Too bad I didn't read the Fringe Association post on incorporating a stitch pattern in a top down sweater. If nothing else, it may have spurred me to plan better. It probably would *not* have helped me deal with picked up stitches being a half stitch off, though.
And that is the lie about the so-called invisible cast on. When one picks up the stitches from the cast on, to knit in the opposite direction, they will be a half stitch off. This probably does not show (much) when knitting stockinette or garter, but loudly shouts its existence when there is a stitch pattern involved. I tried several ways of finding satisfaction with the shoulders of my drop down sweater, but finally settled on knitting an inch or so of seed stitch across the top of the shoulders, to disguise the half stitch shift.
Amazingly, I can fit my fat head through the neck hole!