I was sifting through my stash, wondering what I can knit for Christmas gifts, and my gaze landed on a skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease, worsted weight. Not the nicest yarn I've knit with, but a decent acrylic-wool blend that is machine washable and dryable. Ideal for gifting because it is very economical, easy to care for, and because it's worsted weight, thousands of free patterns can be had for every knittable/crochetable item.
Deciding on a men's hat, I went to Ravelry in search of a pattern. I found Turn a Square (Ravelry link), a wonderfully easy and free pattern. It calls for striping, but I decided to skip that. It's your basic stockinette hat with a ribbed hem, but it has four sets of raglan-like decreases to shape the crown that are simple enough to be mindless but aren't boring. next time I knit this hat, I'll include the stripes.
Hats are wonderful things to knit. They can be as easy or as difficult as the knitter wishes. This was a very simple pattern for my skill level, which meant it was a great "get out of the no-knitting rut" project. It was also very quick, going from cast-on to weave-in in less than 24 hours, knitted during Peanut's naps and while she was playing at Giggle Factory this morning. And because it's 80% acrylic, blocking is not necessary, just a quick trip through the wash.
I think I'll use the rest of the skein for a gift for one of my nephews. Now all I gotta do is get Peanut to hold still long enough for me to get some measurements from her hand so I can knit mittens that will fit the nephew for the whole winter.