How to enlarge an eye-hole in a balaclava

In knitting this balaclava, I would like to enlarge the eye-hole. How could I add more rounds in between? I tried a sample and when knitting past the bound off stitches, it got smaller. Thank you for reading!

It looks like this pattern has you cast off on one round or row, then cast back on on the next one, like a giant buttonhole.

To make the eye hole taller, you need to knit a couple of rows between casting off and casting back on, to create a letter slot shape (skinny rectangle).

Is that what you were hoping to do?

Another option would be to make the cast-off and cast-on looser (use a larger needle) or more stretchy (use special stretchy technique). This woould let the eye-hole stretch more all around, but you’d have to be careful not to overdo it, or the edges will get ripply and cold breezes will get in.

Finally, you could make the eye-hole wider by a couple of stitches so it opens further.


Thank you for your detailed reply!

I was hoping to do that, yes. Would I have to use other needles to knit around the cast off stitches? I can’t just continue knitting in the round without tightening it :frowning_face: I feel I’m missing something. Cut new working yarn?

The width is fine. The recipient wants it a little taller so they can pull it down to their chin without squishing their eyes, haha! I will keep that in mind in the future.

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Well, here is what I would try. (And no, you don’t need extra needles. Just keep going on your circulars.)

Follow the pattern up until you have completed the bottom cast off. Then, after you knit around the back of the head and get back to the beginning of the cast off, turn and purl back. Keep doing this for a couple of rows – until you think you have made enough space. Make sure to do the last row so you end up at the left-hand corner of the eye-hole (as worn). This will be a knit row. Then return to the instructions, cast on again over the gap, and continue knitting in the round according to the instructions. Start the decreases for the top of the head a couple of rows sooner to allow for the fact that you added height at the sides of your letterbox opening.

Here’s a photo of the letterbox shape I’m describing, just for reference:

I’m not sure why continuing to knit in the round would be tightening things. Something to do with the way you have your circular needle arranged, or how long it is, perhaps? If you can post a photo, we will try to advise!

The other option of course is to switch to a pattern with the kind of opening your recipient wants. You won’t necessarily have to start again.

And finally, are you sure it won’t be able to be pulled down? I think if you cast off and on again loosely, this could be possible. (Now this is where you would need more needles: use a needle one size bigger to cast off and back on, or else hold a smaller needle with your current needle to approximate this.)

Hope this helps! I won’t be able to check in for a couple of days but there are many more experienced knitters than me here to help.

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