I'm not sure if it is an error in the pattern or my interpretation. I just joined the sleeves by knitting across the row and following the lace pattern. At this point I think the pattern is telling me I should be on row 2 of the lace repeat where I start the armhole decreases. I'm on row 3. I did not know how to join the sleeves into the work without knitting across. This means I will work row 3 and begin sleeve decreases on row 4 (decreases are supposed to occur on the pattern rows). I don't think it will make much difference but the instructions left me a bit perplexed. I read through everything twice more and I followed everything right up until the join sleeves instruction.And then I had a head slapping moment. You CAN do decreases on the same row as joining sleeves to the body. So I ripped back - thank goodness for that lifeline that I put in just prior to adding the sleeves - and followed the instructions in the pattern on joining the sleeves. And then because it had been so long since I had worked on this, I worked the lace charts in the wrong order. I had to rip back again and start over.
I can safely say that I am on my way. I can also confirm that working only one repeat of the lace up the middle of the sleeves was also the right move. It makes doing the sleeve decreases so much easier. I have worked far enough that I have one extra repeat of the lace in the body. Now to do one more before decreasing for the neck. Fingers-crossed that I have enough yarn.
After working on this for over a year, I think I can see myself actually finishing this.