The knit-from-the-top-down hat is done...and it came out a lot better than I thought it would. The yarn is Red Heart Sport in Crayon, and the needle size was 8 (7 for the last four rows). The hat pattern is in Knitting for Dummies so I won't be reprinting it in here. The only change I made to the pattern was that I unraveled the I-cord on top of the hat until it was an I-stump.
I also learned that I'm a poor judge of determining whether something in progress will be big or small. You see, the last hat I made was on a circular knitting loom and despite following the toddler-size instructions to a T, the hat came out far too small for my son. I'm also a very tight knitter--I always have been. So when this hat started looking to me to be too small, I remembered the loom experience and figured that I should go up a size. Neverminding that I was on target for gauge, and neverminding that the last hat experience used a different yarn and different equipment...I decided to go ahead and make the women's size.
Should have known better: the hat fits me perfectly.
I'm going to start a second one. I decided it'd be the perfect move project: small enough to be portable, not too difficult (after the top is started, that is) and not too time-consuming.
Actually, I'm going to start two of them. For the second hat, I'm going to substitute a worsted yarn for the sport weight but with some changes. Getting 5 stitches an inch out of worsted is going to mean a very stiff fabric when I'm done...so I've moved up to a size 9 needle and I'm determining my stitches per inch. Then, I'm going to adjust the pattern to accommodate the new stitches per inch gauge. I figure this will be great practice at customizing patterns to accommodate different yarns/gauges.