A few years back, like most inexperienced knitters, I preferred thicker yarn and larger needles. Now that I have practiced the craft, I have no problem knitting with laceweight yarn. I don't prefer it, but I can do it. That's why I ordered a lot of laceweight when I first saw a sweater pattern that recommended it.
It was the Tissue Cardigan, by Deborah Newton, in the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits, simultaneously with a sale on the recommended yarn, Misti Alpaca Lace, that sparked my impulse to buy laceweight--a lot of it. By the time my buying frenzy was done, I had a lot of yarn and pattern ideas on hand.
I'm about halfway through this laceweight-sweater-and-shawl knitting phase now, progressing from heavier, lace-like yarns to very thin ones and from small shawls to complete sweaters. I can handle knitting with the stuff and see some advantages.
First is versatility. Laceweight yarns can be combined to produce a combination of colors or fibers that knits like a fingering weight yarn.
Second is comfort. A lighter yarn produces a lighter garment. Depending on fiber content, it can be as warm as a heavier weight garment.
Third is economy. More yardage per ball of yarn, more stitches per row, more time to knit.
Basically, I am spending less on yarn because it lasts longer. Since I have a lot of sweaters, shawls and accessories and don't really need more, I want projects that fill up knitting time. I have lots of knitting time, as proven by my latest project:
It is a square shawl, literally two triangular shawls worth of knitting time. The pattern is Vixen, by Tori Gurbisz, available online from Ravelry or Knitpicks. Though I used two laceweight yarns held together (the darker Misti Alpaca left over from my last sweater and some Malabrigo Lace), I think it would be nice in a single strand of laceweight yarn.
One advantage to using a lighter yarn is the result when the shawl is folded in half.
Folding produces a triangular shawl, making this two shawls in one, one that is destined to see a lot of use in the cool Colorado summer mornings and evenings.
A final note: I loved the colors in the Malabrigo but hated the pooling. Double stranding it with the brown alpaca subdued it just enough. In case others just might have a difficult variegated yarn to tame :), they should see my project page for construction details. I did make some changes to adapt the pattern to the lighter weight yarn.