Thanks Marnie!! I didn't think anyone would ever respond to this post, and then wham!
Definitely true! My Green Gable sweater is 5 sts/in; whereas Picovoli is 5.5-6 sts/in. The Picovoli can afford to have slower increases and is angled differently since it is sleeveless. GG is angled to hit right at the center of the armpit.
Speaking of GG, I finally got to see how the raglan seams and armhole turned out with my Green Gable pattern -- the armscye is very snug, borderline tight. Looking at the stitch count and the gauge, there's no wondering why. In fact, when I go back and work these sleeve stitches at the very end, I'm wondering if I'll have to cast on 4 more sts for the 2x2 rib so that there isn't too much stress at the join. The top-down raglans I've knitted thus far have had matching CO sts at the underarm and at the bottom of the armscye to reduce the stress there, like you said. But when I do this, it's the one part of my sweater that doesn't fit in the end. Usually, these extra CO sts are what do it because the sleeve and sweater circumference already have ample positive ease before I even CO. I've noticed on top-down patterns that the smaller the size, the smaller the number of CO sts at the underarm. Usually the lower armscye of my sweaters fits like an unwanted semicircular donut. I'd love to make the smallest pattern size for the entire sleeve, but can't since the sleeve cap must match the armscye. I was hoping that GG's method of not CO sts and making shorter raglan seams would be a solution. The shorter seams worked out perfectly, but GG's sleeve circumference defied all my previous sweaters by being too tight. Darn! Oh well.
Short rows are awesome! I finally got to do the Japanese kind on my Green Gable's bust section. When I tried GG on after putting the sleeve sts on scrap yarn, it was way too small in the chest. So, I put in 12 rows (6 pins each side) about 2.5" down from the underarm and then completed the pattern's waist shaping. Then I tried GG on a 2nd time and found the short rows did the trick. GG fits like a glove. Now I only have to worry about fixing the tight sleeves... I saw a few months back that savannahchik did short row shaping on her Somewhat Cowl sleeve caps. I'll have to look at that when I do GG's sleeves, although GG only calls for about 3-4 rounds on the sleeves after joining. So, there wouldn't be much room unless I made the sleeves a little bit longer than the pattern intended.
It's so nice to learn and get info on how to tweak a pattern to fit my non-uniform torso. Now I know to: 1) make one size smaller than the one that would fit my bust and just add short rows at the bust (then I don't have to worry about bulkiness in the arms, shoulders and neck); and 2) make the smallest sleeves on the pattern (and shorten more if necessary, which usually happens), tweak the increases so that the stitch count equals the size I'm making for the rest of the sweater at beginning of the sleeve cap.
I have the Ann Budd Handy Book of Sweater Patterns which has a chapter dedicated to raglans ITR, but not the top-down kind. Does the Maggie Righetti book discuss top-downs ITR? Lately, I've been thinking about getting Knitting in the Old Way to see Priscilla Gibon-Roberts' techniques. I want to see what she says about short rows ITR. People are always referencing that book.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond and for your suggestions! I'll have to leaf through the Maggie Righetti book next time I'm at the book or craft store. I love savannahchik's blog -- she's so helpful with tweaking patterns.