The Quest for the Perfect Balaclava Knitting Pattern!

Balaclavas are some of the most underrated accessories out there.

When we hear the term “balaclava” we immediately picture a scene from an action movie! Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but you get what I mean!

Image of a thief holding money wearing a knitted balaclava. This image is just here for comedic purposes.

Balaclavas are more than just a dramatic accessory in the movies. These actually have a very important role in protection — the balaclava was originally designed to protect whoever is wearing it.

But protect you from what, exactly?

Let’s talk about that!

A Brief History of the Balaclava

Balaclavas have quite an interesting history.

During the Crimean War around 1853-1856, the British soldiers were struggling to hold up against the harsh cold. To help their soldiers, British women knitted masks and shipped them off to the barracks.

The soldiers then wore these knitted masks to keep themselves warm during The Battle of Balaclava.

The battle happened close to a town called “Balaclava” and eventually, this comfy little head sock became associated with the nearby town!

Cool, right?

Image of a cute smiling child stretching a balaclava in front of their face. This image is intended to show off the finished item of a free balaclava knitting pattern.

Nowadays, balaclavas are often worn by outdoors enthusiasts including skiers, cyclers, and bikers! While they still serve as a means of keeping warm and protecting ears and noses from frostbite, in recent years, they’ve become a popular fashion accessory as well.

Previously knitted with wool, now you will find knitted balaclavas made of other fibers that meet the different needs of the wearer.

Making Your Own Balaclava

If you ask me, balaclavas are pretty cool ways to add some flavor to your outfits no matter the season.

Out for an early morning hike with your family? Keep safe from the chilly morning air with a balaclava. Need to level up a plain outfit? Pop on a colorful balaclava and rock it!

Balaclavas are also adorable on babies and young children. So if you need a quick gift for a baby shower or a way to keep your little one warm, let them wear a balaclava!

“But most balaclavas in the stores are plain and boring…”

Don’t worry, you can easily knit ones for your entire family! All you need is the right free balaclava knitting pattern and I’m here to help you with that.

Check these out!

How to Knit a Balaclava

While they look tricky, balaclavas are actually quite simple to knit. All you will need are the materials and a free knit balaclava pattern to follow.

What You Need to Knit a Balaclava

Following a free balaclava knitting pattern is simple! To start, you need:

  • Knitting needles – In order to follow a free knit balaclava pattern, you will need a pair of knitting needles. You can check for the recommended sizes on your yarn’s label. Pro tip: Using circular needles makes it easier for you to knit in a round aka: a tube!
  • Yarn – You can pretty much get away with using any type of yarn for your free knit balaclava pattern. If you don’t know what yarn you want to use, try starting with a chunky acrylic yarn.
  • Scissors – A pair of scissors is another important tool that you will use for all of your knitting projects. You’ll need them to cut yarn tails and hide loose ends.
  • Stitch markers – You’ll need stitch markers to keep track of what round you’re on. If you don’t have stitch markers, you can use a strand of scrap yarn—preferably in a different color so it’s easy to see. Safety pins are also a good alternative for stitch marker, just be careful not to get pricked!
  • Yarn/darning needle – You will need a yarn needle or darning needle to sew in the loose yarn ends.
  • Balaclava knitting pattern – Finally, you’ll need a free knit balaclava pattern to follow. So keep scrolling!

Choose Your Free Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Well, enough dilly-dallying! I know you’re itching to pick out the free knit balaclava pattern for your next project. So let’s get to it!

Disclaimer: This article contains links to external unaffiliated websites.

Image of a woman wearing the finished free knit balaclava pattern. It's a grey balaclava that covers her nose and mouth.
Photo credits: TNP

1. Antifreeze

By:  Jenna Adorno

YARN: Worsted Weight (Suggested: Karabella Yarns Aurora 8, Cascade Yarns ® Cascade 220®

SIZE: One size – can stretch up to 24 inches

Simple, warm, and easy to make, this Antifreeze balaclava pattern is one that you should definitely try out.

This free knit balaclava pattern is designed to fit snuggly on your head for maximum coziness!

Get the pattern >

Image of a cute baby wearing a teddy bear-themed balaclava. This image shows what the finished balaclava knitting pattern looks like.
Photo credits: DROPS Design

2. Sweet Teddy Balaclava

By: DROPS Design

YARN: DK Weight

SIZE: Infant: 1 – 3 months, Baby: 6 – 9 months, Toddler: 12 – 18 months

Gracing our eyes, here is one of the cutest balaclava knitting patterns ever written!

Made using the moss stitch, this cutesy little balaclava is sure to keep your little one warm and cozy during chilly evenings.

Get the pattern >

Image of a man wearing a knit balaclava that fits snuggly around his face. Another image of a finished free balaclava knitting pattern.
Photo credits: Lion Brand Yarn

3. Helmet Liner #90383

By: Lion Brand Yarn

YARN: Worsted Weight (Suggested: Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool)

SIZE: 19″ [48.5 cm] circumference

If you prefer a sleeker and more fitted look, this free knit balaclava pattern might be the one you’re looking for!

Thanks to the stretchy nature of the stockinette stitch, your finished piece should fit snuggly around your face and neck!

See the pattern >

Image of a smiling child wearing a knit balaclava. This is a photo of the finished Northern Spirit Kids free knit balaclava pattern.
Photo credits: DROPS Design

4. Northern Spirit Kids

By: DROPS Design

YARN: DK Weight

SIZE: Toddler: 2 – 3, 3 – 5; Child: 6 – 9, 10 – 12 years old

If you’re going for optimum warmth for your child, then this pattern should do the trick!

The Northern Spirit Kids balaclava pattern is designed to fit perfectly around your child’s face and neck.

The thick band around the face allows small children to put on and take off their balaclavas without much difficulty.

Give it a go!

Get the pattern >

An image of a baby wearing the finished version of the Toddler Dinosaur free knit balaclava pattern.
Photo credits: Julia Farwell-Clay

5. Toddler Dinosaur

By: Julia Farwell-Clay

YARN: Aran Weight

SIZE: Toddler

This has to be one of the cutest balaclava patterns I have seen!

The Toddler Dinosaur balaclava knitting pattern is the perfect gift for every baby shower of first-birthdays.

Try it out now!

Get the pattern >

A cute, smiling baby wearing a finished version of the Babyhood balaclava pattern.
Photo credits: Patons

6. Babyhood

By: Patons

YARN: DK Weight

SIZE: Infant: 0-3 months, Baby: 6-12 months, Toddler: 12-18 months

Serving you another dose of cuteness is this Babyhood free knit balaclava pattern!

Depending on the colors you use in your project, you can replicate the look of grapes, blueberries, and even cherries.

Isn’t that just adorable?

Get the pattern >

A smiling woman wearing the finished free knit balaclava pattern: Embroidered Hood. 
This is a snug balaclava with embroidery around the buttons and embroidered flowers on the hood.
Photo credits: Kim Hamlin

7. Embroidered Hood

By: Kim Hamlin

YARN: Bulky

SIZE: Fits 10 years to adult

Have you ever wanted to incorporate embroidery to your knitwear? Well, here’s a good pattern to start!

This Embroidered Hood balaclava knitting pattern keeps you warm and looking stylish in even the gloomiest of seasons.

Try it out now!

Get the pattern >

This is an image of a smiling woman wearing the finished "From Russia, With Love" cabled knit balaclava.
Photo credits: Nikol Lohr

8. From Russia, With Love

By: Nikol Lohr

YARN: Aran Weight

SIZE: One size – Adult

Want to give knit cables a try but can’t commit to a big project?

Then this “From Russia, With Love” balaclava knitting pattern might be the one you want.

The author walks you through each step of this cabled pattern to make sure that you’re able to stay on track.

Try it out now!

Get the pattern >

An image of a smiling man wearing the Chelsea Bridge Balaclava.
Photo credits: Sierra 21

9. Chelsea Bridge Balaclava

By: Patons Australia

YARN: DK Weight

SIZE: One size – Adult

This simple, yet warm free knit balaclava pattern is a great piece to start on for beginners.

It doesn’t have any complicated cables and patterns — plus, if it’s not that warm outdoors, you can turn it into a cozy beanie!

Get the pattern >

An image of a child wearing a fuzzy balaclava. This is the finished version of the 214W-10 Teti Cap.
Photo credits: Pierrot Yarns (Gosyo Co., Ltd.)

10. 214W-10 Yeti Cap

By: Pierrot Yarns (Gosyo Co., Ltd.)

YARN: Bulky, Sport Weight

SIZES: Child

Another adorable pattern, this fuzzy balaclava knitting pattern is the perfect way to keep your little one warm throughout the winter!

There’s just so much you can add to this balaclava. You can pop on some pom poms and make a teddy bear or knit up a pair of bunny ears!

Get the pattern >

Little cute kid boy wearing yellow knitted balaclava and casual clothes. This image is showing the finished product of a free knit balaclava pattern.

Thoughts on DIY Knitted Balaclavas

Balaclavas have so many uses to them and come with a rich history to boot!

The thought of knitting a balaclava might intimidate some beginner knitters. But much like other knitting patterns, balaclavas come in different difficulty levels.

To make most free knit balaclava patterns you only need to know the basic knit and purl stitches, while others will require you to create complicated cables. Just go for the pattern that you feel comfortable making!

Balaclavas are items to help protect you from harsh climates and are great accessories for self-expression. So don’t feel pressured to go all out on your knit balaclava on the first try!

Want to try other knitting patterns? Check out our 10 Free Knit Vest Patterns blog post.

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