The yarn: I lost the label for this skein, so I don't know the brand. I do know it's black, worsted weight, and most likely acrylic. Unlike some knitters, I have nothing against acrylic yarn. I probably wouldn't use it for a sweater, but it works great for crafts and larger projects like afghans. I also like it for hats and scarves.
The pattern: Basic Cable from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, designed by Christine Quirion. My hat is slightly different from the picture below. This version, by Ravelry user starshaped, was worked up using a self-striping yarn, which I also love, but I wanted something in solid black to wear with my black Sunday coat.
The progress: The other change I made to the pattern was to work it back and forth, instead of in the round. For non-knitters, this means that when I am done knitting, the hat will be a long, mostly flat piece (except for the top) that I will sew down the back to create the finished hat. Knitting "in the round" means what you would think: the stitches connect to each other in a circle, forming a tube that you decrease at the top to create the top of the hat. Here is how the hat looks so far:
I'm glad the cables showed up in the photo.
I am using a circular needle, which is normally used for knitting in the round. Unfortunately, the cable (the part between the pointed ends) is too long for me to be able to work this hat in the round. I discovered, early on in my knitting adventures, that the length of the cable is just as important as the needle size. The cable needs to be slightly smaller than the circumference of the round project, or the stitches get too stretched out to join in a circle. For a hat, this usually means a 16" cable. This cable is 24 inches, which would be great if I were making a hat for Big Bird. However, circular needles can also be used for knitting back and forth.