I also used curtain rings to separate the pattern sections, which you can see on the needle in the above picture. When knitting, I find I can't see the stitches on the needle well enough to know where I am in the pattern, and if I lose track, it can end up a mess. So I find using some kind of stitch markers, even if not called for in the pattern, help me keep on track.
Being a not-highly-experienced knitter, I was pleased with how my stitches turned out.
I'm not sure why the pattern started with 4 rows of garter stitch and ended with 6, but I just ended with 4. I also skipped the fringe called for in the pattern as my afghan was already plenty big enough, about 60" x 70". You can see in the top picture that it almost covers my queen-size mattress. It's also pretty heavy and the weight of it dragged it down when I tried to hang it on the line for pictures. So I got Allan, who was there working on my fence, to hold it from the deck.
Difficult to get it stretched out wide enough and keep it high enough so it wasn't dragging on the ground. That's when I took it inside and spread it on my mattress.
Another WIP finished! I'm trying to discipline myself to not buy any more yarn, other than what I may need to complete a project, until all of my WIPs and UFOs are finished. That's challenging enough, especially when a beautiful yarn that I haven't tried yet is on sale. But it's nowhere near as challenging as doing the same for fabric.