Knitting decision: made.
Did I just pick it because of the name? Maybe. I do love a good sans serif font, though JBB has also been on the receiving end of my rants about bad sans serif fonts, or poorly utilized ones (a thin and thready knock out white sans serif used in an easy-to-read? COME ON PEOPLE). But this sweater hits all my requirements, and reading through the pattern and book, it's extremely well written and clear. Plus I swatched and got gauge DEAD ON--even row gauge which never ever happens.
So armed with the thought of not modifying a pattern save for length and dropping the waist shaping to push it slightly A-line in shape, I started up. And promptly decided to modify the sizing slightly. This pattern is sized by shoulder width measurement, which is actually genius as that's the better way to fit a set-in-sleeve pattern, but also potentially annoying in that it might require additional modifications to sizing to best fit the bust and arm circumference. The shoulder size that works for me would have a bust measurement with zero-to-negative ease. This isn't always a concern, and sometimes would be desirable, but since I wanted this shape to be slightly A-line, and it's a worsted weight cardigan, and will be worn over other clothes, I wanted more ease. Zero ease could have been doable, but I didn't love the way the fabric of my swatch looked stretched slightly. Which means adding a bit of space to the bust, without messing with the armhole shaping/length.
I'm an experienced knitter, and have some background in sewing (thanks to my mom the seamstress!), so this kind of adjustment is not necessarily a problem, but it would take a bit of time for me to sit down and figure it all out, and I'd probably have to break out the reference books (oh, no, I have to consult knitting books, whatever will I do. Pfft. I love that shit). A less experienced knitter might be lost and wind up with something ill fitting . . . if it weren't for the great instructions in the book. Elizabeth Doherty walks you through all the ways to adapt and change the pattern for a slight bust adjustment, a major bust adjustment, tweaking the depth of the armhole, the circ of the arm at the bicep. Really useful and good stuff! My go-to top-down book has always been Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top (affiliate link), but Top Down expands on Walker, and surpasses the fitting reference with her finessing of details. (Not to take anything away from Barbara Walker who is a genius and a badass feminist scholar, knitting expert, and wrote the Little House Cookbook. I love her and want to be her.)
I went through the entire pattern, on paper, and not only circled the numbers for the size I was making, but also added in additional notes based on the instructions for revising the fit, and tweaked the stitch count numbers for the rows as necessary. This alone took about an hour, but it was time well worth spending. An hour at the desk to rewrite and revise the directions is about 6 hours less time frustrated on the couch trying to figure out where you messed up and why. <-- Learned from experience on that one.
So I added an inch to the bust measurement, and tweaked the armhole shaping to start a few rows earlier (on row 30, rather than row 34). Then after working the back part of the bodice, when I started on the fronts, I realized that I wanted to raise the neck a bit as well, to better mimic the sweater I'm attempting to replace and perfect. I ripped back a bit from where I was, then started the shaping 8 rows earlier (on row 22, instead of row 30).
I've joined the underarms, and am at the body part. I think once this ball of yarn is out, I might do the sleeve caps, while it's still a manageable thing to whip around. I still have to decide if I'm including the pockets--maybe?--and what buttons to use.
I do love the top down approach, the first, tricky, part goes SO fast, and then it's just nice mindless stockinette for a while. Love.