As promised, I finally have photos of the epic knitting project. It's a lady's circular cape in shell pattern, adapted from a pattern in Weldon's Practical Needlework, circa 1886. It's in the book Victorian Lace Today. That's a whole book of patterns taken from Victorian knitting magazines or books and transcribed (with apparently much testing) into modern knitting terminology. I checked it out of the library and ended up buying a copy because I kind of want to make everything in it.
I made it out of rather cheap yarn because it's a very complicated pattern of a type I'd never tried before, so I didn't want to risk expensive yarn on it. Unfortunately, the only yarn of the proper weight I could find at the local craft store had sequins on it. It would have been fine if the black yarn had had black sequins, but I didn't realize until I started knitting that the sequins were multicolored, which is a little tacky and flashy. I'm considering snipping a few off. Now that I know what I'm doing, I may get some good yarn and do another one because I love the way it came out and I'd like something more usable. But later, much later, as I need a break.
Here it is, as worn. Ignore the frizzy hair. I'd just been out and got caught in the rain.
And here it is spread out so you can see the pattern. With black yarn, the pattern is a little harder to see well.
You cast on with the neckline, then the pattern gradually grows to create the full circle. Then after the body is done in the shell pattern, you go around the edges, picking up stitches and knitting on the border. The interesting thing about this is that you never actually bind off. You just take stitches off the needles to knit the border onto, and then at the very end of the border, you graft the edges together. The only binding off is in the border pattern to create the points, so you start with 16 stitches on each border section, then it grows to the point, then you cast a few stitches off and start again.