Sounds like a wonderful project and I do hope we get to see a photo in progress or finished. Antares and GG have given you good advice.
Circular needles are great to use and a must for this project, I think. They'll make dealing with large numbers of sts so much easier, you'll wonder why you didn't use them earlier.
If determining right side and wrong side are a concern here or in any project. put a pin or marker on the right side.