knitting n00b

so i started knitting when i was a kid in 4-H dropped it through the high school years, because, c'mon how cool was knitting when you were a kid and picked it back up in college. don't know why, i just liked it. crochet too. i have never made anything really fancy, mostly scarves and lame-o hats that no one can wear (i love scarves tho, scarves are great, easy and fun. but how many scarves does any one person really need when they live in the desert?).
well, almost two weeks ago i quit smoking and picked up knitting again. i splurged on 100% wool yarn that was overpriced in a specialty shop and decided i was going to make a sweater. a sweater that i could love, no matter how many mistakes i made on the pattern, as long as it fit i would be happy. and at the end of this sweater, i would have some fruit of my quitting labor, something to show for the nicotine withdrawls and hours of agony. then not only would my body be healthier, but i would have something physically to show for it.
i tried measuring myself and my guage and cast on what i thought i needed. i just wanted a simple stockinette sweater, boat neck collar would be great because i can just knit straight across. i created what i thought was a decent pattern. i knit in stockinette except on rows where i decreased or increased i knit garter to make counting easier and ended up with cute little horizontal stripes.

i created a front and back panel and it was too big and one panel was knit tighter than the other. so i frogged the whole thing. i tried starting again on larger needles to make it a lighter sweater, plus it knits up faster, but i am not happy with that either.

can someone, anyone show me how to create a simple stockinette pattern for a sweater? i really want something wearable that i will love.

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