Knitted Balaclava Pattern

Please note: This pattern also also has a page on Ravelry.

Knitting a balaclava is relatively easy, once you’ve got the basic idea you can knit one for any size head using pretty much any weight of yarn.

The pattern given is for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, however to use a different weight of yarn is reasonably easy if you knit a test square (yes I know most people hate them, but really, they don’t take long and it’ll be worth it to get the balaclava you want – because they don’t take long either!)

Knit a test square and measure the gauge – you don’t need to be too concerned about rows, concentrate more on stitches across. For the example below the gauge was 11st to 5cm on 4.5mm needles.

Measure the child (or adults) head from temple to temple at the widest point of the head (or where you want the balaclava to go to around the face – remember you will also be adding ribbing, so leave space for that). For Ted this was 28cm, soooo, 25cm is 55 st (if 11st=5cm), then better to add a little more than a little less so I rounded up and added a further 5st to make up the extra 3cm. So that gives 60st across the back of the head.

Then I add 22st for the front neck (the 2 are sewing up allowance). If you measure round the head at the widest point and subtract the stitches for the back of the head this should give you an idea of the stitches needed, but remember ribbing is stretchy, so you’ll need less stitches than if you were stst. For some reason, so far, around 20 stitches is what I’ve needed apart from when I knitted the pink one in sockweight, then I needed about 40, so double what is needed for aran.

When ribbing, use needles a size or two down from the needles you will be using for the main body of the balaclava.

Erm, you’re pretty much good to go then following the pattern below, but altering it to your gauge.
With a bit of practice you can branch out and add cabling, etc.

Please note: This is written up from my notes as I tend to knit alot of things as I go along and I’m not that good at making notes! I will do another test knit of this at some point, but in the meantime it might need a little tweaking 🙂

Glossary of terms:
  • bo: bind/cast off
  • CO: cast on
  • k: knit
  • k2tog: knit 2 together
  • p: purl
  • p2tog: purl 2 together
  • rib: k1, p1, repeat
  • sl1: slip 1 stitch
  • stst: stockinette stitch
  • skpo: skip one (as if to knit), knit 1, pass slipped stitch over knitted stitch
  • Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
  • 4 and 4.5mm needles
  • 4mm circular or dpns
  • stitch holders>
To make:

1. Using 4mm needles co on 82st
2. Rib atleast 15 rows, bo 1 at beginning of final 2 rows.
3. Put 10 stitches at each end of piece on holders.
4. Rejoin yarn to central stitches and using 4.5mm needles stst to top of child’s head ending with knit row

Shape top of head
5. P39, p2 tog, turn
6. Sl1, k19, skpo, turn
7. Sl1, p18, p2tog, turn
8. Sl1, k18, skpo, turn
9. Continue in this matter until all the sides are picked up along the central panel. Leave stitches on a holder.

Face ribbing
10. Join front at bo stitches. Place the bottom held stitches on a 4mm circular or dpns. Pick up 21 stitches up the side, add top stitches onto circular, then pick up 21 stitches down the other side.
11. Rib atleast 6 rows and then bo loosely.

Conditions of Use and Copyright:

Copyright: Nikki Wall 2017 @
This pattern is provided free for non-commercial use. Please do not sell balaclavas made from this pattern. If you would like to use balaclavas made from this pattern to raise money for charitable purposes, please contact me.

Please do not distribute the pattern on other sites – however, you’re more than welcome to link to it here!

If you make a balaclava from the pattern, please let me know, I’d love to see photos and include them on here. Thank you.


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