Thanks all for the advice! I applied a little patience, and reviewed Amy's videos, and, voila, I have the start of a hat! I have to admit that I made a kind of lame guage swatch (very small), so I am curious to see how the end product will be. I'm hoping these size 8 circulars will be a good size for many different hats to come!
As for the pattern, I am using the Knitters Handy Book of Patterns. Her directions are actually for DPN's, so I'm not sure if I'll get goofed up as I proceed on with the pattern, but I think I'll be OK. She gives you a basic hat pattern with options for different brims and tops (example: I am doing a rolled edge and a tassel on top.) Since her directions are based on the guage you are working with, you can really use most any yarn and needle size (just do a swatch to determine the guage). I bought the book on Amy's recommendation, and I'm glad to have it for a resource.