I've made five of these so far. One for my sister, three for me, and one for my future sister-in-law. I tried to be clever by modifying the pattern to work them in the round, thinking that avoiding seaming would save time. Wrong! Garter stitch circularly on double pointed needles is tedious, compared to working the pattern as-is: flat, all knit stitches, a few decreases, and minor seaming. I can almost knit them without looking. Also, in the process, I learned from Principles of Knitting how to seam garter-stitch properly, which magically looks seamless from both sides!
So far, I worked this half in just under an hour, which means the last half will probably take less. I foresee lots of Christmas gifts along with some handmade herbal soaps. Currently, I've only experimented with melt-and-pour formulas, but in my Michaels Book of Arts and Crafts, there's some recipies for "real" soap, mixed with dangerous lye, natural vegetable fats, and essential oils, that read like a chemistry experiment. Now this is something I definitely can't resist trying!