Yes, you can do it that way. Sounds good.
I'm going by the photo (size small) and the charts but the pattern as you describe it works too. There's a bit more "creativity" required for this pattern than you might wish but you're learning lots from using the pattern and you've gotten yourself this far very well.
Making a donation is such a nice thought. There is a Knitting Help shop
and I'm sure purchasing something there would be much appreciated and useful for you too. There are all sorts of needles and DVDs and much more.