Just a few things I've learned...
1) Denise circular needles work really well with laceweight yarn because they are so light. I switched to a Susan Bates circular in the middle of this shawl (thinking it'd be more secure) but I went right back to the Denise circular on the next row. The weight of the metal needle was too much for the yarn and it messed up my rhythm. Denise offers 40" and 52" cables but they have to be purchased separately, they're not included in the kit. The extra cords are worth the cost imo, I don't trust two shorter cables connected together (bad experience, already blogged about it). Bamboo and wood circs might work as well as the Denise needles but I don't own any circs made from those materials to compare.
2) I've read suggestions to put a white pillow case under the lace while its being worked but the idea of delicate yarn repeatedly rubbing against fabric didn't sound too appealing. Instead of a pillow case I place a white plastic garbage bag on my lap, the shawl slips and slides over the bag without any friction.
Use a plastic bag to protect the lace from dirt and wear
3) Scan and print the charts (or photocopy) and work from the copy so the original pattern or book stays clean. It also helps to enlarge the charts, this can be done in a paint program if you're working with a scan or a copy machine can do enlargements easily.
4) Magnet boards are located in the needlepoint aisle at craft stores and they aren't very expensive, around US$5.50 for an 8 x 10 size. (Save some bucks and buy it at Joann's/Michael's with one of their ubiquitous 40% off coupons.) Slip the board into a page protector with the pattern copy. I prefer to keep track of rows completed on scrap paper stuck to the board, a magnet glued to the pen cap keeps the pen handy. The red and white magnetic ruler comes with the board and its used to designate the row that's being worked. A magnetic line magnifier is an optional accessory. (Post-it notes can be used instead of a magnet board if you don't mind replacing the notes when they lose tack and fall off the pattern.)
chart sheet copy & magnet board in page protector
note the magnet on pen cap
5) I use a long piece of cotton string with a loop tied in the middle instead of a ring marker because rings can slip to the wrong side of a YO.
Tomorrow: finished shawl photos, it's blocking right now