Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions on choosing a snuggly cardi/coat! This really is the best knitting time in the year, and almost makes up for the dreariness of winter. With a long list in hand, I went to Knitty Couture.
For the Lush and Lacy Cardigan, I bought this Blue tweedy alpaca.
It's Alpaca with a Twist Highlander. In general, I'm not a huge fiber/yarn fiend--as long as the color is nice, the weight is right, and it's not itchy, I'm fine. I'm more of a techniques and finished objects kind of person. Until I knitted up this yarn. Holy smokes! This is the coziest yarn ever!
The fabric is very thick and sturdy, but still super soft. After swatching, I realized that this yarn is too heavy for the Lush, which needs more drape at this gauge.
Thankfully, I had bought some Dream in Color Classy to make another St James Top. I love this yarn, after making quite a few projects with it. It's definitely non-itchy, machine washable, and the colors are vibrant without being tacky. The color variegation is just right, so that plain stockinette stitch looks nubbly and interesting, without any weird blobs and bits of colors. (I do stick to the less variegated colorways though, so I can't speak for the wilder colorways).
Fortuitously, the gauge worked out, and so I got going with this yarn. I decided to knit Lush all in one piece up to the armholes, and I'm already halfway done with the torso! Check out the sweet little peplum and waistband on the back! Squee!
Even lace looks warm and cuddly in this yarn!
Now I just have to figure out which pattern I'll use for the alpaca, and go back for heaps more of it.