I got out my gauge ruler and measured about 7 sts/in on the top portion of the sleeve and only about 5 sts/in on the new portion. Gah!! That was not going to work. So I ripped back to the beginning of the sleeve and conservatively chose to work with one size smaller needle. Of course, that was one I already had and this meant I hadn't needed to buy a new set!
After only about an inch with that size, I could see that I was still getting too loose a gauge. So I went down another size. This one was "just right" as Goldilocks says and I marched on down that sleeve like nobody's business:
I did cast off "firmly" as instructed by the pattern, but it was too tight to sit comfortably on my arm. I undid and tried again, and I think I found a good balance. The designer made the point that if you cast off too loosely, the ruching isn't drawn in on the outside edge and you get something more like a ruffle. (Could be nice, but not what we're going for here.)
After the first sleeve was done, I let the poor project languish around for a few more days. I finally got started on the second sleeve on Wednesday. I was so happy to have all the figuring of the needle size behind me so I could just knit and knit without thinking. I got between 1 to 2 inches done:
I don't ever have trouble with my tension. It's smooth and even. (That's assuming I'm throwing like I'm used to. If I'm picking, all bets are off!) I have never measured a difference between my tension knitting back and forth or knitting in the round. Usually I can just pick up the needles recommended by the pattern and go.
And now I can't even get the same result doing the same thing twice. Frustrating. I have read that your tension can change from the beginning of a garment to the end if it is a complicated stitch pattern because as you get used to it, you are able to do it more handily. (Knitting a large swatch will ameliorate this.) But this is bloody stocking stitch!!
Nothing to do right now but take it out and try the larger needles (after I moan and groan a little here, of course). I'm jumping up two sizes to the new ones I bought, however. It would be nice to be able to put them to use.