At this point I'm almost half way done the small feather section, which I am finding easy though repetitive. Though I generally opt to follow charts for lace, in this case I'm sticking to the written instructions. I started this way because I was sick when I cast on and I didn't feel up to deciphering charts. Once I was feeling better I had the hang of the written instructions and didn't feel like switching to the charts.
I do love patterns that give both written instructions and charts. The choice is great and it also let's you double check things if you are running into difficulties. Chances are that if the charts and the written instructions both say the same thing, the problem is on your end and not a mistake in the pattern. I haven't run into such a situation with this pattern, though.
This shawl was actually the first thing I picked up to knit on New Year's day. I'm not sure it will be the first completed project of the new year,though, since I have a couple of hats that need to be worked on. Still I think that this is a good project to help usher in a good year for knitting.