This was one of the worst, and best, knitting experiences ever.
It was the worst most of the way through. It was tedious, stopping after every 8 rows to change colors, many many ends to weave in, and no easy rhythm to it. Also, all the black sections required short rows and for the first half of it, I was definitely doing the short rows wrong. Then I started doing them right, I'm pretty sure, but they still looked awkward, at best. I used the Japanese method, attaching a pin and then pulling a stitch up into place. At first I was knitting the two together before the gap instead of after. I hoped that because it was all black, the bad short rows wouldn't show.
Also, all during the knitting, the whole thing looked short and wide, not a look I need to add to my body! The pattern assured me that they had taken this into account and that blocking would cure all. But I had doubts.
I started this in May 2014, set it aside more than once, and finally forced myself to finish it in April 2015. I just wanted it off my conscience. The yarn had been cut into short segments, so frogging it was not a possibility, and I wanted it out of my bag and if it was a failure, I could give it to Goodwill and move on.
So I finished it by sheer willpower. I crocheted the shoulders together and across the back neck.
And I soaked it in warm water and held it up and allowed the weight of the water to pull it down, just the way you're warned *not* to do, and suddenly--oh, the length looks right! The width is less!
I hung it to dry in the hot car, again letting gravity have its way.
And it is wonderful! One of the nicest things I have ever knit! It is alpaca and silk, so warm and light. I got it finished in time to wear it in the cool spring weather we have been having. And to wear to Vogue Live, where I also saw the original version of it, and I like mine better (as a couple of other people also mentioned.) A woman stopped me at the mall to comment on it, and she wasn't even a knitter!
So the moral of this story is, what? Trust the pattern? Finish what you start? Sometimes, the goddess of knitting smiles on you? Yeah, all of that.