. . . a few rows in I made a mistake. That's where it got a bit hairy - with the complicated pattern I found it confusing to try to "tink" with all the crazy increases and holes. It was really scary! I didn't manage to fix it, so then I tried ripping it back (which is super scary to me!). Long story short, I decided to redo the whole thing since I was only a few rows in. . . .
BUT, I realised I really need to get more confident with fixing mistakes since I'm bound to make a few! I found a great video on knitting help about putting in a lifeline:
I think this sounds really helpful! Do you use these? How many rows apart do you think life lines should go?
And here is my response to her:
I don't actually use lifelines myself, but I think they would be a good way for you to avoid having to rip out everything when you make a mistake - and you WILL make mistakes. I've been making them too, because there's just too much info in each line. That's one of the reasons why I thought it was important to keep track of the number of stitches in each section and row. Because I've been doing it for so long, I know what to look for and can pretty much fix a mistake on the following row - but it's not something I think I could teach anyone; I just kind of do it instinctively!
In any pattern, one of the biggest pitfalls for new knitters is how to fix mistakes, and in this pattern in particular, as you said, the lace and crazy increases make it all the more difficult. However, the lace bit around the neck is only the first six rows, so honestly, I'd say not to bother with a lifeline there. I'd probably put one in on row 6 or 7, and then every 4 or 6 rows after that. The spacing really only depends on how far back you're willing to rip.
Sometimes when I have a pattern with really dense instructions like this one, it helps me keep things straight (and therefore make fewer mistakes) if I rewrite the instructions vertically rather than horizontally. So instead of this:
K2, yo, k2, kfbl, sm, k2 (3, 4) yo, k3, yo, k3 (3, 4), sm, k2 (3, 4), yo,
k2, ssk, yo, [k3, yo, k2tog, k1, ssk, yo] 2 times, k3, yo, k2tog, k2, yo, k2 (3, 4),
sm, k3 (3, 4), yo, k3, yo, k2 (3, 4), sm, kfbl, k2, yo, k2.
I'd write it this way:
. . . . . . . etc.
I write it out on index cards, with each section on a different card, omitting the "sm" bits - so here there would be 5 cards per row, and I'd just flip through them one at a time as I knit each section. For me it's a lot more manageable this way, and somehow reading vertically is easier for me than reading horizontally!
I hope these tips are helpful! You can now see a picture of the beginning of Jo's sweater on the Flickr group!
ETA: Check out Jo's post about her experience with mistakes. She's got some really great insights!