So is the project really just the doily on larger needles and with larger yarn, or is something added to it? I'm guessing he just charted the F&F part because he didn't like to read line by line directions, but is it the same as the doily or is it different is some way? Is the blanket edging the same as the doily?
Yes, O in the original pattern means YO. I've seen that used before.
Some beautiful worsted weight wool and the size 10 needles would be the ticket. Exact gauge probably is not important as long as the result you get is something you like, but it could effect the size.
The doily pattern says to use dpns, so it would work to start out with them and then move maybe to two circulars (one being the 40 incher) to handle the too many stitches for the dpns but not enough yet to reach around the 40". Then move to the one circular. I don't know how to do a magic loop and two circulars would seem awkward to me to start with, but some like them.
This piece is beautiful. Your ambition to make 2 of them is remarkable. I'm sure it is a good idea to make one to try it out on, but making two of something is boring to me many times. LOL But some people love to do that sort of thing and don't find it boring.
I'd be happy to help all I could, but I don't think I'm up to making one right now to be certain of how it all goes. I'm in PST as well. Feel free to PM me anytime. I don't know if I'll have the answer you need, but I like to help and will give it some attention anyhow.