Progress has been going well though a bit slower than I had expected. I'm still behind after spending more than a week working on this problem. (direct-x-11-problems-on-windows-8-laptop). I've gotten a lot of work done. You can take a look at the current state of things.
I've been building a model tool that will be used in my content pipeline. After I get real models into it, I'll post a video blog. Right now it allows me to configure shaders and textures. Here are a couple of screenshots. For me a skin is defined as a texture/shader combination to be used with a model.