All of my experiences with knitting sweaters are a trial and error process, I make lots of mistakes before I really come out on top. I know this about my knitting skilz, so when I began the cobblestone sweater I tried to avoid my normal pitfalls.
First of all I swatched. I swatched with two needle sizes! I got less than required stitches on a size bigger needle than the pattern calls for (that's okay because I am using a different yarn). So I made the 43 3/4" chest thinking that it would shrink a little (due to my wrong gauge) for my 40" chested husband and fit perfect! I was soooo clever.
Wrong. I am having to reknit the whole 8 inches I completed in February. I swatched flat when I should have swatched round. Which means that even though I got perfect gauge on a size bigger needle, but knitting in the round significantly loosened my stitches. The garter stitch edging on cobblestone also means that you can't even check gauge until at least 8 inches into the st st part of the sweater, because multiple spots widths and heights are needed to check. DOH!
Enter the frogging. Here's where the genius hit me.
You can place a sweater knit in the round on your swift to unwind. Here I am being rebellious and unwinding directly onto my ballwinder. I could slap myself I am so beyond happy with my ingenious ideas. Alright, not slap myself, but you get the idea.
When knitting the Weasley sweater I found the key was to continually try it on during the process so that it could be tweeked along the way. M prolly tried on the body of his Weasley Sweater about one million times. We don't even want to talk about how he tried on the sleeves every inch of the way. More than one he had a sleeve fitting while driving. That extended arm was perfect for guaging against. (BTW, they were at least 24" long, so that's 48 separate tryons.) Also, we found a sweater which he really liked the fit of that I could "measure" against when he was busy or not around. I took it's measurements for comparison. Am I the first knitter to learn this no, but I am always the first one to tell myself it's a good idea.
It was this genius concept that helped me figure out only 8" into Cobblestone that it was too big. TurboHubby was practically swimming in it. Now I am making a size 39 1/2" sweater for my 40" chested husband. Thankfully, the 40" has about 2 inches of ease built in, so I am hoping that 1 1/2 will be enough. *praying*