I have started my half for the third time. With the first attempt I sneezed and dropped about six stitches and they got away from me. It was a hopeless mess, the stitches were sloppy, and the lace design was off. I learned several things with the first attempt. (1) Don't try knitting lace in the hotel lobby bar at Madrona, there are too many destractions, the lighting is bad, and wine (in this case) doesn't help, (2) if you are having a sneezing fit due to allergies PUT DOWN THE LACE KNITTING, and (3) stitch markers are your friend.
With the second attempt, I dropped stitches, made a mess fixing them, and then messed up on the count. I ended up again with sloppy knitting, with a right lean bias, and the cast on and garter stitch border at the beginning were too tight. I learned with the second attempt that (1) lifelines are your friend, (2) don't knit in bad light, (3) gauge is important in the cast on, (4) USE LACE NEEDLES, and finally (5) don't try to use a new knitting method with lace. Last night I frogged the whole mess and was ready to call Susan and say "no way."
After a good night's sleep, I'm trying for the third time. This time I cast on using size 8 needles, knit the garter stitch border with size 7 needles, and am knitting the shawl with size 6 lace needles. It's looking better, and I'm feeling better.
We are using sock yarn from Fancy Image Yarns in a color we know will be beautiful on Joyce.
I put on one stitch marker so I will know when to start the k2tog, yo, k2tog ... row. Not a difficult stitch, but I need to know when I am ready to start row four. With the first attempt, I started the lace row on row five a couple of times, and well, it was a mess.
I was feeling like a hopeless failure until I read Stephanie's blog. There must be something in the air. If the Yarn Harlot is having problems with lace knitting, then I'm doing okay. Stephanie, if I can do it, you most definitely can!
Also, Stephanie, I'll take your advice and practice the lever knitting technique on something else instead of the lace.