Stranded Knit Coffee Cup Sleeve

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This knit coffee cup sleeve with Christmas trees uses stranded knitting and three colors to make a cozy and insulating design.

Practice Stranded Knitting on a Small Scale

I love little projects like this knit coffee cup sleeve as a way to practice new-to-you techniques. My Christmas tree coffee cup cozy is a great first intarsia project, for example.

This knit coffee cup sleeve is a smaller project (and also includes Christmas trees!) but it’s a little more difficult than a first stranded knitting project because it uses three colors in a round and you have to catch floats on every round of the colorwork section.

On the other hand, it’s only 11 rounds, and it’s not difficult other than yarn management. If you’re worked on a practice swatch of stranded knitting before you start you’ll probably be fine.

You could also work the trees in as single color, which would eliminate the third color, but you’d still have to catch floats as you go. The main thing with this project is that you make the floats loose so the sleeve can stretch to fit onto your coffee cup.

How to Make a Knit Coffee Cup Sleeve

This knit coffee cup sleeve is worked from the bottom up in the round on double-pointed needles. Work three rounds in your background color, then start the chart, which repeats four times around the sleeve. Then you finish up with three rounds in the background color and you’re done!

The chart for this pattern was adapted from 150 Scandinavian Knitting Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone.


  • about 20 yards total of three colors of worsted/medium weight yarn. All of mine was from my stash and probably wool or wool blends, but you could use whatever you have on hand
  • set of size 7 US/4.5 mm double-pointed knitting needles (I used three but you can use more if you want)
  • scissors and yarn needle


I got about 4.5 stitches and 6.5 rounds per inch/2.5 cm in stockinette stitch in the round. Gauge is not super critical and if yours is a bit looser it will probably fit your cup a little better.


My knit coffee cup sleeve is about 8.5 inches/21.5 cm around and 3 inches/7.5 cm tall.

Knit Coffee Cup Sleeve Knitting Pattern

Cast on 40 in your main color. Divide onto double pointed needles and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist.

Knit 3 rounds.

Begin working chart as shown below, being careful to carry along the yarn you aren’t working as needed across the back and ensuring your floats are loose. Note: in the chart key, white indicates the background color, which on my sample is red. All stitches are knit. Read the chart from right to left and from bottom to top, and repeat it across the round.

When you have completed the chart, cut the yarn for color B and C, and knit 3 rounds in your main color. Bind off loosely.

To block the project, get it thoroughly wet and slide it onto your coffee cup to ensure the strands are stretched enough to fit the cup. I left it on the cup for a couple of hours, then slipped it off and allowed it to try normally. (Forgive the terrible bathroom picture; you get the idea.)

Of course you can also decorate the trees if you want with beads, sequins, stitching or whatever you like. I kept mine plain so it’s a little more winter than Christmas, but you can do what you like!

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