I tend to use directions really well, up to a point, But in the end I usually just have to eyeball things until I get them right. In this case the crown was really easy to knit following the size small directions, but modifying by adding a few rows so it would reach the tops of my ears. (Probably a mistake since the looseness in this area was the main reason i had to felt the hat. ) Customizing like this is a snap with the instructions and the fact that the hat is worked form the crown downward and can be tried on as you knit. I love that.
I did have some trouble with the brim, though. This is where my “fiddling” comes in handy. I finally figured out that if I knit the outer edge of the brim loosely, it would sew together more evenly. As far as how to attach it to the crown- I never really did understand how to do it without the purled edge looking messy, so I folded the edge of the brim over, curling it outward where it attached to the crown. It gave the look of an I- cord band or something and hid the sewing yarn, which I didn’t particularly like.
Speaking of eyeballing things, this is never more useful than in blocking a piece. I tried a new method recommended by a knitter named Allison in which I placed a wet towel over my hat and ironed it until it quit steaming. It did even out my stitches, but I needed to felt it a little to shrink the crown a bit and give the brim the perfect amount of stiffness. To felt it, I put it in a pillowcase and washed on hot with lots of agitation (the washer, not me) for 15 minutes, checking it every 5 minutes. Perfect.