No matter what you call this type of hat, it has been around forever. Balaclavas are traditionally made of wool, which is nice and warm. The military provides them to help keep the soldiers warm, skiers and snowmobilers wear them under their helmets, and kids love wearing them when playing out doors. My son asked me for one to wear when plowing his drive and being outside with his dogs.
In my search for the right pattern, I found their are many out there that all seem to be made the same way. I wanted a pattern that used smaller sized needles for a tighter knit that hopefully would be a bit warmer and keep the draft out. I decided on the Knitted Helmetliner by Tropical Yarns.
My first hat was made with Lion Brand Wool Ease in Blue Mist with size US 5 and US 7 needles casting on 88 stitches. The pattern says to rib for 5″. I ribbed for 6″. The other change I made was in the decreasing. The pattern said to k10, k2tog. around. Unfortunately, that does not work out evenly around. 88\11=8. Which means – k9, k2tog. around. This hat used 2 3/8 oz. yarn. It fits perfect and I will definately make more.
One other thing I liked about this pattern was the decreasing around the face area. Some problems other knitters found in other patterns was a puckering around the face. This pattern asks you to k2 – p2tog around before binding off. It worked great.
When my grandson tried on the hat, he said he would like it better if it was a little longer because when he pulled it up to cover his mouth his neck was exposed. I took his advice and made another hat. This time I used Lion Brand Wool Ease in Black and the only change I made was knitting the k2 – p2 rib for 8″. A perfect fit. The hat used 2 7/8 oz. yarn.
I was now ready to make my sons hat. His prefered color is black. I used Patons Classic Wool – 100% pure new wool. The skein was 3.5 oz. and I used all of the 3.5 oz. for this hat. If you fear you might not have enough yarn, 7 1/2″ of ribbing would work fine.
I hope my notes are helpful. It is a easy pattern that I think someone with some knitting experience could handle.