Project Ideas

Balaclavas Are My New Favorite Cold Weather Accessory

I had to run around the city the other day and it was so cold that my teeth chattered as I very swiftly walked down the street.  I can barely stand to go outside as I run from my car to my errands.  I’m sitting on my sofa writing this wearing a sweatshirt AND a sweater.  It’s cold.  I know the temps aren’t that low, but I’m uncomfortably cold.  So when I came across Nanny’s Crown (a new pattern from Deb Hoss) I couldn’t help but think “I NEED that.”  So I decided to explore the world of balaclavas, aka ski masks.  If you’re into Man Repeller and Leandra Cohen’s Instagram feed like I am, you know this is a funny yet practical cold weather accessory.

Leandra Cohen makes balaclavas cool for the rest of us. Thank you Ms. Cohen.

Nanny’s Crown is nice because it doesn’t completely cover your face like you’re a bank robber, it just offer a ton of coverage from cold winds.  Plus you can tip that crown back and wear it like a cowl.  I wanted to find some other options for you.  So I looked… and I found.

Nanny's Hood

Nanny’s Crown calls for Juniper Moon’s Herriot Great, a very soft and warm alpaca that we’ve loved a long time at Wool & Grace.  Herriot Great is warm and has a good amount of drape but the key word here is “warm.”  But if you want to consider another yarn, how about Cascade 128 Superwash or Blue Sky Extra?

Friend of the Forest
Friend of the Forest Hood by Gretchen Tracy

I like the loose drape of Friend of the Forest Hood.  I like it so much that I’m able to overlook that it’s modeled on a mannequin (something that usually turns me off of knitting patterns).  At a gauge of 18 stitches/4″ I want to look at some aran yarns, like Juniper Moon’s Fourteen or Stargazer (both are soft and warm).

Ulhan Cap
Franklin Habit’s Ulhan Cap

Franklin Habit’s Ulhan Cap is utilitarian and basic.  It fits close to the head and will really do the trick when coupled with the hood on your parka.  I also like the model’s facial expression.  Do you think he’s excited to model a balaclava pattern?  Did you also notice that he is shirtless while wearing the balaclava? (All these things make me like this pattern more.)  I also like that this pattern is knit with a worsted-weight yarn on a US5 needle.  That means the fabric is going to be dense and warm.  Pick a soft yarn since its going to fit close to the neck and face.  Shepherd’s Wool is a go-to choice, and knowing that Shelter is a yarn that gifts softer the more you wear it, I’d suggest this yarn, also.  Superwash yarns don’t have the same capabilities for warmth, but they are soft, so consider a yarn like HiKoo’s Sueño Worsted.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but balaclava’s are super cute on kids (not to imply that they’re NOT super cute on adults), but they’re especially cute when they have ears or spikes on them.  Jenny Nicole of Style Me Cozy Designs has a few adorable balaclava patterns with some extra decoration, and they’re knit in a super bulky yarn to make for some fast knitting.  The Dino Balaclava and Berkley Balaclava stand out as completely adorable, and I’m going to really make you’re day when I tell you that they are sized for 6/12 months all the way up to ADULT LARGE.  You can choose a soft super bulky like Loopy Mango Merino No. 5, Spuntaneous or Ushya – or you can double up Cascade 128 Superwash.  There are even more animal balaclava projects to choose from… so check out all of Jenny Nicole’s designs for more cozy and warm cuteness.

Bailey Balaclava
the Bailey Balaclava from Jenny Nicole, cute AND warm!

If you want a basic balaclava in a super-bulky yarn, check out Jenny Nicole’s Bailey Balaclava.  Yes, I think this is appropriate for an adult – especially if you knit it up in a fun shade of Merino No. 5 or Malabrigo Rasta.

I don’t think I can knit up one of these fast enough to keep me warm the next time I have to trudge through the windy city streets, but when I finally do make one, it’s going to be awesome and warm!


1 thought on “Balaclavas Are My New Favorite Cold Weather Accessory”

  1. My sister just brought me home a squishy and warm skein of wool from her visit to Chile. I was looking for a one skein project and a balaclava would be ideal! Thanks for the inspiration!!


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