Balaclava in superfine lambswool in imperial blue

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£130.00 — ex VAT

Balaclava, hand-framed with superfine lambswool in the south-west of the British Isles.


The balaclava, being a mix of rib and plain-stitch of just the right shape and tension, fits any head within the species of Homo sapiens. Whether it suits them all is another matter.

This is a fairly chunky knitted balaclava: eight-ply in knit-speak. In other knit-speak, it is hand-framed. That is to say, made by a single skilful knitter, who carefully controls quality and tension of the knit on an old, hand-operated contraption. Rare indeed, these days, especially in Britain.
The top is a tuck-stitch, with no end of knobbly, bobbly appeal. The lower half is a plain-stitch: best for navigating chins, cheeks, and noses, and the most stealthy of all stitches (vital for balaclavae). There's rib-stitch here and there, too, such as at the face and neck openings, where grip is the order of the day.
The yarn is superfine lambswool — 1/14 Nm, to be exact. It is supremely plush and buoyant — truly as soft as lambswool ever gets — and is spun in Scotland using techniques refined over a couple of centuries. Indeed, its finishing involves today, as for centuries, the helpfully balanced waters of a local loch.
Three shades of blue geelong lambswool are here, from mid to dark, which together make a pleasing contrast. They are evenly distributed throughout the knit, as the yarn is twisted prior to knitting. You thus get a good, satisfying melange — enough to keep the eye occupied, but not so much as to distract.
The balaclava is hand-linked together. No stitching or sewing here. None at all. Instead, each little knitting loop, of e.g. the crown and the rib rim, is linked to the next by knitting needle and hand. By hand. Painfully slow and skilful work, this, that equals seamless and, all being equal, superior knitwear.
Under-appreciated among outsiders to the world of balaclava is a balaclava's propensity to keep the neck warm. That's a hearty eight-ply of lambswool there, hugging the neck — and arguably more than that when the balaclava is worn down, and the layers of knit bunch up and roll over one another.

As worn

Him, here, has a head which the balaclava — size-agnostic as it is — very evidently fits.

Makers of

The 'clava is made by knitters in the south of Britain. Founded 100 years ago, they work with small, hand-operated contraptions overseen by one person — rather than huge, automated machines. It is perhaps the only maker to do so in Britain: slow going, but results bearing out the toil involved.