I've used one pattern by DROPS before, and had a little trouble with it as well! My problem had to do with measurements - I was supposed to measure the piece at one end (which was longer) and the other end (which was shorter). When one matched up correctly, the other didn't.
So, I asked the lady at a local yarn store. She said that the patterns from DROPS were originally written in German, and that it had been translated...which possibly led to some information being left out, or at least unclear. Maybe that is part of your problem?