Wool Diaper Covers

Diaper soaker that Owen was too big for at birth.

As most of you know, I have a 9 month old son. My husband and I chose to cloth diaper for a variety of reasons. Namely it’s better for the environment, better for the baby and also better on the wallet. Well, better for the wallet if your baby doesn’t go through 4 sizes in 8 months but that’s another story.

 One of the more interesting things I learned while doing endless hours of cloth diaper research involved the qualities of wool. It turns out that with the addition of natural lanolin wool is both water resistant and antibacterial. These are very useful properties when it comes to diaper covers. Lanolin comes from sheep and is a wax. It is water resistant and this combined with the fact that wool absorbs%30 of its weight before it feels wet makes it a great material for a diaper cover. Lanolin is also slightly antibacterial so the diaper covers don’t need frequent washing like you would expect. When urine touches the lanolin it creates a soap like substance. It’s almost self-cleaning. Wool diaper covers only need to be washed every 2 or 3 weeks; very convenient for busy parents. One last quality that makes wool great for diaper covers is its breathability. If you think about it, none of us walk around in plastic clothes. That sounds like it would be miserable. I would rather have wool any day so I think my baby would too.

In the midst of all my diaper research I came across commercial wool diaper covers. They were all around $30 or more. I’m sure they are wonderful but that’s way out of my price range for a diaper cover. Especially considering the fact that I would need half a dozen or so. Then it occurs to me that I am a knitter and I knit with wool. I’m sure you can see the light bulb going off in my head. I am obviously not the first person to have this idea. Not to mention all of the women throughout history, there is actually a whole Yahoo group for users and knitters of wool diaper covers. “Lucky me,” I think, “Someone has already done the work of designing a cover for me.” There are actually quite a few diaper cover patterns out there. I’ll provide links to a few at the end of this post. I could knit a whole diaper cover with yarn to spare for less than $8. This sounded like a much better deal. Plus I love knitting practical things.

For me the maternal nesting instinct took the form of knitting wool diaper covers. They didn’t take long to knit and it was very satisfying. I knit a few newborn covers and some in the small size. Owen was born at almost 10lbs so that ruled out using the newborn sizes right off the bat. Then he gained a pound a week for the first month so there went another size. To make a long and repetitive story short, he’s just now slowing his growth down to a point where it’s actually feasible to knit some covers that he might be able to wear for more than a month. There was no way I was spending what little time I had knitting covers that he was going to grow out of so fast.

Most of the diaper cover patterns I’ve tried have been pretty good.
They probably fit great on most babies but they just don’t fit right on mine. The best cover I found was the Warm Heart Woolies Wrap. It works great but it involves either sewing on Velcro or buttons. I would rather have a pull on style, especially since the baby is learning how to pull the Velcro and take his cover off. Another pattern I liked was the Snap Dragon Soaker. It’s knit from the top down in the round. It uses the Kitchener stitch to seam the crotch so it is seamless when you are done. The crotch is a bit narrow and you have to pick up stitches around the legs to make the cuffs. I crocheted cuffs so it was a lot faster. It seemed as though there was one little thing wrong with each pattern I tried and they were all different things. So I got to thinking that it would be really nice to combine elements from both of these covers into one. Now you have me designing my own diaper cover. I’m on the third incarnation and I’m hoping that the changes I make to this one will make it perfect for my baby. Unfortunately, the changes include short rows. It’s about time I figure out this wrapping thing.

One really awesome thing about the cover I’m working on at the moment is that I’m knitting it out of my own handspun yarn. I had it died a pretty blue and the places where the yarn was tied aren’t died as deeply or not at all. Even my husband commented on the really nice effect the color variations make. It goes from a blue to a lighter blue to white. This is the first thing I’ve knit from my handspun and I’m really enjoying how it’s knitting up.

Here are a few diaper cover patterns. When making these to use with cloth diapers it is important to use regular feltable wool. If you’re making a cover to go over a disposable diaper just for looks, you can use whatever yarn you would like.


Warm Heart Woollies Wrap

Snap Dragon Soaker

Down Under Diaper cover


More Information:

More than you ever wanted to know about lanolin.

How to wash wool diaper covers

Just in case you were wondering the history of diapers.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pattiisknittinginflashes
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 22:47:22

    Have you checked out Curly Purly diaper covers? Here’s a link: http://www.curlypurly.com/pdf/soaker.pdf

    My daughter used cloth diapers for her twins and I knitted the diaper covers for them.


    • crystal
      Jul 24, 2011 @ 23:40:30

      Oh, thanks, I hadn’t run across that pattern before. I like the way she did the short rows. I think I’ll use her method instead of placing them all together. I will definately have to knit this pattern soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: