And here is where the problem arose. It is one side of the design, one of the decrease stitches forming the top of the stockinette bell section, that wasn't knit totally through and appears to have let go.
And the bottom of the work, 4 sections below. Its relatively stable. It is loose enough that the stitches don't have any tension on them, so even with some very rough treatment, it seems to have lived and been used in this state for a very long time.
And here we go. One section done. It might not be perfect, but it's going to be better.