My last post talked about how I have been felting wool blankets I have picked up at thrift stores by washing them on hot in the washing machine and then putting them in the dryer until they felted as much as I wanted them to. No you get to see what I am doing with the blankets and boy is it saving us a TON of money while also being very green and making our nursery safer.
First I want to preface this post by saying I was raised by artist drop out hippies so I blame them at least partially for my mistrust of some commercially made products. I am sure I also got my thriftiness from them too as I remember my mom’s response when I wanted to buy something often being, “Why don’t you try to make that?” It was usually very frustrating but sometimes resulted in something much nicer than we would have bought (shhh dont tell my mom I said that!). Any way when I started looking into things we would need to buy for the baby and setting up a green nursery I came across some rather compelling reserch linking fire retardents and other chemicals to SIDS. This left me a bit weary of the commercially available piddle pads and baby sleep wear as well as crib and bassinet mattresses. We are still trying to decide what to do about a crib mattress as the one we think is safest is quite expensive, but after getting a beautiful wicker bassinet on craig’s list for all of $15 I decided I could totally tackle the project of making a mattress for it. I had already decided to get wool diaper covers for our cloth diapers and when I was registering for baby things for my shower saw that some companies are making wool piddle pads since wool is naturally fire resistant and there for does not have to be treated with the nasty chemicals that other bedding is so I decided to try my hand at making a wool mattress. I was originally going to make a canvis mattress cover and stuff it with wool stuffing but after emailing back and forth with a company that sells wool stuffing was concerened that it would start out to soft to be safe and then compact into something that would be to hard to be comfortable. It was also still going to cost a bit more than I really wanted to spend for something that the baby will only sleep on for a few months at most.
One day I was at one of our amazing local thrift stores (I am sure you will be hearing alot about them on this blog) and saw a peach colored 100% wool blanket. I think I paid all of $3 for it and took it home and put out a plea on facebook for tips on felting it. Low and behold it was much easier than I thought and after running it through the washer on hot with a little wool wash and the dryer on hot about 5 times it came out thick and cushie. I also ended up with a nice sized bag of wool lint that I can use to stuff some toys I have been wanting to make so that was an unexpected score. The blanket went from about 80×85 inches to 60×75 inches.
I thought that I would probably need to make about 4-5 layers to get a mattress the thickness I want and then I would make two more layers to act as piddle pads over that. I read a very good tip when it comes to piddle pads and sheets which is to put two layers on so if there is a diaper explosion in the middle of the night you just have to pull off the soiled sheet and pad and then there is a clean one underneath and you can go back to sleep after changing the kid. I also waited until after my baby shower because we had registered for a bassinet that attaches to our stroller and I wanted to make pads to use in that if some one was kind enough to gift us with it and they were.
To make the layers of the mattress I simply measured the length and width of the bottom of the wicker bassinet and cut out several rectangles the right size.
I then placed them into the bassinet and traced the shapes of the corners and cut those (some more successfully than others). I did have to remeasure at one point as my layers of blanket were geting tall enought htat the bassinet was widening to the point that there was a gap between the mattress and the bassinet which is not safe for the baby as it could get its face stuck in the gap and sufficate (although you arent suppose to have babies in bassinets after they are strong enough to move around much so it wouldnt be as much of an issue in this as it would be in a crib).
When I was done I was satisfied with the thickness.
I also made sure that the mattress was soft enough to be comfortable for the baby but also firm enough to be a safe place for it to sleep. As you can see I was pressing hard enough to turn my finger tips white but not compressing the blanket layers all that much.
For the piddle pads for the bassinet that goes on our stroller I just removed the mattress and traced it onto the blanket and cut it out which worked perfectly.
I also had a fair amount of scrap left over and think I will cut some out to use as changing pads.
After I packed all the wool up into the bassinet Mr. Boots decided to give it his seal of approval. The yellow thing in the bottom left corner is the 30 year old foam mattress that the wicker bassinet came with.
I still have to lanolize the layers and piddle pads and am trying to decide if I want to make a canvas cover for the mattress or just do a simple baste stitch around the outside to help keep the layers from shifting around when we have to change the sheets.
If you are unfamiliar with lanolizing here is a great video that tells how to do it.
I have another pale blue wool blanket that I am still working on felting that I am going to cut up to make into crib mattress piddle pads. I also just got back from another favorite thrift store where I bought them out of 100% wool sweaters to make diaper covers and hopefully a few wool sleep sacks but more on that later!