Sometimes when you are working on a lot of big projects, it's nice to stop and take a break to knit a small project. It gives you that dose of "completed item" that can be so rewarding. I also like to do this in between larger projects, for the same reason. Knock out a few little things, just to keep the juices flowing, so to speak.
Palate-cleansing knitting projects
Dishcloths are one of my "go-to" palate cleanser projects. The simplest dishcloth is simplicity itself: using dishcloth cotton and the right needle for gauge (for me it's a #3 but for most people it's a #5) cast on about sixty stitches. Knit in garter stitch (knit every stitch) until the item is square - about 80 or 90 rows.
A simple dishcloth is also a great palate cleanser because it is so mindless. This is valuable if you are working on really complicated projects. It's nice to be able to relax into a project without charts or line-by-line instructions. Just let your hands knit away, and poof: you've got yourself a dishcloth!
Hats are another popular item that are small and quick to accomplish. For this particular purpose, they should be as simple as possible. Jared Flood's Turn A Square fits the bill nicely. This hat works up well in Cascade 220, and there is no law that says you have to stripe it! I have made many a single-color Turn A Square, just because it is a clean, nice-fitting hat that men tend to like. (Among this hat's many charms is the way that, when it is done, the decrease rows let the hat be easily folded into quarters and stuffed into a pocket.)
If you like 2x2 ribbing, a basic watch cap is another good simple project. Squared Away is a good ribbed cap. Its simple, classic styling and flexible length makes it popular for a wide range of sizes and style preferences.
And finally, a basic pair of fingerless mitts is a great way to use up those nice balls of premium yarn varieties that are too expensive to buy more than one skein at a time! One of my favorite basic patterns is Maine Morning Mitts by Clara Parkes, which do wonderful things with a skein of Noro Silk Garden or Kureyon. These feature a simple thumb, but don't worry - it's easy to do, explained well in the pattern, and 95% of the pattern is just knitting in ribbing.