Crochet Hat Semi-Fail

I don’t crochet much.  I learned how to do the basics of it because some knitting patterns use it for edging and such.  So, I learned.

I decided to crochet a hat earlier this week, and above I’m modeling the results.  Eh, it looks ok, but nothing like the picture in the book I got the pattern out of.  Well, more like a larger, more bowl-shaped version.  Here’s the pattern I’m talking about on Ravelry.

To all you amazing crocheters out there, and I know you are, here are a few questions I have about crochet.  If anyone could provide answers, perhaps I will be able to do better crochet work.

  1.  When you make your starting chain to begin a new row, you are supposed to skip a crochet post and work into the next one.  Is the post directly below the new row chain, or, is the next one?
  2. When measuring gauge for crochet, such eight chain stitches equals two inches on a size H needle, do you count the initial slipknot?  How about the loop on the hook?
  3. When a pattern says make a dc, for example, into the ch-3 below, but the previous row had no chain three, do they mean the chain in the beginning?

Any answers and beginner hat pattern suggestions would be most welcome.  I can do a scarf, quite easily, I will say, but I would like to expand my crochet horizons.  Help!

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