Friday, April 17, 2009

Balaclava for my Fishing Man

I made a balaclava for hubby. He's had one that I made for him when I first started knitting. The free balaclava pattern source that I used is found here and is designed by Nanette Blanchard. It worked really well. Now that it's been worn for quite a few fishing trips, he asked for another one and made some recommendations on personalizing it to his needs: a tighter knit gauge for extra warmth, a larger face opening and more stretchiness around the face opening. I used Nanette’s free pattern as a guide and made the following modifications:

Modification 1: a tighter knit gauge
I used size 6 needles throughout and more cast on stitches for a custom fit. The yarn I chose was a superwash worsted weight wool (Nashua Creative Focus – a little more than 100g for the balaclava)

Modification 2: a larger face opening
I knit flat rows for two inches after the first bind off.

Modification 3: more stretchiness around the face opening
· The bind off I chose is a variation of the Russian stretchy bind off that Wendy D. Johnson blogged about here and uses for toe up socks. This seemed like the best candidate for the bind off along the chin area.
· For the cast on after approximately two inches of flat knitting I chose a versatile and stretchy cast on that Stephanie shared with us from her Stitches West class this year. Here's a You Tube video that demonstrates this two-needle cast on. She said learning this cast on alone was worth the price of admission. I couldn’t agree more.

And now I'm off to make more progress on the second February Lady Sweater I'm knitting in red Cascade 220.

Oh, and you should read Pamela Wynne's recent post. If you like the February Lady Sweater as much as I do (I plan to make a few more), then consider a donation for all the careful math calculations, time and effort that Pamela put into this very popular pattern. I did.