Somebody else ’round everyone else
Pattern: Balaclava by Nanette Blanchard
Yarn: Ella Rae Extrafine Heathers (100% merino), colorway Green 25
Needles: U.S. 7 and 8 Harmony wood Options 24″ circulars (magic loop)
Park City, Utah is a very cold place in January. That’s where and when the Sundance Film Festival takes place, which Noel has attended for the past several years. He has a special Sundance wardrobe for the challenge of trudging from theater to hotel to shuttle stop in the frigid weather — gloves and long underwear and ragg socks that he doesn’t wear any other time of the year. Among those accessories is a black cotton balaclava.
It seems to me that these Wal-Mart versions of rugged mountain outerwear needed replacing. Here I am with the skills and the interest (and the stash) to produce warm woolies instead. But in the flurry of Christmas knitting, I didn’t have time to make a serious scarf, snow-defying gloves, or any of the other items that might have rescued my husband from the frigid winds and the heartbreak of inadequate bargain-bin insulation. So as soon as the presents were wrapped, I looked up a pattern and presented him with yarn options. About five days of easy knitting later, the cotton balaclava was history.
Here we have the antidote to accessories that cover but do not protect — that get cold when wet, that let the fierce winds through. Here we have the softest, cushiest merino wool, knit up into thick ribbing, comfortable next to the skin, but as hardy in the cold and snow as the best fibers science can produce.
Noel proved himself an astute judge of yarn. This is the one I would have chosen for myself. His new balaclava isn’t elaborately colored or patterned; it might not draw any more attention than his basic black cotton one. But inside it, he will know the joy of the supremely functional and subversively lovely.