As an avid knitter and crocheter, my yarn stash is somewhat out of control. When I got back into knitting in my early twenties (after a long hiatus in my teenage years) I went slightly mad with trying out new yarns. As I’ve refined my style and found what fibres / textures I do and don’t like to work with, I’ve become much more restrained, and try to only buy yarn when I have an idea of what to make with it. When we received the Daruma Pompom wool in store I immediately fell in love with it and knew I had to try it; it was so different from anything I’d seen before. After a whole day spent photographing and lusting over it, I decided I wanted to try and make a balaclava with it, and so treated myself to 3 balls in the white / blue colourway. I chose this colourway for the first one as, although the pompoms are blue, I thought the main colour -white- would be easy to pair with any outfit.
Last winter I made a balaclava pattern for a chunky merino yarn. The recommended needle size was 6mm, but for my balaclava pattern I sized up to 7mm needles. When it comes to wearing hats or anything on my head – I’m really particular. I like a light, drapey material, which is exactly what sizing up a needle size with this yarn achieved. With the Pom Pom wool, I thought it best to size up by half a needle size to begin with and work from there. So I knit a swatch with 6mm needles (it’s an aran weight, the recommended needle size is 5-5.5mm), and I really liked the material it produced!
I wanted a snug fit around the neck, so I used 4.5mm needles for the neck ribbing, and worked out I needed 8 extra stitches than my original pattern. The pattern was easy enough for me to modify as the yarn was only slightly thinner than the original merino, so I just needed a few extra rows here and there, once I’d cast on the extra stitches.
Working with the yarn was so much fun! I’m someone who enjoys knitting fairly simple patterns, as it’s my way of relaxing and I like to be able to get in the groove and just knit without having complicated techniques to contend with. However, this yarn made stockinette stitch so exciting! The pompoms dispersed themselves pretty evenly throughout, making for a well-balanced looking overall fabric. As well as the texture from the pompoms, the yarn itself is made of two fine threads twisted around a single ply of carded wool. This gives the yarn a subtle wavey finish, meaning that my stitches weren’t all uniform. This gave the finished hood a rustic look, which I’m personally a big fan of! And nothing that blocking didn’t neaten up either. Although I sized up by half a needle size, (I also generally have quite loose tension) it still created a structured material, which worked really well for this balaclava. It’s incredibly warm and soft, due to the fact it’s a merino wool, but not too bulky and heavy which for me, is the perfect outcome. I loved working with this yarn so much that I made a second hood in the brown / black colourway. Both worked up really quickly, the second one took me just one evening!
This yarn comes in 30g, 42 metre balls, making it great for smaller projects such as accessories like hats, scarves and mittens. With both hoods I used just over 2 balls each. The texture of this yarn lends itself well to stockinette or garter stitch – choose something simple and let the pompoms do the talking! I love how unique and interesting this wool has made my simple balaclava pattern look. There’s such lovely colours in this range, from neutral off whites and greys, to bold blues and burgundy. This yarn would also work wonderfully for adding a fun accent within a larger project.
If you’re interested in making something similar, I’m releasing my chunky balaclava knitting pattern at the end of November. @meganfaithmakes on Instagram.
To browse the full Pom Pom Wool range click here.