retro wall and ceiling texture help

I bought a house that was built in 1959. The wall and ceiling texture is original with a very nice, subtle texture. However, there are a few places, mostly in the ceiling, that were poorly patched with a heavy popcorn-like texture to hide some minor cracks. Way overkill. I'd like to scrape that stuff off and try to match the original texture as closely as possible.
The texture is tough to describe. It looks almost like paint was applied, then, while wet, a flat piece of metal or similar was applied then pulled away. I mean subtle.
1) Does anyone know what I'm talking about and know how to achieve that effect?
2) Is it impossible to do a 2 foot section of ceiling and have it look OK? Anything would be an improvement.
3) What's the best procedure to sand off the popcorn, patch the crack, and prep the ceiling prior to re-texturing?
Thanks,
crabshell
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