i did try a larger needle, that was actually part of my gauge tragedy at the beginning of the piece.
gauge and i just don't get along well, i do a swatch, change needles if necessary, make sure everything is happy, and 8 inches into the sweater, it was 3 inches too wide. (sigh) that was the first rip.
kristin, thanks for the well wishes! i am REALLY loving this sweater i started with it and i am looking at it and thinking positive things about my knitting, which is a total bonus.
the combined knitting has really changed my ribbing and made me a very happy boy. i can't seem to do continental or combined on double points yet for some reason, but i will get there!
i'm going to knit on it a bit before i have to start work and watch some Knitty Gritty!