We are noticing a bit of a balaclava craze here in the shop and lots of people have been coming in either wearing one or wanting to knit one. Like them or loathe them they are the ideal headgear for this chilly winter weather. An all round hood that keeps your head, ears and neck warm has to be a winner. Take a look at this selection below for some inspiration to knit your own.

image - Susanne Müller

NOMAD Hood (link to Ravelry) by Susanne Müller. This stylish balaclava was recommended to me by our colleague Simone. It features an all over half-fishermans rib that gives the design a contemporary vibe. Knit flat from the top and then joined to work in the round for the collar. Stitches are picked up from the opening and double layer rib is added giving structure. Knit in a DK yarn I would choose Garthenor Beacons or the slightly more rustic but still sophisticated Garthenor No 3.

image - Anna Husemann

Intarsia Balaclava (link to designers website) by Anna Husemann. This quirky intarsia balaclava looks great fun to make and great for bit of scrap busting. Knitted flat from the top down in garter stitch and featuring intarsia shapes that look like collaged pieces of paper. Its joined in the round to knit the neck ribbing. I really like its playful design and would choose the fun colours of &Make DK.

image - Emilie Luis

Bonbec (link to designers website) by Emilie Luis. This hood style balaclava is knit seamlessly from the bottom up on stocking stitch. Stitches are picked up around the opening to create a rolled edge that an i-cord drawstring is threaded through. The drawstring is a nice touch allowing you to pull it tight when the cold wind is really blowing. Knit in a a 4ply held with a mohair I would choose a bright combination of Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply and Fyberspates Cumulus.

image - My Favourite Things

Balaclava No. 2 (link to designers website) by My Favourite Things. This simple balaclava shape has the added texture and interest of cables. Do you have a favourite cable jumper and looking for the perfect matching headgear then this is the one. Worked from the top down in a classic aran weight yarn. I would choose &Make Aran which would be great for the cables. You can also hold it with a fluffy lace weight so why not jazz it up with some Black Elephant Suri Cloud.

image - Simone Alexandra Ærsøe

Gatan Balaclava (link to designers website) by Simone Alexandra Ærsøe. This classic balaclava has a graphic garter rib stitch pattern with lies flatter than a tradition rib. It's worked from the bottom up and contains familiar elements to knitting a sock. First the ribbing is worked in the round for the neck and then then main body of the balaclava is worked flat. The top of the head is turned in a similar way you would the heel of a sock. The whole thing is finished with a ribbed band that is picked up around the face opening. Knit in a 4ply/lace combination, I think I would just choose Cumbria Fingering for this as it has a touch of mohair in it.

Ronja (link to ravelry) by Arne & Carlos. This one is for extreme cold weathers when you want to prevent your nose from getting cold! Or I think it would be great for cycling when the icy weather is blowing against your face. The reason I like this one is that it can roll up into a pretty cool hat giving you a secret balaclava whenever you need it. I think Garthenor Beacons would be soft enough but still be good enough to keep you warm.

Jackyll & Hide (link to knitty) by Saskia M.H. de Feijter. This quirky design would be great for halloween and its also free and been knit by hundreds of knitters tweaking it with their own spooky editions. Great fun for a party as it rolls up and becomes an unassuming hat. Knit from the bottom up with large rounds that cover the neck in garter stitch, stocking stitch and finally rib. Decreased for the face which is work in stocking stitch where eyeholes are added before decreasing for the crown. Knitted in a worsted I would try Cumbria Worsted, it would be really warm.