Have you heard the story of Stone Soup. It's a parable about making something out of nothing. I think of my charity hats as sort of Stone Soup hats.....I am trying to use up yarns that have lived in my house (or someone else's house) for too long. So, I am sort of making hats out of nothing. Much of this yarn came to me through donations/leftovers from estate sales.
Here is one of my favorite patterns:
It is Linda's Fun Fur Hat from the Machine Knitters Guild of San Diego.
www.mkgsd.com then click on free patterns. It is made with one strand of fun fur and one strand of sport weight yarn.
I use any fuzzy yarn sort of like Fun Fur(Patons Cha Cha, Moda Dea Jai Alai, etc.) and any thin to medium yarn for the sport weight (even Jamie, or old baby weight as shown in the photo).
I use up odds and ends of the baby yarn, and don't pay attention if I run out of one yarn, I just tie on another yarn of any color and continue.
I also mix the fun fur type yarns, by using 2-4 rows of one color/type and then two to four rows of another. The hats are each different, but all will fit on my head.
My other fun hat which I have just tried for the first time this morning is Kathryn Doubrley's Bumpy Bulky Beanie from News & Views January/February 2013. My Stone Soup yarn (been in the closet for ages and ages) is Lion Brand Jiffy (at least I think it is)
My tip is to make sure that your punchcard is turning as it should. Mine sometimes did not turn and this lead to some pattern mistakes, but it is not super noticeable and I would wear this hat, so I hope the ones I give it to will use it too. It is a soft and spongy hat in a lovely color.
Both styles are done on my bulky brother machine.