Here's the second swatch:Definitely getting closer to what I'm looking for. It's a bit fiddly to work, but not horrendously so, pulls in a bit like a ribbing, and transitions nicely to stockinette. I tried a couple of purl ridges after establishing the initial pattern - they don't disrupt the shape, but add a bit of texture, and I like the way purl rows soften a colour transition. I'm presently on a quest to mix and blend colours without the added bulk of stranding.
I am love love loving the process of this knit - the reassuring elasticity of good wool, the deliciously deep charcoal colour with just a hint of tweediness to give it life and dimension. It's going to need a good blocking to counteract the bunching tendencies of the purl stitches, but if lace behaves itself, I see no reason why this won't.