yea, it means before the slip knot. I write that in my patterns occassionally when something needs to be made with the tail or sewn shut with it. I usually specify how long to leave it and why you're leaving it.
I have two of those big plastic tubs (66qt.) that you can get at Target or Walmart, filled with yarn. One tub has only worsted (and a couple sport) weight yarn in it. And the other has all my exciting yarns like fun fur, etc (everything that's not WW basically). This helps me keep organized and helps to keep me from buying too much yarn because once they're full, I have nowhere else to store it! hehe! I also have a small box with a few spools of crochet thread in it. I made a handy dandy case for all my hooks and stitch markers. Oh and I have a few more of those plastic tubs (smaller though, like the size of a shoe box) that I keep my current projects it. That way it's easy for me to put them away when I'm not working on them. And that's how I keep myself from having too many projects going at once, I only allow myself to start a new project after I finish one that I already have going.
If you felt it in the washing machine, it will shrink quite a bit. If you felt it by hand, it won't shrink as much but it does shrink some. I've never been able to stretch anything back out once it's shrunk.
I saw this hat in the new Free People catalog and I was gonna make one but can't figure out what kinda stitch this is. It's not like any star stitch I can find. I found this one on about.com: http://crochet.about.com/library/blstar_stitch.htm and I have a book with a completely different star stitch in it. It's basically (dc, ch 1) rep 3 times all in 1 stitch = one star stitch. But I tried both of those and neither look anything like this hat. Does anyone know what it might be?