It's silly, but I have been doing the double crochet stitch wrong. I don't know when or how I managed to come up with this random... thing... but it took until about a month ago for me to realize how wrong I was. And go figure, after this realization, I now know why all my hats always turn out wrong. Ta-da.
So today I spent an hour making a new hat. I followed the pattern for the "Boy Beanie" in Stitch and Bitch: The Happy Hooker. And guess what!!? It turned out the way it was supposed to!