I found that in order not to mess up, I needed to count every pattern row. Every time I didn't, it turned out I was missing one or two stitches and would have to tink back a row which is so aggravating and would waste more time than just counting. By now though (on my 8th repeat of the pattern) I can pretty much tell if I messed up.
I decided that I want to add beads to the edging and the pattern does show how to add a very minor beading detail to the tips of the edges. I'm thinking I would like to add a few more beads than that but first I needed to figure out what kind of beads I should be using.
Knitty has a great primer for beginners. They explain the 2 basic methods for getting beads onto the yarn. I like the hook method better because it would be my luck that I'd string on the beads I need, only to have the yarn break and beads escaping everywhere! The article also explained how there are beads with bigger centers/holes so I'll need to find some of those. That knitty article also recommends an online store which sells some great beads.
I did find a couple of great tips on getting beads onto the yarn using wire instead. This method is fantastic, especially if I were to end up making another shawl where the beads are all over it (and not just on the ends), so I can carry beads with me without having to worry about trying to fish them out of a small container and dropping them.
So, even though I have about 5 repeats to go, I need to figure out which beads will look good with the dark purple yarn. Maybe a clear crystal bead with silver lining? hmmm...