I would agree with Jints, have a look at the 'small diameter' knitting videos on here. There are two methods of doing the small stuff without DPNs: Magic Loop and Two Circular Needles.
Personally i am a fan of DPNs, and although they are a little tricky at first i always get the result i want with them.
What sort of probelems did you have on the first hat you made? maybe if we knew where you felt things had gone wrong, then we could help you not make similar mistakes.