Sometimes stitches get twisted if you wrap your yarn counter clockwise when making it. I have been knitting about 2 years and just did it this week when switching to continental style. Yours still looks better than my first attempts! Keep it up!
Don't get discouraged, I had a HORRIBLE time starting this too, as did a ton of other people. I know there are pictures in one of the help threads, but even that didn't help me. I just had to keep doing it. I'm sure there is somebody out there who has done a few and could help out.
Do you think it would look weird if I started slipping the first stitch of each row midway through? I am horrible at picking up stitches and saw this technique on knitty gritty and thought it looked way easier.