Way to go! Sounds like this is going to be a much loved finished object (when that day arrives--and with your persistence, it will).
I'm currently working on a project that has simple lace directions (maybe too simple?), but it's been one step forward and three steps back for the entire project!! I was almost finished with the lace part of it, but then on the LAST lace row, I came up short on stitches. And my life line, was/is WAAAAAY back there! Urghhh! I haven't ripped it back yet, but I will someday when the pain of taking out all those stitches isn't quite so . . . well, painful!
At any rate, I'm thrilled to hear you're finally over the comprehension hurdle and well on your way to success. Drop those needles for a second and pat yourself on the back!