Since the pattern says to kfb on both sides, that's what I'd do.
I don't see where those two purl rows are, either.
There may be something on the bottom pic, but it's hard to tell. If you don't like the way they look, then don't do them. I can't see what difference it would make.
As for the decreases, she gets all of the hats down to 72 in order to get the swirl pattern.
What I'm thinking is if you added a stitch, you'd have 111, and that would be divisible by 3. You could start with k35, k2tog 3times and that would give you 105 stitches. Then k33, k2tog 3 times and you'd have 99 stitches. Then you could follow the directions for the large. I can't say how it would look since it's all math, but it might be worth a shot.