Last night I put everything together mostly without incident, except for the part where I sewed the ears onto the snout instead of the back of the head...and cut the yarn ends before I noticed the mistake. DOH! Luckily, I was able to safely remove the ears and sew them back on in the proper place.
I used Susan B. Anderson's Hippo pattern from Itty Bitty Toys and some of my handspun yarn which was the equivalent to worsted weight, so I didn't have to double my yarn. I still used the needles called for in the pattern (US #5) to produce a nice, close-knit fabric, and my finished hippo is just over 9" tall when sitting. He sits up all on his own and is super cute - I can't wait to take him to the Yarn Geek Fibers booth at Stitches this weekend so they can see what I made with the BFL fiber I bought from them at YarnCon this past April!
Here are the cliff's notes to summarize this project from start to finish: I purchased the fiber at YarnCon in April of this year (BFL and BFL Sparkle from Yarn Geek), spun the singles and plied them the first time (a bit too loosely) in June, re-plied the finished skein during the Tour de Fleece and cast on for this project in July, and finished it during the first full week of August!