LisaMae asked, in the comments, for some suggestions for a first lace project, something like a shawl. Instead of a list of patterns (though I will give a few for ideas), I'm gonna give a list of things to look for in a first lace pattern. This is an extension of the 'what do you consider hard?' discussion we had a few months back.
-Make sure it's something you really like because you'll probably wind up tearing out parts of it and re-knitting at least once, and loving the project will help with that.
-Avoid hard-to-unravel yarns for the first go; stuff like mohair that clings, and fragile yarns like single-ply laceweight.
-With tearing out in mind, make sure to use a life-line as needed. At the end of a repeat, or any hard bit of knitting, when you are SURE the pattern is correct, get some smooth thread/yarn and thread through all the stitches, either while they're on the needle, or in the row below the needle. Then knit on. That way, if you screw something up horribly, and you have to tear it out, you can unravel down to that line of thread and KNOW that the stitches will be there to pick back up again.
-Two-row lace is definitely easier. That means lace where there's a row of action (yarnovers, decreases, whatever) and a row of plain knitting or purling. (One-row knitting means a pattern with action every row.) The plain row 'resets' the stitches on the needle and makes them much easier to work on the next action row.
-Try to find a pattern that contains stitches you already know - knit, purl, knit two together, slip slip knit, yarnover. MANY lace patterns contain just those. Try to avoid odd things like 'knit and purl into back of stitch twelve times' or what have you. Save that for the second project.
-Patterns with smaller repeats (less than ten stitches and rows, ish) are easier to remember and anticipate, and therefore usually go faster. But it's not a vitally important thing.
-I've found that gauge doesn't matter as much as yarn/thread color does. I'd rather knit a light colored thread on 0000 needles than black yarn on size tens. It's just easier to see what's going on.
-Knitting something flat (back-and-forth) and square is, in general, easier than anything shaped, or center-out. (In the case of center-out, it's the cast on that's most of the trouble. If you're used to doing toe-up socks, you're more than capable of a center-out shawl or doily.)
-Knit-on edges are kind of tricky, and in my mind fall between easy and hard. Once you get the hang of them, they're quite easy. Getting the hang of them can take a while, though. This one's your call.
-Whether you read charts or written directions, make sure whatever you'll be using is clear enough for you to understand. I often re-write charts with symbols I prefer, if I'm going to be looking at them for a long time.
-If you're up for a challenge or really in love with something, ignore any and all of these suggestions, as needed.
Anything marked 'easy' in Victorian Lace Today.
The "La Traviata" stole in "Second book of Modern Lace Knitting" by Marienne Kinzel is awesome and I've been wanting to knit one for myself for a while now.
I've just had a quick look through Elann, and most everything they have in the free pattern section is reasonably easy. The SunRay Shawl looks particularly simple, and yet impressive when finished.
Anybody else got a suggestion?