I finished the duplicate stitching, and to be honest, it wasn't that bad. I spent years doing extensive cross stitch, so this wasn't a whole lot different. And it looks so much better than intarsia would have.
I know my nephew will love it - it's slouchy and comfy, and he's my brother's son, so from the side of the family that loves the hand knits. he and his brother and sister all make requests, and wear the hand knits. (I love these kids!) Plus, the hat is merino and cashmere! What's not to love?
I've got socks on the go (also a cashmere blend, from Tanis) for my younger nephew, since he's still wearing the Tiger hat I made last year, and doesn't want a replacement. I was going to knit him a school themed hat, but he's not that fond of school, so I decided against it. He does love the sock, though.
I think the blue velvet hat may be for my niece, but we'll see what else may come up. I haven't talked to her for a while (she's away at school at Brown), so we'll see if she has any requests.