Are you laughing yet? I'm laughing. I thought I could cast on a cardigan in March and finish in time to wear it over the summer? Hahahaha, no. I didn't work on it at all when I was in California for three weeks, and I occasionally knit other small things like a sheep for the Highland Wool Festival competition, but it was my main project and I just finished it last week, in October. Yeah, world's slowest knitter strikes again.
I made a few modifications, most notably using Custom Fit to get a cardigan that would fit me perfectly, without having to work out my own modifications to the pattern. Lazy, yes. Worth it, oh yeah. I took the basic shape from the pattern (long sleeves, crew neck, ribbing lengths for cuffs, hem, and collar, knit the stitch pattern, knit my tension square/guage swatch, washed and blocked it, then entered the size and weight along with the number of stitches and rows I needed for the pattern repeat and using my measurements, I got a custom pattern for a custom cardi. Custom Fit even estimated how much yarn I'd need (though I've not weighed the finished jumper to see how close it was and it has buttons now).
Seven months of knitting later, and I've got my jumper! There was a little problem with the buttons, namely I had eight of them and 10 button holes and when I went back to the shop where I bought them they were (gasp) sold out, but I'd used two on a cardigan Little Djinn has outgrown and I was able to find it in the retired clothing box, cut off the buttons, and add them to my jumper.
Is it perfect? No. I should have gone down a needle size on the ribbing to tighten it up. The shoulders aren't perfect - are they too wide? are the arm holes too big? Are they perfect but the weight of the jumper is pulling them down? I'm not sure. I may sew a ribbon on the inside of the button bands to add stability, and possibly under the shoulders as well. but it's beautiful and it follows my curves perfectly. So much better than I could have done on my own, even knowing intellectually how to "do the math" to adapt a sweater.
Oh, and the contest to knit the sweater first? Someone else knit it first, of course. Winning the book and having a wonderful cardigan will just have to satisfy me.
*rav link because a quick google didn't turn up a page for the book itself and the listing on Fyberspates website isn't as good as the rav page.
** my winning strategy? I only entered once (I didn't want to accidentally win more than once), but I entered on a blog with a smaller following.