Anyway - back to my original topic of thinking about the finished item before you even cast-on. Somewhere between the knitting of the above sweater and my more recent items, I learned the power of a good selvage stitch. I knit the first stitch in the row through the back of the stitch, then slip the last stitch purl-wise. It gives a lovely edge that I've learned is a cinch to seam and looks particularly nice when done.
This is also important - regardless of what the directions say, when increasing or decreasing, do it in the second, or in the next-to-the-last stitch in the row, respectively. I failed to do that with the above sweater and I am dealing with damage-control now!
Of course, the most essential arsenal in your finishing locker is swatching. Swatch not only for your gauge but also to test stitches and edges. If you've become accustomed to more high-end yarns, this will become your mantra, believe me. No one wants to bugger up a ball of cashmere for lack of planning. On a side note to swatching, if you've got a special project on deck, it's fun and gratifying to get right in there with the yarn and let it wind through your fingers as you drink wine and mindlessly knit up a swatch in front of a cozy fire, dog in lap. (*Insert mental image here*)