...finished. and photographed. and seriously loved (despite many hours of finishing - time spent kitchenering underarms, picking up and knitting button and buttonhole (twice!) bands, weaving in lots of ends and sewing on grosgrain and ten buttons).
I had forgiven it those hours before it was even dry from blocking. because it is just too pretty.
it fits perfectly. although if when I knit it again, I'll make it a tad shorter in the body and the arms. (more notes on ravelry, here.)
thank you to katie for the photos. and to the rhododendron for blooming at the perfect time.