Of course, I couldn't resist asking for more details. This is what she wrote:
I’ve been really into vests for the last couple years. I liked this pattern because of the texture of the design and the construction of the pockets. I’d had the Buttonbox pattern marked to knit for a year when I realized I had the perfect yarn for it. It’s a handspun brown wool that I acquired years ago. A fiber artist in Santa Cruz had passed away and all of her fiber, tools, yarn, etc were offered up free to local artists. So I had several balls of the brown wool and 6 of them looked to be the same weight of yarn. I did a quick and dirty swatch test (no blocking) and it appeared to be workable. (While I was knitting this vest, my partner and I were trying to plan a low-key, backyard wedding.) I made a lot of mistakes in my self-measurement equations (I blame the pre-wedding stress), so I ended up making adjustments as I was knitting and then having to sew darts at the bottom back of the vest, but the fixes are barely visible among the nubby-ness of the roughly handspun wool. Overall, I am really happy with the texture and shape of the finished vest. I adore the shawl collar, but wish I’d made it a little wider because it isn’t laying down on its own. I found some lovely purple buttons that bring a magical feel to the earthiness of the vest. When I was done, I had 3 balls left, so my partner asked me to make a vest for him in the same yarn and we wore them to get married in. Mixed with other items from our wardrobe, we turned into the perfect pair of hobbits to be wed.
P.S. If you have not used superwash wool and are still having trouble getting your shawl collar to stay put, try giving your vest a good soak (at least 30 minutes) in warm water with Eucalan or Soak. Then spin dry or squeeze out excess water in a towel and carefully block into shape. If that doesn't work (if you're busty, this could happen), then make a deeper collar following this tutorial. Because the collar is knitted on after the front border is completed, you can do this pretty easily, so long as you have enough extra wool.