I refer you back to the day I went to the yarn shop.
for some reason, the kind of goldenrod color of this yarn refuses to show up in pictures...
anyways, success! it's very soft and squishy and warm. those are 9s and the yarn was a bulky merino blend. all I did was swatch to figure out how many stitches per inch, as you do. then I cast on the approximate number to go around the circumference of my head. (I counted stitches kind of...trickily because of stretching?) it's just a knit-one-purl-one rib, till I ran out of skein, and then I bound off and seamed it into a tube using crochet slip stitch. (this is because if I changed my mind about anything, slip stitches come right out whereas undoing needle stitches would be a nightmare...) and then I basted around the top edge and cinched it up tight.
now, of course, I'm desperate for more yarn, but I don't have the budget for the fancy stuff so often. need to acquire something a little less splurgy soon.