Choose any of the previous hat patterns and play with color and texture
Use punchcards, electronics or hand manipulation Remember stitch pattern gauges are different than plain knitting, so swatch for bands and stitch pattern separately
Try a new-to-you technique.
If you find it difficult or tedious, a hat is a quick project to use as an experiment.
This is a good idea for this time of year, as the weather gets colder in many areas. Last year, I was able to add many of my machine hats with those I crocheted and hand knitted to one of our outreach programs that work with the unhoused. Now that I've improved my skills, I can try a few more techniques to make this year's hats extra special.