Mom Up or Go Home


Blogger Here I Come!

Like many bloggers before me, I am packing up my wordpress blog and heading for greener posts through blogger. Please click over and join me at my new location. I’ve been doing a lot of work and I’d love you to see what’s come of it! I will continue to post of Casein Free Cooking, Crafts, Parenting, and all the joys that come along with these!

http://momuporgohome.blogspot.com/

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Wool Dryer Balls: How To & Review

I learned of Wool Dryer Balls about 4 minutes before I decided I was making them. It all stemmed from trying to find a way to soften my son’s cloth diapers. I was looking for the as seen on tv rubber jobbies and I quickly read about using tennis balls. Momentarily after the tennis ball incident I clicked on a lovely page that I cannot find at the moment that described Wool Dryer Balls and why in the world anyone would use them. Here’s my impromptu run down on why and how:

Dryer Balls Rock because:

-They beat your clothes up, but in a nice way, softening them (nearly as well as the chemicals in fabric softening sheets do).
-As they bounce around the dryer they heat up and disperse the heat while separating clothes thus lessening dryer time.
-Speaking of bouncing- they really are not that loud. In fact they are a nice little tumble in the background.
-They are Hug-A-Treeable, as green as it gets.
-The natural oils found in the wool act as a natural (safe) softener for clothes
-Cloth diaper safe (let’s mention point number 2 again: Lessens dryer time!)
-Cute (Yea I’m grasping here- but I get a certain joy out of seeing them sit perfectly in my basket reminding me they are ready to tumble when I am). Honestly.
-Easy to make
-Inexpensive

What are these things anyway?

Wool Dryer Balls are balls made of wound wool yarn that have been felted. By using 6-8 balls in your dryer they eliminate the need for any softener (liquid or sheets) plus give you the other benefits listed above.  I used Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s Wool. It was about $10-15 for a skein at Hobby Lobby. I really should have displayed some patience and waited for a 50% coupon to come in the mail. I’ve noticed you can also find this yarn online- that might be worth doing the price comparison on. I also bought a very very small crotchet hook for about $1. You will also need an old nylon and I’ve read that an old light weight sock will work too.

Supplies:

1 Skein of 100% natural wool (no polyester here, folks).
1 crotchet hook
1 old nylon/pantyhose (cut the leg of one to use)

Do it:

Take the yarn and pull it from the skein so you have plenty of yarn to work with (you’ll be doing this repeatedly). Between your pointer finger and thumb wrap a few rounds of 1 inch long ovals. Now you have something to wrap around to create a ball! Begin wrapping the yarn around the long skinny oval loop you made and continue rotating the wool ball as you go so it’s evenly wrapped. Wrap until the ball is about 5 inches in diameter.  Cut the yarn leaving a few inches. Take your crotchet hook and pull the end through the other end of the ball to secure the tail. Repeat until you have 6-8 balls. One 8oz. skein made 6 dryer balls plus I have extra that may or may not be able to make a 7th. After all of the balls are complete and secured, put them into the leg of a nylon one at a time and I just tied the nylon off after each one was inserted- like a sausage link. Throw this wool ball caterpillar into a regular load of wash and toss it into the dryer with the same load. Wash as normal. I did this twice to felt the balls twice. Felting sort of seals the surface of the ball. I’ve read that it can be suggested to take the balls and wrap them again and basically repeat this process. I did not and I like my dryer balls like they are. Oh and plan on noticing a little shrinkage after they are felted.

Wool Dryer Ball Real-Life Review:

Bottom line- LOVE THEM!

But seriously. The only complaint I can muster up is that after several uses there is a bit of piling on the balls. These lint bunnies can be sweater shaved off or just yanked off. Otherwise I am astounded at the dryer time that is cut by using these. I must say that the softness of the clothes is not *as* soft as when I used dryer sheets, but I hate crunchy clothes and these are pretty soft! The noise level of the balls tumbling around is not too bad. I used to have an apartment sized washer and dryer in my kitchen-right between my kitchen and living room and it really didn’t add much noise. A gentle tumble is all I noticed. I’ve been line drying my cloth diapers recently but when i was drying them I think the ball worked great.

What are your thoughts on dryer balls? Do you have any questions?



How I Became a Cloth Diapering Momma, and What I Learned Along the Way.
November 21, 2010, 8:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“I am in no way a professional. Many’a mom has come before me and they are more knowledgeable than I. But, everyone has a story, and this is mine.”

I remember riding in my sister-in-law’s car and hearing about how her sister was committed to cloth diapering (until she tried it). My response, a loud, resounding “EWWWWWW!” “Ewwwww” is the same response I received from a close friend when they discovered I had was standing in the unknown territory of Cloth Diaper Land.

Why in the world did my mind change? Was it a strike of sudden consciousness to hug trees? No. I recycle, mostly because it saves me money on buying trash bags. I also figure if I have to pay monthly for those recycle bins whether I use them or not, so I’d better make it worth my money! Did you get it yet? It’s right there.

I am a Class A Tightwad.

That’s all there is to it. I get “free” diapers at my husband’s grad school’s co-op. The sad thing is we don’t receive enough diapers to keep us in supply. I bought my first package of disposable diapers and one by one threw them away. Two hours of use and -BAM- trash. “This can’t go on!” I thought to myself.

Like most decisions in life it isn’t just one thing that changes a mind, it’s a compilation of circumstances. So in addition to my money pinching desires there was a “situation” that got me thinking. My son’s circumcision started bleeding a little too much. After a frantic-first-time-mom-call to the pediatrician I had my Mom Up assignment. “Wait. You mean I’m supposed to put a washcloth INSIDE his diaper?!” All I could think was “What happens when he poos?!”. Turns out Drs orders did the trick. The washcloth kept pressure on the circumcision and the bleeding eased up. But there were still dirty wash cloths. I guess it’s true, you do a lot of things you never expect you can when you’re put in the situation. Washing out the wash cloths was not a big deal at all, when it came down to it!

The third factor that made me into a Cloth Diapering Momma is a dear friend who was excited to tell me that her cloth diaper order would be coming in the mail “any day now!”. This is when I scoffed- SCOFFED- and rolled my eyes asking “Why would you do that?!” between “ewwws!” and “blechs!”. I never knew anyone who cloth diapered. I really didn’t know people did that anymore. Well any -normal- person anyway. So I clicked my way through google and educated myself on this new, usual world. Then, before I knew it, I put a bid in on ebay for my first Kawaii diaper covers! I was going to try this out!

In addition to the Kawaii diaper covers I purchased a Kawaii pocket diaper, a Bummis Swimmi diaper, a Bum Genius 3.0 AIO, a Bum Genius Flip insert, and I was given a TON of old prefolds by a VERY generous lady.

What I’ve Learned about Covers & Prefolds/ Flats, AIO, and Pocket Dipes

Covers & Prefolds (and Flats too)

As mentioned above, I have 6 Kawaii diaper covers. They are made of PUL which is a waterproof material that feels more like fabric, less like plastic- very nice! The covers are also OS (One Size) too. This means there are a series of snaps that allow the rise of the cover to be adjustable in size! Covers are also sold in specific sizes, I didn’t go this route because I didn’t want to buy a full stock of covers in each size- the OS covers will be able to be used for much longer! I was the covers with regular laundry (on cold) and hang them to dry.The cool thing about using diaper covers is if they are just peed in you can rinse them off really quickly and hang dry them and reuse them without having to wash them every time. I’m getting along pretty well with only 6 covers. It would be nice to have more, but certainly doable.

The prefolds I have are diaper service quality. This is important because they are nice and thick and absorbent. Gerber brand prefolds are thin and light weight. I think they work best as burp rags, not as diapers because of their lack in absorbency. Flats are big pieces of fabric that need to be folded into a diaper to use. I once saw a youtube video about how to use those little flannel receiving blankets and fold them into the “origami” style to use them as a flat. They were not very absorbent at all, but I do like the idea of using a flat. I spent a lot of time on youtube watching demos, learning how to fold diapers in different ways. I would recommend this activity if you are interested in using flats, or even prefolds. The great thing about flats is there is very little dry time! they come unfolded to wash and dry so more surface area is being dried at a time.

All in Ones (AIO)

All in Ones or “AIO” are a disposable diaper in style, only made of fabric. They are portable, compact, and some are even One Size (OS) like mentioned above. They are so handy and *CUTE*. The bummer is they dry much more slowly than the prefolds and the flats. Because all of those lovely absorbent layers are sewn together in one handy package,  all of those layers make a thick, slow drying diaper. AIO are not always OS and so you would need to buy a whole stock of them in each size.  -not my style! But I can most certainly see why moms and dads choose this route!

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers are the best of the two worlds- they are compact and easy to use like a disposable, and they come apart to wash and dry like covers and prefolds do. This means there is a bit more prep work to stuff the removable absorbent “insert” in place after drying, but I have to say these are my favorites! The drag is you can’t reuse the covers because it gets dirty during every use. But a special bonus is you can choose to use more than one insert to create a custom level of absorbency in your diaper.

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I had a really hard time at first. I wanted to see everything, feel it. Youtube videos were my bread and butter.  And my tactile drive is what ultimately pushed me to buy some overs on ebay. I needed to work with the diaper to really see how they worked and washed. I would recommend tons of research if you’re thinking about this. Get in touch with women (even if it’s online) who are CD Moms. They would LOVE to talk to you about it I’m sure of it. If you can find a retailer to talk to, that’d be great too. Look at an online company that is based in your area and see if the manager would be interested in meeting in person with you.

I could go on and on about Cloth Diapers (CD)  and the art of CDing, so I’ll sign off and give you time to wrap your head around this idea.