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CRAFT: Cozy Up to Yarn
Lion Brand Yarn


Balaclava 4Ways2
By Nikol Lohr
The balaclava, named after the town of Balaclava in Crimea (now Ukraine), was originally worn by Russian soldiers in the Crimean war. While the balaclava retains a military association, it’s also well loved by skiers and climbers for its flexibility and warmth. A sort of sock for your head, the balaclava is wonderfully warm and efficient — doing double duty as both hat and scarf in a single garment, without the added bulk and fuss of a separate scarf. It has an opening in the front, which can be stretched to reveal just your eyes, your eyes and nose, or your whole face. The extra length can be folded over to make an extra-warm hat, or you can pop your whole head through the front opening and wear it as a cowl.
The balaclava is a marvelously practical garment that everyone in a cold climate should own. It eliminates the trouble of finding hat and scarf and bundling up like Ralphie if you’re just running to the mailbox or walking the dog on a bitter cold day. Of course, the classic black or olive drab balaclava might give you a S.W.A.T./bank robber vibe that you’re not really going for — and it might not be the wisest look when you’re popping into the corner store for some beer. To shake off the alarm factor, I’ve made this one in a totally plush sugary pink cashmere blend, with lots of cushy cables for added warmth.

Materials

4 skeins Lion Brand Cashmere Blend in Light Pink (70% merino, 30% cashmere, 1½ ounces/40g, 84 yds/77m), or next-to-skin soft worsted yarn of your choice
1 US 7 16″ circular needle
1 set US 7 DPNs
Extra circular needle, US 7 or smaller
or use one of the DPNs
Cable needle, US 7 or smaller or use one of the DPNs
Yarn needle
Stitch marker

Abbreviations

C6B cable 6 back
C6F cable 6 front
CO cast on
K knit
k2tog knit 2 stitches together as one (decrease)
P purl
p2tog purl 2 stitches together as one (decrease)
PU pick up
rnd round
RS right side
ssk slip, slip, knit: slip 2 stitches individually, knitwise. Knit them together as one (decrease).
st(s) stitch(es)

Directions

Gauge: 4″=18 st and 26 rows in stockinette st
Step 1: Bottom Edge
With your US 7 circular needle, CO 108, join in the round (being careful not to twist your stitches), and place the stitch marker.
*K2 P2, repeat from * to end of rnd.
Repeat previous round 5x more.
Next 2 rnds: *K2, P2, K12, P2, repeat from * to end.
Balaclava Step2
Step 2: Start Cable Pattern
Note: For help with cables, see Special Techniques, below.
Rnd 1 (Cable): *K2, P2, C6B, C6F, P2, repeat from * to end.
Next 7 rnds: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K12, P2, repeat from * to end).
Work full cable pattern (8 rnds each) 9 times.
Balaclava Step3
Step 3: Front Opening
Rnd 1 (cable): *K2, P2, C6B, C6F, P2, repeat from * to end.
Rnd 2-3: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K12, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 4: K2. Transfer 34 stitches to spare circular or DPN. CO 34 stitches with cable cast-on (for help with cable cast-on, see Special Techniques, below). Finish round in pattern knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls.
Rnd 5-8: Resume pattern (*K2, P2, K12, P2, repeat from * to end).
Work full cable pattern (8 rnds each) twice.
Balaclava Step4
Step 4: Crown
Switch to DPNs when necessary.
Rnd 1: Work Cable Rnd: *K2, P2, C6B, C6F, P2, repeat from * to end.
Rnd 2: *K2, P2, ssk, K8, k2tog, P2, repeat from * to end–96 st.
Rnd 3: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K10, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 4: *K2, P2, ssk, K6, k2tog, P2, repeat from * to end–84 st.
Rnd 5: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K8, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 6: *K2, P2, ssk, K4, k2tog, P2, repeat from * to end–72 st.
Rnd 7: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K6, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 8: *K2, P2, ssk, K2, k2tog, P2, repeat from * to end–60 st.
Rnd 9: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K4, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 10: *K2, P2, ssk, k2tog, P2, repeat from * to end–48 st.
Rnd 11: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K2, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 12: *K2, P2, k2tog, P2, repeat from * to end–42 st.
Rnd 13: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P2, K1, P2, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 14: *K2, p2tog, K1, p2tog, repeat from * to end–30 st.
Rnd 15: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K2, P1, K1, P1, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 16: *k2tog, P1, K1, P1, repeat from * to end–24 st.
Rnd 17: Work in pattern, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls (*K1, P1, repeat from * to end).
Rnd 18: K2tog across rnd–12 st.
Break yarn and thread onto yarn needle. Run needle through all live stitches, cinch, tack down, and weave in ends.
Step 5: Opening Edging
Transfer held sts to US 7 circular. With RS facing and at the left end of the held stitches, PU 2 stitches in gap between held stitches and cast-on edge. PU 34 st across cast-on edge, one through the bottom of each cast-on stitch, then PU 2 more st in opposite gap.
Loosely BO all stitches, leaving last stitch live.
Balaclava Step5A
PU 1 st through back side only of first bound-off st.
Balaclava Step5B
Immediately BO loosely. Repeat around opening, break yarn, and weave in ends.

Special Techniques

Cables
The fancy branching cable is super easy, formed by 2 opposite cables (C6B+C6F) flush against each other.
C6B: Cable 6 Back: Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle. Move the held stitches to the back of your work, and knit next 3 stitches off the left needle. Then knit the 3 held stitches off the cable needle (don’t twist cable needle — keep the RS facing forward).
C6F: Cable 6 Front: Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle. Move the held stitches to the front of your work, and knit next 3 stitches off the left needle. Then knit the 3 held stitches off the cable needle (don’t twist cable needle — keep the RS facing forward).
Balaclava Techniques1
C6B in progress. The 3 slipped stitches are held in the back of work while the next 3 stitches are knitted.
Balaclava Techniques2
C6B completed. Before the C6F is worked, you can see that this is just a regular cable.
Balaclava Techniques3
The first 3 stitches are held in front while the next 3 are knit.
Balaclava Techniques4
Afterwards, the reserved stitches are knit in order to complete the cable.
Cable Cast-On
This is a stable but stretchy cast-on that can be used in the middle of knitted work.
Balaclava Techniques5
First turn your work so that you’re heading in the opposite direction. Insert your needle into the last stitch from the previous row, then knit that stitch.
Balaclava Techniques6
Then slip that stitch back onto the left needle. Repeat until you have the desired number of stitches.
About the Author:
Author Nikollohr
Nikol Lohr lives at The Harveyville Project with her partner, 2 cats, 7 sheep, and 7 hens. She’s the author of Naughty Needles & founder of Yarn School. She blogs at The Thrifty Knitter, is cupcake on ravelry, and queenievonsugarpants on Flickr.


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