After 3 false starts the hat is finally taking shape. Normally I would not cast on a 4th time, but this pattern charmed me. I know that Oldest Daughter is going to love it, so I had to keep trying. A lot of my problem was me trying to fight the pattern. I finally decided to let the pattern do the talking. After 2 rows were done it was easy to see what was going on and the rest has been a piece of cake.
A few notes about my modifications. The pattern calls for 208 stitches on size 0 needles for a loose fit. I am using size 1 needles and wool, so I cast on 2 fewer pattern repeats. While it is impossible to get a good measure at this point, the edge is around 20 inches, so it is going to be perfect. Once the scalloped edge is finished you need to have an even number of stitches for the band, so I increased a stitch. Looking towards the peak I will need my stitches to be divisible by four in order to keep the original shape. 184 stitches is divisible by 4, so I lucked out.
So far I am VERY happy with the project. It will be spending an hour with me in the waiting room of Orthodontist this afternoon. I will post updates on Ravelry.