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Easy-on, easy-off, and stowable, this winter warmer is protective of the head, face, neck and upper chest in freezing weather. It is adapted from the best features of a variety of patterns made by thousands of home-front knitters for the troops in World War I. It is not especially becoming to most of us, but it surely is practical. If you’ve ever awakened at high altitude with your ears and nose frozen and the rest of your body cozy in your sleeping bag, this may be what you need.

The Materials you'll need for this Knitting Project:

  • Two balls of knitting worsted or Aran weight yarn, a little heavier than knitting worsted. This used worsted, with a 15% mohair content.
  • You’ll also need #7 and # 5 needles, circular and/or double point, plus a stitch-holder or spare yarn, and markers.
  • Tape measure.
  • Yarn needle.
  • Crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches.
  • The inspiration behind this balaclava pattern

    In a single one-size-fits-most-adults garment, it provides a turtleneck dickie (which, as noted, can be made without the hood, and provides extra warmth under the collar of a shirt or jacket, shielding the upper chest and neck against cold air), plus a snug hood/helmet-liner to protect the head and ears. It is just as good, now, as it was in 1914 for military personnel serving in winter. Something like it may have provided padding under medieval armor, long ago.

    It is also peerless for high-mountain skiers, winter campers, dog-sledders, sailors and fishermen, and search and rescue or ski patrol personnel. It has long been a staple of polar expeditions. The first one I made was made for a scientist spending the southern summer in Antarctica.

    Your hunting friends might like one in dun color for the duck blind, and orange or yellow for deer season or, more prosaically, bicycle commuting

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