well, it sounds like it would be really easy to make. you just need a friend and a tape measure. For the long piece, measure your front from hip to hip (or however low you want it to go) and from center of armpit to center of armpit. Take whichever one was bigger and divide by 2. This is the width of the long piece. The length will be a bit trickier. I think what you want would be from the top of your shoulder to however low you want it to go x2 + shoulder-to-shoulder. The easy way to make this would be to cast on enough for the width, and then keep trying it on till it's the right length, then cast off.
The second piece will be as twice as wide as the first (smaller if you're really busty - just measure from armpit to armpit and from hip to hip across your back), and the height will be from the desired end point to your armpit.
Ok, so generally gauge/tension is listed either over stockinette/stocking stitch or over a pattern stitch. Lucky you, it looks like you've got both! Now, to find a yarn sub, you're looking for something that gets 14 sts to 10cm/4in (which needles, though?). So that's where you start. Once you've got a yarn that works for that gauge, you can try it out in the pattern stitches and see if it still works (it should, if it works for the stockinette).
you want to do either a knitted or a cable cast on. So you are sticking the right needle into the stitch on the left needle, wrapping and drawing out a loop (now you have a new stitch on the right needle) then transfer that stitch to the left needle. When you're done casting on, you won't need to turn again before knitting back over those new cast on stitches.
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shrugs - either the kind that ties or the kind that is just sleeves with a piece across the back - shouldn't depend too much on your weight. The same thing with some cardigans, like hst said, knit one that will be snugly fitting now, and will be more relaxed fitting (but still cute) later.
You can also try socks and gloves, there's a lot more to them than to a scarf or afghan, but your hands and feet aren't likely to change size.
Or you could just knit for other people. Start on a sweater for your mom now and you'll definitely be done by Mother's Day.
Or you can (after picking up the purl bumps) knit an entire replica of the hat (so that you have one hat inside the other). You do all the decreases in the same places as you did in the original hat, then when you're done, just shove it up inside the outer hat.
if it's animal fiber, you can also use hair conditioner to soften it up some. (just use it like you would on your hair) but it would be far easier and safer to do on a fully knit item than on a big hank of yarn.
silk is also a protien fiber, so it should all take the dye - but the silk and mohair may well take the dye differently. so you might end up with a darker halo and lighter core, or vice versa. try dying a little piece and see what happens.
the other thing I'd be worried about is that you'd want to unball it and wind the yarn into a skein, then dye and let it dry, then wind it back into a ball. that seems like an awful lot of chances for the mohair to turn into a nasty knotty mess. you might want to knit, then dye instead. I've done it before, and the result was a little on the blotchy side, but the halo of the mohair would conceal that a little. and depending on the funkiness level of your cousin, she might like it that way.