The plain black sweater is finally done and I have been wearing it for many days. It is warm and comfortable. Its construction was a bit weird in that the pattern asked for too many sts in the underarm area. Also, the neck was too gaping. I will have to live with the former issue, but fixed the later by doing a row of slip st crochet with a smaller-sized hook.
In the end, it has turned out almost just as I had wanted _ black, plain and comfortable. Next, I have some hankering for stranded work. I may already have cast on another cardigan.