Hats are so much fun, though. Can you return the one you have and get a longer one? I like magic loop for small diameters, but 29" seems a little on the short side, especially for a hat. KP options (you'll see banner ads for them here on the KH site) aren't too spendy.
There is no right way to knit; there is no wrong way to knit. So if anybody kindly tells you that what you are doing is "wrong," don't take umbrage; they mean well. Smile submissively, and listen, keeping your disagreement on an entirely mental level. They may be right, in this particular case, and even if not, they may drop off pieces of information which will come in very handy if you file them away carefully in your brain for future reference.