But it seems I can only claim the first distinction this time. Not that it was all my fault.
There I was, studiously following the pattern when I realised that it would make more sense to do a three-needle bind off for the shoulders rather than bind off the shoulder stitches on the front and back, only to sew them together.
But since that was only a small modification, I didn't think it would seriously affect my chances of claiming to have followed the pattern. (By the way, I have a personal method of doing the three-needle-bind-off that I think is easier than knitting with three needles. I hold the two sections together as instructed in the pattern - usually right sides together - then I slip one stitch from the front needle onto a spare circular needle, one stitch from the back needle onto the circular needle, and continue in that fashion until all the stitches are on the circular needle. Then I start by knitting two stitches together on a needle one or two sizes larger than the garment was knitted on - and this is where a circular needle is good because if you leave a very long tail of yarn after working your last row, just begin at whichever end this long tail is and use it as your working yarn - and it doesn't matter if the tail is from the first or the second stitch on the needle since you'll be knitting them together anyway. Knit another two stitches together so that there are two stitches on the right hand needle. Take the first stitch and pass over the second stitch to bind off. Knit another two stitches together, and again take the first stitch on the right hand needle and pass over the stitch that you've just made. When you've finished you'll have a lovely seam that matches perfectly and without having to thread a needle to sew it by hand.)
However, I hit a problem when I came to the sleeves. The first sleeve was finished in record time but there was no way it was going to fit the opening that had been made for the arm. It was meant to be a set-in sleeve, but it was at least 4" too short. I know that my upper arms are ... ahem ... bigger than those of a twenty-year-old, but did I have to be reminded in such a fashion?
Had I been using a different lace pattern rather than this particular one where the increases were not paired with decreases, rather the decreases all being worked in the final right side row of the pattern, I would have just worked the sleeves from the top down using short rows. But alas, that wasn't going to work for this pattern.
I found online instructions and calculators for set in sleeves and began re-working the sleeve. Attempt two was far too big. I had either measured or calculated incorrectly. I found another online calculator here and this one gave me more rows than the original pattern called for but less than what I'd just re-worked. I decided to give it a try and yay, it worked!
Meanwhile my attempts at another first - that is, following a pattern exactly - are not to be realised any time soon. I have begun this pattern but already have made modifications, namely yo increases instead of those stated in the pattern and stocking stitch instead of garter because I've just never liked garter stitch. I'm also relying on a great tutorial to ensure it fits perfect (whatever that means given my less than perfect body). So far I'm liking it but I'll let you know how it turns out.