After knitting for the entire day today (really, I'm shameless, no laundry or anything else done), I've finished the knitting on the body of the sweater. It took me probably about 8 hours to do the rose border chart but it was worth it. I stranded yarns the way Astrid did and am very pleased with the front of the work. The back looks like spaghetti and isn't as even as Astrid's. Although picking up each yarn as I needed it was slow going, it worked quite well and didn't result in tangles. I'll send pictures soon (I'm using my daughter's computer, working around computer problems.)
One variation I did: after I cast off the front neck stitches, I cast on 5 steek stitches there so that I could continue to knit in the round which made doing the rose border much easier.
Aurita, I'm glad to hear that you find holding the white yarn in your left hand useful. I did that throughout the body, with the gray in my right, and continued to pick up the gray with my right hand (I kept that yarn to my right) in the border pattern, stranding it on top of the other colors (so it wouldn't "pop"). Incidentally, I kept the other balls of yarn lined up on the table in front of me the whole time. Miraculously, after taking out a few rows (pattern above the big Xs), I got the specified body length!! Who knew that would happen?!
Finally, I'm making size small and have 4+ balls of gray yarn left, so I think I'll be fine with yardage. Don't know if that'll help anyone else.
Happy knitting! And Happy Birthday, Astrid!