I did it!
Yes, three gauge swatches.
I wound up going down to an E hook. I was surprised that was what it took for me to get the right gauge with a worsted weight yarn, but it did. The crocheted result wasn't too dense (like I had feared) and the hat is nice and slouchy.
The hat is smaller than last time--meaning it fits on my head. And this is how much yarn I have left over from my last hat attempt.
I'll just add that extra yarn to the half of a skein I have left. Maybe it will turn into a cowl and then I can have a matching set this winter! I've been knitting and crocheting for myself quite a bit lately, and I kind of don't want to stop now. I love this yarn, I love this color, and it turns out I do love this pattern.
There's just six rounds of increases followed by several rounds of crocheting before a decrease round and the brim. Crocheting in the back ridge of every round makes rows upon rows of circles and I absolutely love the look of it. It's simple, but there's some elegance to the simplicity and I think this is just so pretty.
If I had some gradient yarn I wouldn't even be typing this right now because I'd be too busy crocheting this hat pattern all over again. Actually I could, in theory, have time to crochet a hat and write a post about it. This is a pretty straightforward project and I made my hat in about a day.
I'm pretty excited about this bit of wooly happiness incarnate on my head this winter, but if I had it to do over again (but I won't, because that's THREE tries for one hat), I think I'd work even more straight rounds. I might have actually skipped a few due to impatience, or maybe I was getting nervous about the size. I should have known better. I think the key in making slouchy hats is to work until you think the hat is pretty darn slouchy, and then work a few more rounds after that. And even taking that into consideration, I think this is just great.
As quickly as this practically crocheted itself up, I can see myself making a lot of Basic Beanies between now and next winter.
Especially now that I've got that gauge figured out.