thanks for all of your compliments, i really appreciate it. sorry i haven't gotten back to you sooner, i've been pretty busy with school and things.
ok, so the yarn i used. it's encore chunky from plymouth yarn in bulky knitting weight. it's 75% acrylic and 25% wool. the color i used doesn't have a name, but it's #0793. (i was confused about this because the label says that it's chunky yarn in bulky weight? the yarn LOOKED chunky, though...)
gauge. my gauge should be different from the one on the pattern because i used size 8 needles instead of the recommended 10s. i needed the pattern to be smaller and i wanted it to be warmer anyway, so i decided to just decrease needle size and it worked out. hurray! my gauge turned out to be: 4 sts per inch and 5.5 rows per inch.
so by decreasing needle size but keeping the yarn chunky weight, i both made the pattern small enough to fit my body and made the sweater more snuggly and warm.
modifications: i cast on the recommended number of stitches and did 8 rows of 2x2 ribbing at the neckline. for the sleeves, i only did repeats of the decreases until 5 inches before my wrists. then i started the 2x2 ribbing again.
as for making the sweater look more fitted, i did waist shaping following the directions posted here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=152316.0;topicseen
where it says "optional side shaping instructions."
i hope that answers all of your questions!
i encourage everyone to knit this pattern, it's pretty fun and easy and i love the result! i've been getting a bunch of compliments from friends.
additionally, there is a knitalong specifically devoted to this pattern here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=119061.0
if you need more help, browse through the thread and see if your questions can be answered there. it was really helpful for me.
good luck everyone, and thanks again for the comments!