Accessories, Fashion

Your Next Project Here: Easy Knit And Crochet Balaclavas Are In!

crochet balaclava pattern

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Elizabeth Miller. Find them on Instagram at @Lizzy_7979. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Winter is coming in quickly and with the gift-giving season approaching, that means it’s time to finish winterwear before working on any handmade gifts! If you’ve kept up with our crochet articles, you’d know that hats and scarves are great beginner garment projects, but there’s been an easy project for winter that’s been trending in both the crochet and knitting communities online. The project? Balaclava hoods. There are a lot of easy knitting and crochet balaclava patterns, and drafting your own made-to-measure pattern is super easy! Here’s all you need to know about making your own balaclava, and the different methods you can use.

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What is a Balaclava?

There are lots of different types and styles of balaclava hoods and masks. A balaclava is a hood that typically also covers part of the face. The hood can cover both your mouth and nose, just your mouth, or not cover your face at all. It can also be fitted to your head or just loose. 

When looking for patterns, make sure you have an idea of what style of balaclava you want. Some patterns are easier than others to alter to fit your specifications, such as made-to-measure patterns. Whatever it is you’re looking for, there is bound to be a pattern for you!

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How To Crochet A Balaclava Hood

Here are a couple of methods on how to crochet a balaclava hood:

1. The Made-To-Measure Method

The made-to-measure method is great for if you have yarn you want to use up but don’t feel like following a strict pattern. This method also ensures that the hood will fit you exactly how you want it to. There are two main ways you can make your own balaclava with this method, one starting from the top, and the other starting from the bottom. For the top-down method, make a magic ring, working in the round increasing down to your forehead, then working back and forth to leave room for your face, chaining across and working in the round again down to the neck, and then either continuing down the neck or making a tube of ribbing and sewing the pieces together. The bottom-to-top method is essentially the same, starting with the ribbed neck section, and then working in the round into the ribbed tube. Work up as far as you want your face covered, then work back and forth to leave space for your eyes, chain across to work in the round again, and decrease to the top.


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2. The Granny Square Method

If you like granny squares, you might like making a granny square balaclava! Take some measurements to figure out what size granny squares you will need, and then piece together the squares into the shape. This method does not require many granny squares and yields a looser look. Depending on the fit, you may need a ribbed neckpiece to keep it secure on your head. Overall, it’s a super cute look!

3. Using A Patterns

The last method is to find a pattern. There are plenty of patterns on Etsy, Ravelry, Ribblr, and other pattern databases. Follow the patterns as normal, using the recommended yarn and hook size so the measurements are the same. You are bound to find a pattern that fits your specifications.

How To Knit A Balaclava Hood

Methods for knitting a balaclava are a bit more complicated in my opinion. If you are comfortable with circular needles, you may not need to do any piecing, however, if you are not, it may be better to stick with piecing.

1. The Made-to-Measure Method

For this method, it is best to work from the base up. Using your preferred yar, cast on enough stitches to fit over the widest part of your head, working up in ribbing to cover the neck. For the face and head, work up in your preferred stitch as high as you prefer. Bind off stitches over the face so that your eyes will be exposed comfortably. If most of your face will be exposed, consider leaving a wider opening for a bit of face-framing ribbing if you are going for a tighter hood. Work up back and forth to the forehead, then cast on more stitches to bridge the gap and work in the round again. Decrease to the top of the head.

2. Using A Pattern

Again, if you would rather follow instructions, there are plenty of patterns out there for your preferences. Follow the patterns with the recommended yarn and needle size so the measurements are consistent.

What kind of balaclava are you making for this winter? Let us know in the comments below!

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