Disclosure: We may earn a small commission if you choose to buy a product through links on our site. Learn more

Modern Balaclava Knitting Patterns

Klara Nilsson | Updated on July 24, 2023

This year, winter might look a little different. We’ve already adapted to wearing face masks, and a new trend is on the horizon: knitted balaclavas, also known as ski masks.

At their simplest, balaclavas are full-head coverings with one or more openings, usually for the mouth, nose, and eyes. They’re super quick and easy to knit, and perfect for cold weather.

Now they’re coming back into style, more knitting pattern designers than ever are releasing knitted balaclava designs to add to the vast array already available. That’s why we’ve curated this list of the best modern balaclava knitting patterns out there, to save you from looking.

Anyone who has braved the elements in a full face knitted balaclava hat can attest that it’s a step up from a knitted scarf or chunky hat knitting pattern. Depending on the knitting style used, some balaclava hats can even be pulled behind the head while remaining snug around the neck – the best of both worlds!

In this list, we’ve selected a mix of classic and contemporary styles, mainly using DK, Aran, and bulky weight yarn. You’ll find a range of relaxing, easy knitting patterns for balaclavas with full face openings on straight and circular needles.

If you’re looking specifically for vintage balaclava knitting patterns, you’ll find a few in this list and you’ll also be able to find a good selection in this article from London’s V&A Museum.

Most of the knitted balaclava patterns we’ve included are knit in the round using chunky yarn – just cast on for the neck and knit up to the top of the head. If you’re a beginner, you’ll need to know the knit and purl stitch and k2tog – just read our knitting abbreviations guide if you need some help!

10 Contemporary Balaclava Knitting Patterns (Straight and Circular Needles)

Without further ado, here are ten easy knitted balaclava patterns to keep you looking on-trend and comfortably warm this winter.

1. Deima’s Balaclava

Deima Balaclava Knitting Pattern
Price $7.14/£5.16
Techniques Required Rib and Garter Stitches
Suggested Yarn Double Soft Merino – Knitting for Olive
Soft Silk Mohair – Knitting for Olive
Designer’s Website Deima’s Balaclava – Deima Knitwear

This popular, stylish balaclava knitting pattern from Deima Knitwear is perfect for those who want all the warmth and comfort of a balaclava without full face coverage.

Knit using rib and garter stitches, it’s a snug, beginner-friendly design halfway between a scarf and a hoodie. The pattern is worked up using a combination of merino and mohair to create a super soft texture you won’t want to take off.

For similar patterns by Deima, you can also take a look at our collection of ladies pants knitting patterns.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 4/3.5mm Circular Needles (40cm Cable)
US Size 6/4mm Circular Needles (60cm Cable)
Yarn Weight125m = 50g (Worsted)
Yarn Quantity3 Skeins

2. Balaclava “No. 1”

Balaclava No.1 Pattern
Techniques RequiredRib Stitch
Suggested Yarn Lang Yarns Cashmere Premium – LoveCrafts
Designer’s WebsiteBalaclava No. 1 – My Favourite Things Knitwear

Timeless yet keenly on-trend, the Balaclava No.1 pattern by My Favourite Things Knitwear is knit with two strands of yarn together – one mohair, and one cashmere.

Its gentle yet durable texture is created with a classic rib pattern that is knit from the top down. The final balaclava comes in one size in a stylish combination of collar and hat to keep both your head and neck warm.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:
Needle Size US Size 6/4mm Circular Needles(60cm Cable)
US Size 2/2.5 mm Circular Needles (40cm Cable)
Yarn Weight 25g = 115m
Yarn Quantity 2 Balls/50g

3. Beginner’s Balaclava Pattern

Beginner's Balaclava Pattern
Price $5.55/£4.21
Techniques Required Garter Stitch
Suggested Yarn Baby Merino – Drops Yarn
Designer’s Website Beginner’s Balaclava – tadekkastudio on Etsy

Haute couture and simplicity go hand-and-hand with this elegant balaclava knitting pattern. The basic garter stitch creates a delicate yet durable texture that stretches to fit all head sizes. It’s worked using two strands of merino yarn held together simultaneously, and doubles as both a hat and a collar or scarf.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:
Needle Size US Size 8/5mm Circular Needles (40cm and 80cm Cable)
US Size 7/4.5mm Circular Needles (40cm Cable)
Yarn Weight 50g = 175m
Yarn Quantity 4 Balls

4. “Wonderland” Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Wonderland Balaclava Pattern
Techniques RequiredN/A
Suggested Yarn Hedgehog Fibers Tweedy – Laughing Hens
Designer’s WebsiteWonderland Balaclava – SpektakelStrik

This boho-chic pattern from SpektakelStrik is knit from the bottom up using double pointed or circular needles and a ribbed, folded edge. The final balaclava measures approximately 60-65cm in circumference with a snug fit and a beautiful contemporary design.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 4/3.5mm Double Pointed Needles
Yarn Weight230 m = 100 g
Yarn Quantity100g-150g

5. The “November” Balaclava Pattern

November Balaclava
Price $4.74/£3.44
Techniques Required Fisherman’s Rib
Suggested Yarn Peruvian Highland Wool – Filcolana
Silk Mohair – Ravelry
Designer’s Website November Balaclava – PetiteKnit

This knitted balaclava pattern makes the most of the chunky, spongy effect produced by the Fisherman’s rib. It’s designed with a feminine fit that will cover your ears while keeping your forehead and face free with a ribbed edge.

To knit this pattern, you’ll begin by knitting a square for the crown of the balaclava. From here, you’ll pick up stitches along each side of this square and continue to work back and forth to the neck, where it is knit in the round. The final knitted balaclava measures roughly 54-58cm in circumference.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 7/4.5 mm Circular Needles (40cm or 60cm Cable)
Yarn Weight50g = 100m (Yarn A)
25g = 212m (Yarn B)
Yarn Quantity100g (Yarn A)
25g (Yarn B)

6. “Exhale” Balaclava

exhale balaclava pattern
Techniques RequiredN/A
Suggested Yarn Merino Worsted – Pickles
Silk Mohair – Knitting for Olive
Designer’s WebsiteExhale Balaclava – SpektakelStrik

This vintage-inspired chunky balaclava knitting pattern is reminiscent of 50s-60s couture headscarves. If Bridgette Bardot had been a fan of knitwear, this would’ve been the pattern for her! The design of the knitted balaclava uses alternating stitch lines for a textured appearance that frames the face rather than covers it. The knitting pattern contains instructions for one size only.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 11/8mm Circular Needles (60cm Cable)
US Size 10/6mm Circular Needles (60cm Cable)
Yarn Weight100g = 200m (Yarn A)
25g = 200m (Yarn B)
Yarn Quantity100g (Yarn A)
25g (Yarn B)

7. “Romvi” Balaclava Pattern

Romvi Balaclava
Techniques RequiredN/A
Suggested Yarn Alice & Angel – Ravelry
Kidsilk Lace – Wool and Company
Designer’s WebsiteRomvi Balaclava – Laura Dalgaard

This fun pattern from Laura Dalgaard incorporates a mix and match of materials for an eclectic finish. The design is tailor-made for those with scraps of yarn lying about the house just begging to be put to good use. It’s easy, eco-friendly and the balaclava design looks great – what more could you want?

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle Size7mm Circular Needles (40cm Cable)
9mm Circular Needles (60cm Cable)
Yarn Weight50g = 459 yards/Lace Weight (2 ply)
Yarn Quantity1 Skein

8. “Bug Hood” Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Bug Hood Balaclava
Price $5.53/£4.17
Techniques Required Rib and Stockinette Stitch
Suggested Yarn N/A
Designer’s Website Bug Hood Balaclava – ROWSknitwear on Etsy

The Bug Hood Balaclava pattern is a vintage-inspired stockinette balaclava that’s knit with worsted weight yarn. It includes step-by-step instructions for techniques including increasing and decreasing, invisible seaming, long tail cast on, and rib stitching.

This balaclava can also be worn as a hood or snood, with a stretchy ribbed neck measuring 33cm in circumference.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 10.5/6.5mm Circular Needles (50cm Cable)
US Size 10.5/7mm Straight Needles
Yarn WeightAran/Worsted
Yarn QuantityN/A

9. “Korshavn” Balaclava

Korshavn Balaclava
Price $4.64/£3.36
Techniques Required Basket Stitch
Suggested Yarn Peruvian Highland Wool
Tilia Silk Mohair
Designer’s Website Korshavn Balaclava – StrikkeKaffe

The vertical and horizontal strands of this retro balaclava knitting pattern create a tightly woven mosaic of symmetrical blocks. The basketweave stitch is worked back and forth on long circular needles or double pointed needles if necessary. The final balaclava measures between 53cm and 56cm. To finish this project, you’ll need to know some intermediate techniques including the basketweave stitch, rib stitch, right and left increasing, and the Italian cast off.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle SizeUS Size 8/5mm Circular Needles (60cm Cable)
US Size 6/4mm Double-Pointed Needles
Yarn Weight50g = 100m (Yarn A)
25g = 210m (Yarn B)
Yarn Quantity145g

10. Three Vintage Balaclava Knitting Patterns (Adults & Kids)

Vintage Balaclava Knitting Patterns
Techniques RequiredN/A
Suggested Yarn N/A
Designer’s WebsiteVintage Family Balaclavas – TheVintageWorkbox on Etsy

1970s groovy-chic is more than “en vogue” at the moment. This set of vintage balaclava knitting patterns includes 3 patterns: one each for a man, woman, and child. That means you can keep the whole family looking stylish and feeling warm this winter. It requires either DK or 4 ply yarn and straight needles, and creates a classic style balaclava with a full face opening.

Recommended Materials

To knit this pattern, you will need the following materials:

Needle Size2.75mm and 3.25mm Straight Needles
Yarn WeightDK/4 Ply
Yarn QuantityN/A

Knitting A Balaclava: What You Need to Know

Knitted balaclavas and ski masks are usually relatively easy and inexpensive to knit, but you’ll need to know a few things first. In this section, we’ll cover all of the basic information you’ll need before casting on the knitting patterns in this list.

Is It Easy to Knit a Balaclava or Face Mask?

You can knit a balaclava, ski mask, or full face mask at home instead of buying a cheap one from stores. In fact, much like knitting patterns for skirts or for knitted cowls, the simplicity of balaclava knitting patterns and the relatively small amount of yarn required makes it an excellent knitting project for beginners.

Most knitted balaclavas use worsted, super chunky, or bulky yarn weights. Because they’re typically worn for winter, it’s quite rare to come across a pattern using thin or lighter weight yarns. Thicker yarn means bigger needles and less yarn overall, which means these projects are usually quick and easy to knit up.

You can knit a balaclava on straight or circular needles. The majority balaclava patterns are knit in the round using circular needles from the neck to the crown, although some use both needle types.

How Many Stitches Does It Take, and Which Knitting Techniques Will I Need?

Like all knitting projects, how many stitches you’ll need to knit a balaclava will depend on the pattern used. Most balaclavas are relatively small and simple, which means the stitch count falls around 70-100 stitches.

You’ll typically need to know basic knitting techniques like casting on, knit, purl, increasing and decreasing. In terms of materials, you’ll need the usual: 1 or 2 balls of the pattern’s recommended yarn, straight or circular needles of the appropriate diameter, stitch markers, and scissors.

The biggest problem you’ll have to solve is choosing the balaclava pattern you’d like to knit. There are countless to choose from, each varying in style, structure, technique, yarn type, and difficulty level. There are even a range of high-quality free balaclava knitting patterns out there, but the best designs usually come at a small cost.

Once you’ve selected the pattern of your choice, it shouldn’t take longer than 30 to 50 hours to achieve your final result.

Related Guides

Brightwool Bucket Hat

Bucket Hat Knitting Patterns

Find 12 bucket hat knitting patterns, both free and paid. You can knit these bucket hats with just one or two balls of yarn in 3 hours or less.