Questions On Ways to Start/Maintain Dreadlocks? Etc.
Other than losing a few locks, are you having problems with them? Why start over if you've already put a year in and are ok. I have done some damage to mine, but they're 5 years old now and haven't had problems with them except 2 babies fell out a year or so ago from root rubbing. (Learned my lesson)
As far as starting again. If you want them to look better right off the bat, TnR is the best way to go. They will come out slightly as you wash them, but they will very quickly tighten up again. There's also a new locking gel from Dreadlockshampoo.com that is supposed to be really nice. From what I've heard it doesn't leave a residue like wax, and can be used as often as desired. Ask Eagle about it. He's using it on his beard right now, I think.
When you are starting, you don't want to wear something as tight as a beanie. They restrict movement and flatten out your hair. You want a tam that is big enough to fit all your locks in with room to move around. The brushing against each other is what helps knots form.
But wearing a hat is really not necessary. They will form on their own. Just a little Tnr and a little TLC and you'll have locks. The hat's mainly for if you need to go somewhere and keep them contained or looking good for a picture.
I formed mine without any knowledge about what people out there do to create locks, and they look fine and have no issues.
I really don't like to say it, but if you want, you could leave them be after TnRing them, but when you shower, put rubber bands on the tips. Once they dry, take the bands off. They'll help keep the shape after washing. You don't want to leave them in for too long, for all the obvious reasons that we're against rubber bands here. But I'll be the one to drop that bit of info on you.
I hope all goes well. Post some pics so we can see what you're working with and if it's really necessary to start over again. In the end it's up to you, but I'd like to see them