I decided that my main problem was the weight of the yarn I was using. I don't have problems with knitting lace from charts. BUT I was having problems knitting lace from charts using lace weight yarn. I decided to try again with the pattern, but this time using a sock weight yarn. I used the sock yarn I bought at the Ravelry Day.
If you can't be bothered to follow the link, this is what the yarn looked like. It is by KraftyKoala and is a merino/tencel mix.
Having the slightly heavier weight yarn meant that ripping back the mistakes was a little easier than with lace weight. I confess, I still made lots of mistakes and spent a lot of time tinking ("knit"-ing backwards), but with the aid of the life lines, I prevailed!
As well as using the thicker yarn, one of the main differences in this project was the use of a row/stitch counter on my iPod Touch. Being able to monitor what number of stitches should be on each row and which row I was on, really helped me keep track of what was happening on my needles. It also meant only 1 or 2 rows at most being ripped out at a time. I know I could have easily kept tally with paper and pen, but I didn't. The gadgety route will always win with me.
Here is the unblocked Ishbel. I made the small version, because I am not a lunatic, not matter what everyone else may think.
It doesn't look at it's best with the dodgy blue and green background, but those blocking tiles made all the difference in my little project.
Using my usual method of blocking, which involves a sink full of Soak, a gentle squeeze to get most of the water out and then pinning for Britain, whilst stooped over my bed. This method seems to work well for me, but I am still very tempted to get some blocking wires just to make it a bit easier for the bigger projects, which are becoming more common in my repertoire.
The pre-blocked size of my shawlette was 14" by 35", the finished size is 16" by 43" and I used 68g of the yarn, approximately 244 yards of yarn. Blocking really does make all the difference to all projects, but most specifically for lace ones.
I originally thought before blocking that this yarn may be a little busy for a lacy pattern, but now it is all dry and smooth it looks fine. Opening up the lace part of the yarn makes the border much less frantic.
Maybe after succeeding with this project, I will have another go at the lace weight version that is still on the needles, waiting to be finished. Until I get up the courage to have a go at the lace weight Ishbel again, I will stick with sock weight lace projects, as this one has been a great success!