My Not-So-Sahara is knitting up quickly, and I think it's working out fine. I ended up having to play with the numbers a bit. With the larger gauge (16 sts. to four inches instead of 20 sts.), even the smallest size would have ended up too big. So I just used the measurements of the original, combined with my own modifications for fit, to come up with the right stitch counts.
This is my original Sahara, worked at the gauge called for in the pattern:
This is my Not-So-Sahara, worked at the larger gauge:
The fabric isn't washed or blocked yet, obviously, and will grow a bit when it is. Based on my gauge swatch (stop that laughing; I know gauge is just a myth, but it's all I have to work with), the finished sweater should be about two inches bigger around than it is right now, which should be about perfect, since I want this one to be a little looser than the original. As you can see, I've only got a few more inches before I reach the edging, which means I need to make a decision.
I'm having some trouble choosing a ribbing for this sweater. I'd like to do the cuffs and bottom in garter stitch, but I like all my ribbing to match, which means I'd have to do the shawl collar in garter, too. (It's a symmetry thing.) I don't really have anything against a garter stitch collar, and garter stitch is pretty good for hiding short rows, but it does seem a little bland. I could do a basic 2 x 2 ribbing, which I'd like for the collar, but I'm not sure I want that for the cuffs and bottom, since I don't want them to pull in. Whatever ribbing I use, it needs to be reversible, since both sides will be visible on the collar. And it needs to work with short rows, which most patterns don't. I've been through my stitch dictionaries and I haven't come up with anything I like all that much. I'm debating the possibility of doing everything in garter and then adding an interesting edging just on the collar, maybe along the lines of this, only less bobbley. (I actually made this sweater, but I left off the collar edging.)
If I can't come up with a better solution before I hit the bottom, I'll go with garter, but if anyone has any more interesting suggestions, I'd love to hear them!