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Any knitters here? Wool equivalent question.

One of my friends is expecting her first baby soon, and will be having a baby shower two weeks from now. She's vegetarian, but not vegan. And she'll be cloth diapering.

I wanted to knit her some wool soakers (as it's something that is on her "wish list" for gifts). But, I need an alternative to wool! And have NO clue what to use (having no experience with kids and cloth diapers or soakers).

For those not in the "know" wool soakers are what goes over the cloth diaper. They keey the tush warm, keep the cloth diaper more securely in place, and (since natural wool has lanolin in it) repels moisture. On top of that, because it's a natural fiber it allows the baby's bottom to "breathe" ... cutting down on diaper rash.

Is there even an alternative to wool that will work in this same way?

Or should I just knit a bamboo baby blanket and forget "wool" soakers?

Any help is appreciated.  :)

I don't knit, but I crochet!

I find that plain old acrylic is pretty water-resistant (that's what you want, right?). The cheap stuff is generally pretty fuzzy, not always the best texture if you want to make something "nice"... when I'm replacing a soft, smooth-looking wool I use the acrylic/polyester blends; some are practically like mercerized cotton (except they don't absorb!). For fuzzy wools, I get the cheap fuzzy stuff or the bulky/super bulky acrylic... it looks a lot like wool, but you have to check the label.


I thought about that ... but wasn't sure about the diaper rash issue in terms of a breathable fiber.

Though, people put their kids in regular pampers which is plastic, plus chemicals and they survive in terms of skin breathability. So, maybe, it's not such an issue after all.

I might knit up one or two in acrylic to go with a matching bamboo baby blanket. That way I don't give her 12 soakers she may not like, lol. Decisions, decisions.


what about cotton? it is natural and will definably "soak up" any leakage. it sounds like it is more for "holding the diaper on" the bottom vs. being "like" the diaper, correct? so it is a diaper cover?

i don't know if i would use acrylic. it can get "scratchy" on my skin, even the "softer" fancier ones. they do make "baby soft" acrylic yards... those might be good. i would def avoid the really cheap/starchy feeling stuff.


Yes, it's like a diaper cover. Not the actual diaper.

I didn't even think of cotton - have no idea why. I guess I kept hearing "wool soakers" everywhere that I got it into my head that I had to find a man made equivalent, lol. Plus, since I have ZERO experience in diaper covers and changing babies ... I just didn't know what would work.

Cotton seems like it would go over better than acrylic. My friend is ecologically and naturally minded. So, it would be better in that sense too.

Maybe I'll do one in bamboo, one in cotton, one in a soft acrylic and let her pick and choose. Or maybe I'll go for the safe alternative of a hat or some clothing sets. I should decide soon as I only have 2 weeks to knit this.


Don't use cotton. Cotton holds moisture.
I pretty sure bamboo does too. That's what you don't want.
The reason wool is used is for the wicking.
"Soaker" is a misnomer you don't want a cover to "soak" it should stay dry and breathe.

I use PUL covers. But obviously you can't knit those. Sorry.

I checked on this site where I used to get PUL fabric and it says vegans use acrylic yarns.


Hmmm I just thought of this as well.... just because you're CDing doesn't mean you'll use soakers. It depends on the type of CDs you use.
She may not even need soakers...?
I know hats and warm sockies will come in handy if the baby is due soon.


There really is no replacement for wool as a "soaker," due to the natural content of lanolin, the fact that wool "breathes" and the fact that natural sheep's wool can hold 3 times its own weight in water before it feels wet to the touch. Acrylic will *not* work for this, as it doesn't have the absorbency of wool. Sorry!

It's not vegan, yes--but if your friend wants real wool soakers, you'll either have to bite the bullet and make them as a gift for your friend, or make something else out of a fibre you can accept working with.


Yea, I had that suspicion - that there is no equivalent. I have exactly one skein of wool left in my stash from pre-vegan days. But, it's too nice to use as a soaker!

So, unless I find a sheep who wants to donate ... I'll just stick with something traditional - a blanket, a hat, booties, sweater, etc.

Thanks everyone.

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