While I have a page here called Make Your Own, which explains where to find the best patterns and help on making your own wool diaper covers, I wanted to touch on a few points about picking wool for your DIY wool diaper covers. After you read this, check out DIY wool diaper covers : washing and felting.
I personally hand pick recycled wool sweaters in a warehouse in NYC. I pick through bales of pre-sorted wool sweaters and choose the ones I think will work the best for diaper covers. I pick 200-400 sweaters at a time, and I’ve slowly gotten better at picking sweaters!
There are all types of wool sweaters, but not all of them are ideal for diaper covers. In my opinion, here are a few simple rules to help guide you:
I avoid “machine washable” wool or “superwash” wool. This wool is usually fine merino wool that has been chemically treated to be able to handle the agitation and temperature of a washing machine. Because of this, the wool will not felt at all (usually no matter how much you wash or dry). You need a bit of felting for the wool to be bulletproof against moisture.
100% wool will be absorbent and water resistant. The reason I avoid it is because it is usually not as soft as lambswool or merino.
Cashmere is a favorite among many cloth diapering families. I choose not to work with it as a diaper cover because it compresses easily and is not as bulletproof as lambswool and merino.
I say “YES!” to 100% lambswool, or any blend of lambswool as long as the lambswool content is 80% or more.
Thicker merino wool that is NOT superwash or machine washable.
Merino wool interlock that you purchase new is an excellent choice.
With regards to a lambswool/angora/nylon blend:
These often have amazing painted or printed patterns. They can have a hairy texture from the angora. If they are felted enough, they can perform well enough as a diaper cover, especially when reinforced with an extra wet zone layer.
What wools do you like to work with?