Last night, while watching TV I decided to make a mug cozy. While regular beer cozies, and coffee cup cozies are just knitted tubes, this had to be a little special because of the handle on the mug. I spent only about an hour making this up. It's fast, fun, and can use up small amounts of scrap yarn!
I used some DK weight scrap yarn I had, and a pair of size 4 needles (what was recommended on the ball). You can use any yarn you like.
1. Go into your stash and dig through the avalanche of yarn until you find something that tickles your fancy. You won't need a lot of yarn. I had a ball that was hand wound, and was about the size of a tennis ball. I used maybe half of that.
2. Pick a pair of needles that seems right for that type of yarn. You don't want anything too big, because you want the final product to be cushy, not holey and thin.
3. Make a swatch! I know, normally you skip this, right? But this time you really should make one. Nothing huge, and nothing fancy. And you can cheat, like I usually do, by making a swatch, and either not binding off at all, or not completely binding off (and not breaking the yarn from the ball), so when you're done with your measurements you can rip the yarn out and use it in the pattern. Your swatch doesn't have to be very big. Just large enough for you to know how many stitches and rows you get per inch with the particular yarn and size of needles you chose. Once you've knitted a small swatch, use a ruler (or a knitting gauge checker) to count how many stitches (horizontal) fit within one inch. Then count how many rows (vertical) fit in one inch. Write down these numbers.
4. Measure your mug. Mine was about 10" around. Most mugs should be about the same size. But, if you have a particularly small or large mug, swap the 10" for your mug circumfrence. Also, measure how tall it is, and how long and wide the handle is. My mug was about 3 1/4 inches tall. The handle was 2 3/4 inches long, and 1/2 inch wide.
5. Now for a little math. First, you'll want to figure out how many stitches to cast on. Take the number of stitches you got to the inch (in my case, I got 6 st/inch) and multiply it by 10" (or whatever the size of your mug is). This gives you 60 stitches, which is how many you should cast on (if your yarn is like mine). Then, multiply the number of rows/inch from your swatch by the height of your mug. In my case I got 9 rows/inch. So, I multiplied 9 rows x 3.25 inches, which equaled about 29 rows. You can also just eyeball the height as you go along by measuring your progress up against a mug.
6. Cast on the number of stitches you calculated (i.e. 60 in my case).
7. K2P2 for about a 1/4 of an inch (in my case, that was about 3 rows).
8. Bind off about 1/2" worth of stitches at the beginning of the next row. (in my case I bound off 4 stitches -- I kept the number a multiple of two, since I was working in a K2P2 rib, so I didn't end up with any single purl or knit rows.) K2P2 until the end of the row, in pattern.
9. K2P2 for about 2 3/4 inches (or until you have a "gap" about the length of the handle) You should have a piece of fabric a couple of inches long, with a small notch that sticks out at one side, on the bottom.
10. Cast on 4 stitches (or the same number of stitches you binded off earlier). This is best done at the end of a row.
11. K2P2 for about another 1/4 of an inch, including the bind off row.
12. Bind off in pattern (meaning K2P2). Be sure not to bind off too tightly, as you need some "stretch" in the final piece to pull it over the mug.
13. You should have a rectangle with two notches sticking out on the top and bottom edge of one side. Using the yarn tail, stitch the notch to the other end of the rectangle. Then, using the other tail attached to the other notch, seam that to the other side of the rectangle.
14. Weave in your ends.
You should now have a tube with a rectangle "cut-out," running vertically in one section, big enough to slip the handle of the mug through.
Long directions (I'm a rather verbose person...), but easy and quick pattern to make. And it's perfect for using up little bits of leftover yarn!