Before embarking on the picking up I hunted around for some advice and found some helpful posts on The Princess Diaries. One thing I was unsure of was whether you were meant to pick up and knit (which is what I usually do whatever the wording) or just pick up the stitches. After reading a clarification from Sharon Miller on The Princess Diaries, I picked up (ie. just putting the loop on the needle) without knitting. I picked up 12 sts per repeat and 13 sts in the middle repeat to give me the required 865 sts. To help, I placed safety pins on the border strip marking every repeat and then marked each group of 12 sts picked up with a loop of thread. I then also marked each group of 10 repeats with another marker. This helped me to keep track, and I managed to pick up the 865 sts first time with no mistakes. It did take me about 4 hours however, and no distractions were allowed!
One technique I'd like to share which really helped with the picking up was using a vertical lifeline whilst knitting the border. I found this technique on Fleegle's blog. Essentially, as you work the border, you carry a contrasting thread along the straight edge. Then when you come to pick up stitches, the loops are already there on the thread for you to pick up. This makes it so much easier since stitches knit in gossamer are super-tiny and very difficult to see.
So, current progress? I worked the plain knit rows and am now on Row 4 of the feather border. Each row takes me about 45mins, so I'm aiming for about 2 rows a day. It's slow-going but it's exciting to start this new stage.