I love a basic wide brim cloche like this. This is the hat you grab for everyday wear, although any of my hats will stand up to constant wear. With the extra wide brim this hat will keep the rain off your face and neck. One of my favorite wools to work with is fishermen's wool. This one is made of that wool. If you are just beginning to make hats, this is an inexpensive wool to begin with and it is so easy to work with. I can get about 3 hats out of one skein and the price of the yarn is only about $10. That's $3.oo per hat!
Washing instructions for beginners: Wash the hat in mini load in your washing machine. Settings: regular hot wash, cold rinse. Throw in a pair of jeans and about 1/4 cup liquid laundry detergent. Only wash for 4 minutes to begin with, you can always send it through again for a couple of minutes. You need to get the feel for how quickly your washer felts the knitted hat. The art is in the stretching and forming. First find a long fairly narrow cylinder to stretch the lenghth of the hat. They tend to go short and fat, but not to worry. They are stretchable as long as you do it as soon as you take it out of the washer. (Don't put them in the dryer!) I use a spagetti canister to do the initial stretching. I stretch it as much as I can into a long skinny hat. Then I begin forming it on hat forms. You can get the width back, while maintaining the length this way. Do get a good hat form if you can, otherwise you can do the final shaping on your head. I go around each brim and stretch and straighten it. It's really easy when you get the hang of it. But, remember, once it is dry you cannot reform it. Even if you put it back in the washer for a minute, it will just shrink smaller; you will never again have the chance of doing these important stretching and forming steps. Good luck!