Balaclava in geelong lambswool in asphalt grey

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Buying

£130.00

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

Sizing

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 controls with expertise 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 supremely fine, long-staple lambswool — ergo as soft as it is strong. And it is geelong lambswool, to be precise, which is the plushest of them all. It is spun in Scotland, and its cleaning and finishing involves today, as it has for centuries, the helpfully balanced waters of a local loch.
There are three shades of grey geelong lambswool here, from light to dark, which together make quite a 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 balaclavae is a balaclava's propensity to keep necks 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.
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.