Holiday Knitting: My Favorite Small, Fast Stash Busting Projects

black and white tree lights

Setting the Mood | #HolidaySpirit

Each year when I see the festive lights go up and feel the temperature cool, I can’t help but be drawn into the holiday energy. Yes, the holidays can be filled with last minute flights, the rushing and bustling about on errands, and too many shopping runs; but it can also be filled with lights, snow, warmth, and joy.

The last thing that I need during this packed season, is to be stressed out over my knitting. And yes, SPOILER ALERT: No Holiday is complete for me without the clickety-clack of knitting needles. So, this year, after many years of overly ambitious projects I’ve decided to pair down my knitting to travel ready, quick projects that (hopefully) will make the recipients smile.

hands sketchbook tea

Qualities for Making It Onto This List

Every knitter is utterly unique, so no “best of” list will perfectly fit for all. But it’s my hope that this list will give you some ideas, as you go about knitting up a storm for gifting (or for yourself).

Here are the qualities that I looked for putting together this list:

SMALL, LIGHTWEIGHT |

  1. Easy to carry the knitting project with you as go.

  2. Easy to tuck into suitcases.

  3. Perfect stocking stuffing.

FAST, EASY |

The definition for fast and easy varies for each knitter, but for me these projects knit up pretty quickly and there are a variety of pattern options to satisfy different levels of knitter.

CUSTOMIZEABLE |

I don’t know about you, but for me half of the fun in gift giving is in finding the right gift for the right person. And as a knitter, you get to control so much of the production process that the ability to customize is insanely awesome. Stitch patterns, color, technique, yarn, and sizing are all up to you. Enjoy!





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My Favorite Knitting Projects | Hats, Beanies, Toques

As my favorite knitting guru, Elizabeth Zimmerman once said, “People will put anything on their head.” Ms. Zimmerman was referring to the fact that most people will wear a hat. So, if you’re in the mood for a crowd pleaser that can be made in a variety of sizes, I highly recommend the hat.

Make Them To the Wearer’s Taste

The variety of hats for wearing truly astounds. In my closet, I currently have a baseball hat, a hat with flaps lined with faux fur, and a variety of hand knit hats of all sizes and shapes. Some with poms poms and some without. Given the abundance of yarn choices and techniques (two examples that I love are fair isle or cables), making hats are a go-to for me.

Flexible Sizing

Hats can be somewhat forgiving on sizing. And, if you’re really unsure about the size, you could even knit a ribbed hat that can expand to fit a variety of heads.

Simple Works

Really in a rush? You can try what I normally do, which is to stick with stockinette, but add variety by changing colors. You can also use poms poms to dress up a plain stockinette hat, and some even come as faux fur toppers.




unicorn gold hand warmers
unicorn gold handwarmers tea

My Favorite Knitting Projects | #2 Hand Warmers, Fingerless Mittens, Fingerless Gloves

Do you know someone who works inside of a furnished icicle (er, office)? Does this person bundle up as if they are on an expedition to Antarctica? Is use of the digits (fingers) essential to their work? If you answered yes to any of the above, then let me go ahead and yammer on about the virtues of hand warmers.

Warm Palms for Indoor Work

I know that it may seem ridiculous. But if you know someone who works indoors, but swears that the office is an icebox, I would encourage you to consider this as a viable, knitting gift option.

You may be thinking: But are they actually that warm without the fingers? How can that be warm?

I would say for light outdoor to indoor chill, they work great! If you’re planning on long periods of exposure to really cold weather, I would recommend knitting another option. May I suggest making them with wool (or some other delectable warm fiber) and watch as the toasty-ness of your palms manages to keep fingers warm.

knit yarn ornament

My Favorite Knitting Projects | BONUS: Holiday Ornaments

I’ve fallen in love with the idea of holiday ornaments despite the fact that they are one of the most non-functional pieces of knitting you can make. Yes, the have a purpose, but no they do not keep the tree warm. If you’re on the fence of about knit holiday ornaments, let me tell you why I love them and perhaps you will give it a go.

They Are Super Unique

Ornaments and trees go together like marshmallows and rich, hot chocolate. People collect ornaments, trade ornaments, and pass them down. Making an ornament for the tree is sure to add a welcome addition to bare pine needles. And knit ornaments can be customized to suit the recipient. You can knit them with simple stockinette, you can knit designs on them, and you can even get really creative with an embroidery needle. And because ornaments are small, you can go wild with experimentation.

They Are Incredibly Easy to Pack in Suitcases

If you’re traveling home for the holidays, you may have suitcases that are stuffed with gifts. Adding knit holiday ornaments to tight spaces is a cinch. They are soft and squishy, so finding a good spot for them is easy. And best of all, you don’t have to worry about them breaking or getting crushed. If the stuffing gets compacted you can simply mush it around until it is pristine again. Presto!

They Can Be Used to Spice Up Wrapped Gifts

In need of a little, last minute gift? Consider making smaller versions of the full-sized ornament and use them to decorate the outside of gifts. Or, thoughtfully add them to a card for the host / hostess.


BONUS: To use up even more stash yarn you can add pom poms to the outside of wrapping paper as well. Voila!


resources buttons glasses

Resources | Hats, Fingerless Gloves, Holiday Ornaments

Check out ravelry for a listing of free and inexpensive hat patterns. But, be warned, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming (in the best way possible).

Don’t have an account? I highly recommend creating one. It’s painless, free, and allows you to connect with a large community of knitters. Just be warned, you are restricted in the number of times that you can change your username per lifetime, so choose wisely!

Here are fun places to start your HAT search | hat with pom pom (free)  |  color block hat (free) | hat with cables (free)

Here are fun places to start your FINGERLESS GLOVE search | 1 (free) | 2 (free) | 3 ($)

Here are fun places to start your HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS search | 1 (free) | 2 (free)

Additional resources of Holiday Ornaments

Tight on cash? Don’t forget your local library! I found both of the books below at my local library, and have been known to get carried away in the stacks searching for books to inspire my next knitting project.

55 Christmas Balls to Knit | Arne & Carlos

Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice | Melanie Falick