Believe it or not, we do get winter here in the Lower Mainland. It’s not four feet of snow like the rest of Canada, but it is cold, wet, and windy. We get seemingly never ending cold drizzle and rain for weeks at a time, and that damp really chills you down to the bone.
I suspect Norwegians have a pretty good handle on staying warm, and Vibeke, a Norwegian transplant and the mama behind Ella’s Wool, has brought their classic children’s unisex wool leggings to North America. She calls them tubes, and they come in four naturally inspired colours, each named after a landmark in Brooklyn, New York: Fort Greene Moss, Prospect Park Plum, The Old Stone House Gray, and East River Navy Blue. Stretchy, rib-knit tubes are made from 100% pre-shrunk merino wool and, unlike other wool items I have and hardly ever wear because they need to be hand washed, they’re machine washable on cold/delicate using a wool detergent. Sizes go all the way from 9 months (6 months in grey) up to 7 years.
Merino wool is known for its softness and warmth. It’s breathable, naturally heat-regulating, fire-resistant, and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water before it feels wet – perfect for our damp climate. The vast majority of people, including the rest of my family, find that merino fibers are so fine that they do not cause any itching. Unfortunately, my oldest is one of those very few people who do find merino wool itchy, so for her I’ve been layering them over a thin pair of tights. Problem solved. If only I could fix her weird sock seam issues as easily!
Depending on the weather, tubes can be worn on their own, over tights or long johns, or under snow pants or dresses. Kay finds her tubes very comfortable, and she’ll happily wear them all day long. She received the Prospect Park Plum tubes, but I tend to think of this colour as closer to a deep burgundy. Either way, the colour is very pretty and dark enough to go with almost anything she wants to wear with it.
Tubes look great paired with a shirt or under a casual dress. Tee especially loves wearing dresses, even if they’re not actually appropriate for the weather, and she’s always asking to wear her tunic to school instead of pants. Fortunately, tubes also go perfectly under her uniform to keep her warm and dry to and from school as well as the entire time she’s playing outside. The neutral grey colour goes well with both her school uniform and whatever outfit she wears on the weekend.
One of the coolest things about wool that I learned from my cloth diapering days is that wool doesn’t need to be washed as often as other fabrics. Merino wool is considered “self-cleaning” in that it resists soiling and doesn’t hold odours. Creatine in the wool naturally breaks down bad-smelling bacteria from the skin by just airing it out. This makes tubes a lot easier to take care of than you might think!
Speaking of diapers, even though we’re not using them anymore, of course I’m still going to pay attention to how these might work for little ones still in fluff. The answer is awesome! These are adjustable just like Maxaloones cloth diaper pants with their fold up legs and a high waist, but made in luxury merino wool to keep your baby warm all winter.
We’re not babywearing anymore, but I wish we’d had these during all those cold, windy winters throughout our babywearing years. You can see how much length these tubes have to spare in the leg. Because the legs are so adjustable, you can easily pull them down to keep little ankles and feet warm in any carrier you might have.
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