We’re knitting with the same color! Really loving it.
I’ve knit with Karida’s yarns for years now and never had an issue with dye transfer or bleeding.
I can’t speak to machine washing, because I’ve never in my life machine washed a handknit sweater–too much time put into a sweater to risk something happening to it in a washing machine! ; ) I just soak mine in the sink with some wool wash, then spread it out to dry.
Re changing the pattern to knit it from the top down: I don’t really know how the yoke pattern would work if you start from the top. What I love about the pattern as written is that the sleeves come first, and that’s my least favorite part of a sweater–so getting them out of the way first is such a great thing.