1--don't be embaressed to take a class! Every can knit (both of my knitting groups have guys as members)
2--learn some basics
Like yarn size (check out the Craft Yarn Council page..)
yarn can be very fine (lace weight), fine (baby or fingering) medium (sports or DK) Medium (worsted) chunky, or bulky
-in guy terms, think of drill bits.. they come in size too!
and if you have a big drill bit, and drill a big pilot hole, you need a big screw or lag bolt to go along!
same goes for needles.
for lace wieght--you might use a size 0 (aka 2mm)
for fingering --sizes 1 to 3 (2.25mm to 3.25)
medium.. larger needles (size 4 to 6--(only i don't remember the mm size!)
and so on..
Bulky yarn might need a size 15 (about a 10mm needle!)
NEXT --are you knitting the hat FLAT or in the Round?
do you need straight or circular (or DPN) needles?
and what gauge is needed?
all this stuff is addressed in the beginning of a pattern.
the first yellow hat is done on bulky yarn (it has maybe 40 stitches--but it could be 48--(i didn't look at all the details)
Its likely done on size 11 or 13 needles..(thick yarn (and it is thick yarn!) needs big (large diameter) needles.
the first few row (or is it rounds) Rows 1 and 2 (maybe 3 and 4 too) are done in garter
(for flat, garter =knit every row--for round, garter=Knit 1 round, purl 1 round(that is knit (or purl) all the stitches)
then its stocking knit
(flat, K 1 row, P 1 row--for Round, K all stitches, every round)
the crown is basic shaping--for hats, the MOST BASIC SHAPING IS a MUTLIPLE OF 8.
KX, K2tog (repeat 7 more times.--followed by a row/round of no decreases)
if you have 40 stitches to start--then you have 5 groups of 8 stitches so X =5 -2 or K3, K2tog)
the next round is plain, and the next decrease round starts with 32 (8 groups of 4 stitches.. X =4 -2 (or K2, K2tog/8 times total )--and you are left with 24 stitches.
another plain round.. another decrease round (k1, K2tog) (and now there are 16 stitches)
another plain round and other decrease (K2tog)
(in this round, KX is K=0, K2tog..
(the final 8 stitches are gather into a draw string bind off)
Learning to read patterns is part of learning to knit.
Not all hats (or patterns use 8 decreases, every other round, but the process is the same if you use different multiples..
Its methodical, and logical!..
Flat knit hats are easier (to knit) but they always have 2 extra 'selvage stitches" (these stitches get lost in the seam..so you start with 42 (k1, then *KX, K2tog (a total of 8 times), K1..(the first and last k1 are seam/selvage stitches)
Knit in the round hats require a bit more skill-- (knitting in round is not really hard.. but different!
If you really don't want to go to classes..
find your self a few good refererence books.. start in library, or camp out in a B & N's or some other book store, and see which books suit you.
there are plenty of sites with knitting info, and lots of video's to help you out.. but a book is often the best reference (or if you really like videos--get something (i pod)and a knitting DVD..