The changes? First, I changed the manner in which I did the increases. I don't really dislike the way I did the first hat (which was as written out for top-down, no-swatch hat knitting as "Knitty Kat's Ponytail Pi Hat")...
|X marks the spot.|
Next mod over the previous project: I extended the red section lower. When the hat is just lying around not decorating a head, it doesn't look quite right. But on someone?
Much better. A head isn't spherical, and a hat doesn't cover all of it. You have to fudge things to make the visual look a little less wonky and a lot more Poke-Ball-like.
Final two mods were finishing. I did a better job on the join of the i-cord, but neglected to take a picture. You'll have to take my word for it. Essentially, I did a mock kitchener...which is harder than it sounds, as half of my stitches were not "live". (Again...non-knitting friends, it's okay to tune out.)
The other finishing mod was that I gave up on trying to keep my duplicate stitches "fat" to try to cover the yarn underneath. Results?
A much-improved look. Less sloppy, certainly. Still not foolproof, alas, but if I wanted it to look perfect I would have thrown all caution to the wind and done it in intarsia. Not that the thought didn't cross my mind...
The hat-that-was-a-gift was a hit. The hat-that-was-for-solidarity was even more delightful. Here are T and his cousin, all matchy-matchy.
This is at least the fourth item I've made for them to match (I've sewn another hat and two pairs of jammies), and no one seems to be tiring of it. :)