Updated: Jun 23, 2022
With testing underway for my bag pattern and the children back at school/preschool, I was able to turn my attention to a pattern I'm writing for a child's soaker on a 22 needle circular knitting machine. I completed the sample for the pattern as a fun challenge of trying to make the soaker from start to finish during Earth Day, although due to falling asleep while putting my sons to bed, I only just made it; the last end got woven in at 23:58! A nice bonus of using casings rather than knitting or crocheting the cuffs and waistband is that the dozens of yarn ends disappear inside leaving only those from changing yarn midway through a panel.
What is a Soaker?
A soaker is a woollen cover for a reusable cloth nappy. The wool is coated with lanolin so it can't absorb and transfer moisture itself and therefore the soaker acts as a barrier between the damp nappy and any absorbent surfaces the child comes into contact with, e.g. clothing and soft furnishings. Unlike a plastic cover, it also allows water from urine and sweat in the wet nappy to evaporate so the child remains drier and cooler, which is especially wonderful on hot summer nights. It's a great way to avoid or reduce the use of single use plastics and to keep the child comfortable too. I get strong protests when I insist on a plastic nappy cover instead after food allergy challenges!
I have never been a glamorous type of cloth nappy user with an extensive, beautiful collection of limited edition print all-in-one and stuffable nappies neatly arranged in the drawers of a changing unit. I'm definitely more of a bucket full of white terry squares and an old blanket on the floor mum but I have to say that I absolutely love this cherry blossom coloured yarn my younger son chose for his woolly drawers and am looking forward to using it each night.
Circular Knitting Machines
Circular knitting machines are a quick way to produce a tube or panel of plain stocking stitch of a size determined by the number of needles, the tension and size of the yarn. These can be seamed and combined in may ways to produce a surprising variety of finished items, from a simple scarf to complex garments and intricate toys. It was the perfect choice for a soaker, a functional but rather plain item that works best with a smooth, even stitch, and enabled me to run up two to alternate in very little time. I wish I'd had one when my first son was born, six years ago. It would have saved me so much time in making them each their next size up when it was needed.