Well for someone who hasn't crocheted since the starched snowflake ornaments of the 1980's, it seems it adheres to the bicycle principle, you don't forget how.
I did have to work at the choice of fiber as the pattern called for a Chinese yarn that I was unable to source in this country, at least in my limited google and Ravelry attempts. However discussion with the Australian designer yielded the information that the original dress was done with number 3 Aunt Lydia's crochet thread. I've got the appropriate amount on order, and am currently working on the third square.
It will take 40, and luckily for me a few accomplished crocheters have volunteered to help. The plan is to wear it for my 60th birthday, which gives me about two and one half months, or New Years.....with the volunteer help it will be a bigger responsibility to finish since I wouldn't want their efforts to go unrewarded with the vision of the finished dress.
I'm also toying with dyeing it, maybe a tea dye to create a more vintagey look. Some experimentation is in order.
Today's ferry ride will see the finish of the 3rd square and the start of the fourth. I haven't timed a square yet since I am still getting familiar with the pattern and I'm sneaking in a few stitches at odd moments, but I will. I like to know these things.....If I can do one in two hours let's say then 40 is only 80 hours, totally doable, right? If it's three hours well then that is different math and then there are the joining rows which I predict will be 1/2 hour apiece.....and I have help.