Saturday, 14 September 2013

Make your own balaclava

As a young child I lived in Ballarat and can remember wearing a balaclava to school on chilly winter mornings. Not a great fashion statement but they certainly kept my ears warm!

During World War One, women and children at home knitted scarves, mittens, socks and balaclavas for the soldiers on the Front. During the unprecedented cold winter of 1916-1917, they would have been much appreciated. As you can see in the photograph below, it was a bitter winter.

France. 1916. Portrait of an unidentified member of the 24th Australian Battalion at a frozen water point. He is wearing a sheepskin vest and balaclava as protection against the cold.

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial. Image EZ0123.

If you’d like to knit your very own balaclava, check out the various patterns on the HJS Studio website. 


  1. Very fetching. I am particularly drawn to the combination balaclava and scarf, though I feel it would be nothing without the pipe.

  2. Now that we live in a world where we know the dangers of smoking, it's hard to believe that cigarettes were sent as 'comforts' for the troops. Yet they were, as you'll see in my next blog entry.

    I'm glad you like the idea of helmet and scarf - WW2 issue, but the same principle. I'd be more than happy to knit you one!

    My favourite's the gent with the gorgeous moustache. Don't think he'd be allowed one of those on the battlefields!

  3. There were plenty of walrus moustaches on the battlefield, though I am less confident about the bearded one on The Accidental Soldier last night. There is some talk that beards were barred because they interfered with gas masks. I expect Routine Orders might have something to say about shaving.