The pattern-fiddling worked! Even with my one-size-too-large needles, the adjustments on the Tychus instructions yielded a well-proportioned cap with a lively look. It was fun to experiment with the short rows, and the cap knit up quickly. The holes at the turning points didn't seem to be an issue this time, either - I did wrap the turned stitches, which helped. So I feel much better about it now. It's going into the mail next month to The Ships Project.
I'm going to try to get another knocked out, making this next one just a tiny bit longer. I made this one across 28 stitches - think I'll add two or three when I cast on again this evening. That's one thing I love about knitting - it's just so easy to rip things out and start over again, with nothing wasted, no harm done. Tychus is back in favor once again!