A few months ago I knit a Brooklyn Beanie (free pattern) for my boyfriend. He got great use out of it at the beginning of the winter, but with snow storms and record low temperatures hitting New York he needed a warmer hat. About a year ago, I bought some luxurious merino wool from Purl Soho, and after knitting this hat I still had a little over a skein of the Toasted Charcoal yarn left. With this yarn in mind, I started looking at The Purl Bee for a pattern. I settled on the Traveling Cable Hat, which was free (yay!), and would allow me to practice cables.
MODIFICATIONS: After reading some of the reviews for the pattern on Ravelry, I decided to use size US7 and US8 needles, instead of the recommended size US5 and US6. (My boyfriend's head circumference is about 23 inches.) I also modified the pattern to be less slouchy by knitting the cabled pattern a total of three times rather than four. The pattern used just over one skein of yarn (164 yards per skein). While the hat fits well and has stretched out a bit since I finished it three weeks ago, if I were to knit it again I might even go up another needle size, just to make it a little roomier. The one technical issue I had was that since I did not own 20-inch circular needles, I knit the hat on 16-inch circular needles, which was a little fussy (due to the over-crowding), especially at the beginning.
In the end, I think the hat turned out beautifully, and I would recommended this pattern (with the needle adjustments I mentioned above). As you can tell from the picture of the hat being modeled (reluctantly) above, it has already gotten a lot of use. While I love seeing my knitwear in use, I am definitely ready for some warm weather. How many days is it until spring??