Knit Like a Boss: Riot Gear

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the Russian feminist punks Pussy Riot, who have been arrested on charges of “hooliganism” for their “punk prayer” protest in Moscow. With their trial date approaching, more and more protests and benefits are being planned around the world (like this one).

Why is this relevant to a knitting column? Well, PR is known for wearing brightly-colored balaclavas during their performances. So if you want to head out to a benefit or rally on the streets, you may want to make one of your own to wear (note: some cities have laws about wearing masks in public, which got some Occupy Wall Street protesters in trouble in the past. Make sure you know the laws in your area and do this at your own risk. Don’t call me to bail you out of jail, because I don’t have any money). I had a hard time finding a good pattern online, so I decided to make up one of my own, which I’m offering up for free.

Glasses optional.

Pussy Riot Balaclava


Worsted weight yarn in a bright color (I used about one and a half skeins of Filati Cervinia Ultra Worsted, 100 m/50 g)
Size 10 16-inch circular needle
stitch marker
tapestry or yarn needle

CO 60
Being careful not to twist, join, placing marker to indicate start of round*
Work 1×1 ribbing for 2.5 inches
Next round: [K 12, m1], rep to end (65 stitches)
Next round: [K 13, m1], rep to end (70 stitches)
Next round: [K7, m1], rep to end (80 stitches)
Knit 15 rounds, or however many you need to reach the bottom of your mouth.

Mouth opening:
K 14, BO 12, K to end
K 14, CO 12, K to end

Optional nose opening:
K 4 rounds
K 20, BO 2, K to end
K 20, CO 2, K to end
K 4 rounds

If you choose not to make a nose opening, simply K 10 rounds here.

Eye openings:
K 10, BO 8, K 6, BO 8, K to end
K 10, CO 8, K 6, CO 8, K to end
K 6 rounds

Decrease rows:
1: K 8, K2tog
2 and all even rows: K around
3: K 7, K2tog
5: K 6, K2tog
7: K 5, K2tog
9: K 4,, K2tog
11: K 3, K2tog
13: K 2, K2tog
15: K 1, K2tog
17: K2tog

Break yarn, pull through final round and weave in ends.

Now go riot.

*One of my early columns focused on knitting in the round, check it out if you need to brush up your skills.
**If you need help, I wrote about short rows several weeks ago.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

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