?

But back to the mail. A little over a week ago, I received an extraordinarily lumpy package from my cousin Jessica (pic here if you need a refresher) and this little guy was inside!

Hello. I am here to kill you with my adorableness.

Think he's cute from the front? Just wait until you see his little backside:


We decided to call him Max for obvious reasons. Tee-hee.


Hehehehe, I spy some Harry Potter on that shelf! And a very cute elephant fanny!

How funny - I was just asked by a cloth-diaper using mommy to knit up soakers and "longies" for her baby. I, too, am looking for info, so I'll be very curious to read what your readers have to say!

I knit 18 soakers for my last little one. It doesnt' seem to matter what weight yarn you use (I used handspun merino), but knit it tight! Also knit them LARGE, because being damp and on a squirmy baby makes them felt very fast whether you want them to or not. Make sure to use a lanolin wash or mix lanolin with castile soap for cleaning them because the urine mixes with the lanolin to make soap. It is true that they don't smell and don't need to be washed every time because of this chemical miracle. When they do begin to smell, or get throughly soaked, then re-lanolize them.

That is such an adorable little elephant! If he is ever in the mood for a trip, my elephants (Ellie and Elmer) would be happy to entertain!

Any idea if she used a pattern? I'd love to knit myself one of those.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but are those the Harry Potter books on the shelf above the yarn? I must admit, I was a bit distracted. Yarn is beautiful, though!

That is the cutest owl I've ever seen!

I've never made soakers, but I pop in on the Wooly Wonders forum from time to time. That whole site is about knitted soakers and making them fit babies' bums with short rows and all sorts of other interesting things I never knew when my kids were babies. General knitting stuff, too, but I'm sure you could find plenty of soaker help there:

Love the elephant!

That elephant is adorable! I want to make one!

That baby in the soaker is totally, "Hahaha, no, seriously, why am I wearing knit granny panties?"

For soaker patterns check out: woolywonder.com and littleturtleknits.com. They both offer pattenrs for soakers, longies, and a lot more. Their patterns are well written and turn out wonderfully! I especially like the "Perfection Pants" pattern from woolywonder.com.

LOL, apparently I'm not the only one who thought, "mmm, Harry Potter books AND yarn!"

Max is adorable!

Try this pattern:


I've cloth diapered all three of my daughters. There are many soaker patterns out there, and I've purchased and knit tons of them. Here are my favorites. (Sorry the links are so long and ugly.)

Little Turtle Knits - Original and Hybrid Soaker

Wooly Wonder - Perfection Pants

The first thing I saw in the yarn photo was the Harry Potter books. I guess it's been on the brain since they announced the release date.

I'd love to hear more about the soakers. I've never really gotten how that works out.

What your sister needs is those little plastic undies that go over cloth diapers. Even with the soakers you will end up soaked as well if you are holding them when they decide to let go.

Get the Picky Pants from Little Turtle Knits. It's about $10, I think, but worth it esp. for butt shaping. LOL. Also, I agree with a previous poster about knitting it tightly. You don't want to see daylight through the stitches when you hold it up to the light. I wouldn't go so far as mitten tight, but maybe worsted weight yarn on 3s.

I made some red "longies" and "shorties" this fall and set in an elastic. You can see them in my gallery if you want. I highly recommend the elastic. I made some when I was pregnant that had ribbing and some with ties and the elastic is waaaaaaaaaaaaay better.

Also, throw in a bottle of eucalan for your sis. It'll save her lots of time on washing cuz you can spin it in the washer.

I dont have any soaker advice, but I did use cloth diappies on my babies at the beginning. They used to sell little blue liners for when the baby (you know). It was really nice for disposing down the toilet and not so much clean up on the diaper. I agree with everyone else-Harry and knitting....on the beach!!!

Aww, precious. I love his tweed and his cool yellow eyes. His bum *is* rather full and darling!

I've also cloth diapered my baby for well over a year now. We use all-in-one mostly but handknitted soakers worked well too. Take a look here http://www.diaperpin.com/diapers/itemlist.asp?subcat=WOOLCOVER. Cheers!

that new yarn looks squishy soft! gotta love in-laws who send yarn! the 'phant is so cute! love his little tail!

I know very little about soakers, but my friend Ninjaknitter is an expert!


The little eliphant is ADORABLE (good name!)

That was some good mail!

I cloth diapered my daughter, and am on the way to cloth diapering my next one, due in March. I highly recommend the patterns from Little Turtle Knits. The directions are outstanding, and they come in a variety of sizes. Do NOT use superwash wool - I would recommend Malabrigo and Blackberry Ridge yarn. I've had a lot of success with those two.

Also, contrary to what a previous poster said, I absolutely do NOT recommend using plastic pants over the soaker. Besides it being a bit redundant, I didn't find I had a leaking problem with my soakers and longies. Plus, wool breathes beautifully and plastic does not. Why use plastic pants if you're trying to be more environmentally aware by cloth diapering? I knit up longies at about 4.5 st/inch and had no problems. Every baby is different, and some soak their diapers quicker or more heavily than others, but that's dealt with using extra liners or different diaper materials.

Good luck knitting those soakers or longies. They're a wonderful and practical gift for the baby. And yes, the other poster is right - Mom will need to relanolize them occasionally, and there's tons of information out there about doing this. It's easily done using a little lanolin you can buy from Target. (It's the stuff nursing mamas put on their nipples to help prevent irritation.)

Cloth diapering can be a lot of fun, and the knit items are always adorable on a baby's tushy!

The pattern for "longies" in EZ's Knitter's Almanac is just about exactly the same as some of the soaker patterns that are for sale or free online. It includes the all important short row shaping.

With cloth diapering, it is all about testing different systems to see what's right for the baby and the momma (and dadda if he's up for it!). I've had little luck with wooly soakers for my gal, and I attribute that to her tendancy to be a heavy wetter. But I'm still knitting soakers anyway!

Good luck to your sister!

That elephant is the cutest thing!!

Swedish reader here. I used cloth diapers on my son so I thought I'd give some advice on the matter...

1. Try to add short legs on the soakers. Like this: http://www.supersebbe.com/pyssel/pyssel38.htm
It does stop a bit of the leaking. But make sure to knit with ease so they're not too tight around the legs.
2. An extra knit piece to put between diaper and soaker will also aid against leaking. (Same page, last photo - boy model, girls are just a straight piece)
3. Make them rather high in the waist. Because the diapers can ride upp and leak that way too...
4. Be SURE to use the right kind of wool. Because there is a difference! And the right wool won't scratch either... Pure wool with the lanolin fat still in it.

Hope it was some kind of help.
Good Luck! :)

Elli -

I know you wouldn't get to knit them - but we use cloth diapers for the HEB as we hated throwing away disposables. We use "bumgenius" by Cotton Babies and we really love them. They are expensive but not when you consider what you'd spend for disposables. They fit well and are easy to clean.
I can tell Rae more if she is interested, have her email me (jenny at highenergyknits dot net)!

Who wouldn't love free yarn? Max is so cute!

I had a blast knitting this soaker a while ago: http://community.livejournal.com/punk_knitters/110889.html. It was for a friend to gift to her friend, so I'm not sure if the kid liked it or not, but I really liked this pattern. Have fun!

Hey, you're a fellow Harry Potter fan! (I noticed the bindings of the first five books in your first picture.)

Love that little elephant!

Hi there - I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I've been getting quite a few people sent my way from your site, so I thought I'd say hello. :)

If you're still looking for information on knitting soakers, I just posted a little primer on the basics at my blog. If you have any questions, feel free to toss them my way - I'll help as much as I can.



another harry potter fan! i'd recognize those jackets anywhere. i have begun the exciting countdown to movie and book and can't wait!!!

i just started checking out your absolutely adorable blog and aside from being truly impressed and inspired by your FO's, i love your site. you're just fun. keep it up!

- kat