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Archive for the ‘Balaclavas’ Category

Courtesy of the Knitting Reference Library, University of Southampton

A recent enquiry from a Russian journalist prompted a search for images of balaclavas. His article is tracing the history of this practical knitted garment bringing it up to date with those worn by the controversial Pussy Riot. My research took me to our WWI resources held in the Knitting Reference Library where I discovered that they were not only worn at the front but also knitted for use in hospitals during WWI. The image here is from that period.

My colleague Carol Christiansen also included them in her presentation on Exploration And Discovery at In the loop 3: the voices of knitting. Another library colleague then found images of Sir Douglas Mawson wearing a balaclava dated 1911, who was an Antarctic explorer. These were found on the website of the Australian War Memorial at www.awm.gov.au 

Further thoughts prompted me to look further, there are many types of balaclava and they make an appearance in the knitwear of other cultures, for example Peru and Bolivia where they are used for different purposes. I think more research will follow possibly for a future exhibition or to illustrate the rich resources held in our Knitting Collections at the University of Southampton.

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