I've knitted a few items that have turned out pretty good but I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't mastered the basic beanie. Since my formal instruction consisted of "measure head, cast on, knit, decrease at the crown" I think I may have missed a trick or two. I've searched through patterns too, but still wasn't trusting them to give me what I want.
Or so it would seem, based on my receiving nice gift certificates to a couple different yarn stores. They'll keep me busy for some time, unless I suddenly have the urge to work in cashmere. Highly unlikely.