I may need to stick to patterns for a while. Here are two things that I tried recently that just didn't work (both were attempts for the Afghans for Afghans 2008 Newborn Campagin.):
1. Toe-up, socks with a flap heel. Up to the gusset was fine. I ended up finding a pattern in Favorite Socks that had similar construction and I totally melted down when it was time to do the math to scale the heel down to a 24-stitch sock from a grown up sized sock. No photos, sorry. I had these grandiose plans of writing up a recipe and everything. Maybe one day. Seems like it'll be a good exercise.
2. Newborn sized Thorpe. It's an earflap hat, knit from the top down in chunky yarn, sized for grownups. I tried moving it to DK weight yarn, sized for a newborn. I think it would work if I picked a set of numbers to follow in the pattern, actually. But I didn't. The top of the hat kept looking too small (probably because it was limited to the size of the needles I was working on), then all of a sudden it looked too big. The hat ended up more platter shaped than cup shaped. Still feel like it's a good concept, but I might need to stick to established patterns for now.
Now, I think I'll try one of any number of newborn sock recipes out there (in my Ravelry queue are: Baby to Toddler Sized Socks from Miriam Felton (PDF), Newborn Sock Recipe by Lies (PDF), and Hunca Munca by Beth LaPense.) For hats, I think I saw some nice patterns at the knit along for the campaign.