I don't have any real good suggestions to help you out.
From what I see, you are basically knitting two separate potholders with the color changes tying them together.
I'd suggest going to a local yarn shop and asking for help. Maybe by someone watching you, they can give you a few pointers. Mukilteo is suppose to have a really friendly shop. Or are you in the Lakewood farther south?
Sorry I don't have better answers. Hopefully someone will pop in with an answer on the help forum.